Never a Failure, Always a Lesson

Airlines, Flight Training


What If You Don’t Pass Your Checkride?

The golden seal, every aspiring airline pilots wants to have it, just like me. Never a ‘failed’ checkride, smooth flying all the way to your commercial license, and hopefully there after. I almost achieved this; the ‘golden seal’ of pilot training, until I didn’t pass the oral for my commercial license. In this blog I’ll talk about how to cope with not passing your checkride, because for us pilots if something like that happens, it hurts. We’ll digest what went wrong so it doesn’t have to happen to you. Even Though my examiner said “I also failed my commercial checkride the first time, it still haunts me to this day.” Well, thanks Mr. Examiner. I feel great now!

Why does not passing a checkride hurt? I think it is because flying really is my passion for a career and it just plain sucks not to get the ‘golden seal’. However I did talk to a friend of mine who flies at United. “Things like this can happen, learn from it and move on. Don’t put to much pressure on yourself.” I think I sometimes did do that, read more about that here. Moving forward i’m not going to do that anymore.

“I don’t like the word failed

Furthermore; I don’t like the word “failed”. To me the word failure means a complete disaster, a horrible way of not getting to your goals. I prefer the word “Didn’t pass” or “Didn’t make it this time”. That’s why; “Never a failure, always a lesson”.

So, what went ‘wrong’ and what didn’t go‘right’? I was signed off by my instructor, which basically means I’m ready for the checkride. He is one of the most experienced instructors at my school so I was feeling good that I was up to par to get the job done. And my examiner was a really good one. He wasn’t out there just to fail me, because there are some horror stories out there of examiners who do. He really made me think in a way I almost never thought about some subjects before. I actually also learned quite a few things during my oral. Which is a good thing, but not necessarily the right thing during your checkride, right?


Geat picture bij @Lufunhansa

What didn’t go ‘right’? I was anticipating getting a call to maybe get my checkride on saturday. Even though I was written off and good to go, my mindset was fixed on coming saturday for a ‘maybe’. I was going to have a brush-up flight with my instructor on friday, and hope to get my checkride on saturday. On thursday night at 9pm, just after reading more about weather I got a message that i’d have my checkride the next day at 11am. This is when those pre-checkride jitters smashed into me like Conor Mcgregor knocking-out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds!

Because it’s December everything is going quite fast and yes, my school delivered in getting me a checkride before the end of the year, which was greatly appreciated! I already went through everything(In this case the whole ACS) but I felt like I needed to brush-up on my confidence flying and oral. It was planned for the next day accordingly but then got cancelled for a checkride. So scratch brushing-up and studying up more. “Just wing it, have fun and show what you got” is something a good flight school friend of mine sometimes used to say.

What went “wrong”? Besides completely forgetting my lunch and barely sleeping? A couple of things. There is something I really love about flying, it combines 3 things. Knowledge, skills and experience. Bring these three components together and you’ll have a great pilot. During your flight training you work on these three traits, and during your checkride the examiner will check if you are up-to-par for the rating or certificate you are applying for.

I messed up some basic things during my oral. Including v-speeds & airspaces. And the thing is, it’s nothing new for me. Heck, I even have a poster of all the airspaces in my house. I know these things, the thing about aviation is; it’s a lot. If I learn something today and don’t think about it for a while I tend to “not remember it a 100%”. If I think about it there are no more things I didn’t read about to be up to the standards of a commercial pilot. It just wasn’t fresh that day, and applying the knowledge in different situations is the key.

So; lessons learned & I’m never forgetting my lunch again when I have a checkride, hahaha! In the meantime I have some studying to do, can’t wait to get those three stripes. If you have questions feel free to post them below! Go get those licenses and start flying. And remember, never a failure always a lesson.