PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

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SheaAllan
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PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by SheaAllan » Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:27 pm

I did my PPL Flight Test today and wanted to relay my experience for anyone else who is planning on taking the test. The winds were from 120 @ 15 gusting 25. I spoke with my instructor briefly beforehand and he said the go/no-go decision was mine and also mentioned that the examiner will be slightly more lenient given the windy conditions, so I decided to do it. I scored 4 on all flight exercises except those listed below

Walk around (3/4):
- I pointed out where the rescue hammer was and said that it could break glass, but did not specify what glass I would break with it or point out that it also had a seat belt cutter on it (which was news to me)
- I pointed out where the fire extinguisher was but did not explain how to use it

Steep turn (3/4):
- I rolled out too late (probably turned 390 degrees instead of 360)

Power on/off stall (3/4):
- A bit of aileron movement during recovery

Forced approach (4/4 on Cockpit Management, 3/4 on Control/Approach):
- The examiner was not convinced that I would have been able to deploy landing flaps and still make the field (the windy conditions made this trickier than I was used to, but having the wind strength and direction in the glass cockpit really helped)

Unusual Attitude (3/4):
- In all training scenarios the instructor put the plane in either a nose up or nose down attitude and I was taught to first look at your airspeed and if it was increasing bring power to idle, level the wings and pull of the dive and if decreasing apply full power, bring the attitude back to cruise then level the wings. The examiner put the plane in a severe bank to the right but the nose was on the horizon so the airspeed was constant. My eyes instantly focused on the airspeed which was then neither increasing or decreasing which caused me to hesitate before leveling the wings.

Precautionary (1/4):
- We were in the downwind and the examiner instructed me to do a precautionary. I acknowledged the instruction but it slipped my mind by the time we were on final ended up making a beautiful crosswind landing (Runway 05 at CYSA). I was very happy with my performance until I realized that I was supposed to do a precautionary. I hoped that I would get another opportunity but I did not, so I failed this exercise because I didn't perform it :/

Short-field takeoff (1/4):
- After the precautionary disaster we entered the circuit for a soft-field landing (okay). We then backtracked on the runway and I was instructed to perform a short-field takeoff. Even though runway 05 is 5000', I was expected to backtrack all the way to the beginning of the runway (I think I turned around about 100' prior to the beginning). Slightly rattled from my mistake during the precautionary, my other mistake was not bringing flaps from landing to takeoff (the examiner moved the flaps from landing to takeoff during the roll and I didn't notice). The flap mistake coupled with not backtracking all the way to the start of the runway constituted a failure.

At the start of the de-brief the examiner asked me how I felt it went and I said I thought it went really well other than the precautionary (I was hoping that was something that could be overlooked). Keep in mind I didn't realize my flap setting mistake during the short-field takeoff. It was at this point he told me the result was partial-failure and explained why. I think I was shock for the remainder of the de-brief as I thought I had done really well other than the issue with the precautionary.

With a partial failure, I need to redo the failed exercises with my instructor, get a letter of recommendation, then redo the failed exercises with the examiner (at 1/3 the cost of the full flight test, fortunately). If you had told me at the beginning of the exam I would fail flying adjacent to a runway at 200 AGL while performing a COWLS check and the short-field takeoff I probably would have laughed at you...

Hope this can provide some assistance for people taking their PPL Flight Test.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by Rookie50 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:28 pm

It happens. I blew the forced app on my PPL in 30 -35 knot + upper winds, didn't make my field. 172's don't glide too well forward into 30 +.

Just knock off the rest no big deal in the long run ---
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by Taiser » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:12 pm

Good info, glad you shared. I've heard of people doing far worse!
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by swixtt » Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:19 pm

Hope you get a better examiner next time....
What were your flaps at on the initial roll?
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by DanWEC » Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:49 pm

swixtt wrote:Hope you get a better examiner next time....
What were your flaps at on the initial roll?
Huh? While I don't agree necessarily with asking for a precautionary in the downwind, I don't think the examiner failed him, he failed the ride.

Looking at it again, you might have misread... the examiner didn't sneak a flap setting on him, he reset the flaps to t/o on the roll because the candidate missed it.
All good, best of luck next time, partials are easy! Sounds like you'll be fine. :)
The problem with rides is, usually the more that goes wrong, the more that goes wrong.....
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by SheaAllan » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:09 am

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I have a flight booked with my instructor today to correct the two failed exercises (if you hear a Katana requesting to use the full 8800' on 15/33 at CYXU with a short delay on the runway that will probably be me). Obviously given an actual rather than simulated short-field takeoff it is common sense to use the entire runway length. I suppose I should have explicitly stated that to the examiner when I turned around slightly prior to the end of the runway. Thinking more about the precautionary, I find it odd that I have to redo that with my instructor (not that I mind, how often do you get to buzz the tower, Top Gun style, at 200' AGL). My problem was actually one of unintentionally not following a directive which is clearly important in aviation (e.g., instruction from ATC).

And yes, DanWEC is correct, the examiner said he had two choices when he noticed that I had started the takeoff roll with landing flaps deployed:
1) Instruct me to abort the takeoff and correct the mistake
2) Move the flaps from landing to takeoff during the roll (which he did without me noticing)

I'm not arguing with the decision - I should have pulled out the checklist before the takeoff - but I am curious as to how much danger would actually be caused by a takeoff with landing flaps. Or perhaps the issue in this case is the extra drag in the context of a short-field takeoff which would increase the takeoff roll distance. The examiner said there was no obstacle to clear in this instance (meaning I pitched to Vy instead of Vx).
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by DanWEC » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:25 am

Are they rotax Katanas or c1's? Regardless, climb performance is almost zero, and then you know what happens when you retract the flaps when airborne....
Safety issue, and operating contrary to the poh and checklist, definitely constitutes a 1 for the item.

You're required to review any failed item and perform it to your instructors satisfaction, as they have to certify that you did on the re-recommend form, makes sense to me!

As for a low and over in the circuit, did you request "the option?" That allows freedom for almost whatever you want on the approach. Anyways, don't mix things up if that's not the way you guys do it there, just do what your instructor says. Good luck.

Cheers!
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by rob-air » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:00 am

DanWEC wrote:Are they rotax Katanas or c1's? Regardless, climb performance is almost zero,!

The C1 will climb surprisingly well with flaps in the landing config, but the flight manual is king and states flaps TO for take off. I think the examiner was a bit hard on you for the precautionary.

Break a leg on the retest!
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by Oxi » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:34 am

From my experience the Katana will also fly away decently in landing flaps.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by digits_ » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:40 am

You'd be suprised how many people throw runway length away, even for real short field take offs. So it's not a useless request at all to make sure you use all the available runway. But yeah, it sucks. You'll get there. And if you scored 4 on all the other exercises, you're doing really well.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by Shiny Side Up » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:43 am

I think the examiner was a bit hard on you for the precautionary.
I don't think so, the examiner did their job. Remember that the examiner isn't a mind reader, and you don't get mulligans on the flight test. When the examiner asks you to do something and you don't do it, its not a game of "well you seem to be a nice guy, so I'm assuming you meant to do this" rather they operate on the assumption that you didn't know how to do it. For all he knew, that was the student's version of the precautionary exercise.

The one thing that candidates should remember is before you start any exercise, make sure you clarify what they want before you start it. Once you begin, its all over but the cryin'. So if you need your brain to be reminded what you're doing, just ask. This is something I almost always have to go over with students on mock flight tests, where even if they didn't hear you, they get in a rush to do something. With a few exceptions, remember there are no time limits on the exercises (within reason the examiner will question if you take really, really long to start something) , so you're never beholden to do anything suddenly. The precautionary I'll say is the usual exercise that catches people on this, they get in a rush and screw it up.

The only thing I would have quibbled with in the examiner's marking is the point docked for their opinion on the glide and that landing flaps must be used. The Diamonds land just fine without flaps. I don't have a POH handy, but does it say anywhere that one must land with landing flaps set?
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by SheaAllan » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:21 am

DanWEC - C1's.

It was clear once I landed and let out an expletive (without the mic keyed - wouldn't want to be in violation of that radio operators' license) that I forgot I was supposed to do a precautionary (implying I knew the difference). I can still picture it in my mind, turning final and seeing that windsock fully inflated from an angle of 60-70 degrees relative to the runway and thinking how impressed the examiner is going to be if I can pull this landing off. I believe that landing resulted in a 4/4 for slipping, so some benefit did come from it.

Shiny Side Up - no, I don't believe it says anywhere that one must land with landing flaps set. In fact, instructors have said that in very windy conditions they will choose to land with takeoff flaps to reduce the effect of gusts (I think). Perhaps in the context of a forced approach it's more important to have landing flaps deployed. Given the workload of the cause check, mayday call, passenger brief and securing the engine I forgot my engine clearings (which should happen every 500') until near the very end when we were turning base when I remembered and got one in. However, if that was an issue I think he should have docked from Cockpit Management as opposed to Control/Approach? (side note - how often do people save their last engine clearing for final in the event they're a bit short of the chosen field? :)

Maybe I can have my instructor demo a takeoff with landing flaps today.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by 7ECA » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:00 pm

In high winds, I sure as hell will not be throwing down all the flaps - in a Cessna or any aircraft, for a forced landing.

As for engine clearing, you just came across a lovely little helper if your approach is off. And depending on how far off you are, that clearing might be a bit more prolonged...

The only other piece of advice I feel like giving, other than reviewing your procedures fully and remembering that on a partial the examiner can fail you for any incidental exercises that get covered not just the ones you previously failed, is to forget about getting 4's. Everyone is so caught up on getting a perfect score. Read the flight test guide, and realize that in the four point scale, a 3 means fully meeting the standard (and can include minor errors).

Getting a four might look good, but that means you've exceeded the standard - maybe your instructor has been holding back that recommend too long? Not to mention what will happen when TC decides to do a review when he/she goes to upgrade and sees a high number of 4s... Questions might be asked. Then again, this is a topic for another discussion...
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by Shiny Side Up » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:15 pm

It was clear once I landed and let out an expletive (without the mic keyed - wouldn't want to be in violation of that radio operators' license) that I forgot I was supposed to do a precautionary (implying I knew the difference).
I hate to be fiddly about it, but no, that's not a clear indication that you knew how to do it, only possibly an indication that you knew you screwed it up. As before, the examiner's not a mind reader, if they could, they wouldn't need to do the flight test in the first place.

I would also say that examiners are like referees, they aren't in the business of changing their minds, just calling it as they see it. The real world doesn't read what you meant to do, its crushingly punishing of what you did do. Take it as a lesson learned and resolve to not forget next time.
Getting a four might look good, but that means you've exceeded the standard - maybe your instructor has been holding back that recommend too long?
Unlikely. Remember the "standard" isn't that hard to meet or exceed. The grading scale also doesn't give the best measure of someone's performance. Maybe if one had an excessive amount of hours with lots of fours on the test would I say that they were held back too long, and certainly a partial isn't an indicator that they were over ready.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by SheaAllan » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:22 pm

Good advice - I will have to be on the ball for the entire re-test as opposed to just the short-field and the precautionary (does anyone know if the examiner has the option to change the short-field takeoff to a soft-field takeoff?).

And for me it wasn't so much about striving for 4's as much as it was about performing each exercise to the best of my abilities. I had 53.3 hours going into the test (40.4 dual, 12.9 solo) and there were some necessary cross-country and instrument hours which occurred post 45, so I don't think my instructor could have given me the recommendation any sooner.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by photofly » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:26 pm

>>Unlikely. Remember the "standard" isn't that hard to meet or exceed.

Easy for you to say.

Hours and hours "perfecting" steep turns and slow flight can profitably be spent doing flying that's more interesting than hammering manoeuvres in the practice area. Some extra PIC experience and solo-flight decision making for instance. With those extra hours under the belt one gets off the plateau and nailing the manoeuvres gets to be "not that hard", as you put it.
there were some necessary cross-country and instrument hours which occurred post 45, so I don't think my instructor could have given me the recommendation any sooner.
As a matter of fact, that indicates that he could. You can take the flight test at 35 hours, and there's no requirement for any set minimum x-c time or instrument time to take it. But 53.3 is a respectable figure, and it's not for anyone here to second guess what your instructor should or shouldn't have done.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by SheaAllan » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:32 pm

You can take the flight test at 35 hours, and there's no requirement for any set minimum x-c time or instrument time to take it. But 53.3 is a respectable figure, and it's not for anyone here to second guess what your instructor should or shouldn't have done.
I think perhaps it used to be 35, but the following indicates to me it is now 45 and there is minimum x-c and instrument time:

From https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/ ... 1-1086.htm:

(4) Experience

(a) An applicant shall have completed a minimum of 45 hours private pilot flight training in aeroplanes under the direction and supervision of the holder of a Flight Instructor Rating - Aeroplane. A maximum 5 of the 45 hours may be conducted on an approved aeroplane simulator or flight training device.
(amended 1998/09/01; previous version)
(b) The flight training shall include a minimum of:
(i) 17 hours dual instruction flight time, including a minimum of 3 hours cross-country flight time and 5 hours of instrument time of which a maximum of 3 hours may be instrument ground time; and
(amended 1998/09/01; previous version)
(ii) 12 hours solo flight time, including 5 hours cross-country flight time with a flight of a minimum of 150 nautical miles which shall include 2 full stop landings at points other than the point of departure.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by photofly » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:38 pm

You're confusing the requirements for admission to the flight test with the requirements to be issued the licence.
See CAR421.14(4).

You can take the flight test at 35 hours, and it's not a necessity that passing the flight test is the last step in your training. It's merely another hurdle along the way.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by SheaAllan » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:41 pm

Ahh. Good to know - thanks.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by Shiny Side Up » Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:13 pm

Easy for you to say.

Hours and hours "perfecting" steep turns and slow flight can profitably be spent doing flying that's more interesting than hammering manoeuvres in the practice area. Some extra PIC experience and solo-flight decision making for instance. With those extra hours under the belt one gets off the plateau and nailing the manoeuvres gets to be "not that hard", as you put it.
I think we're probably in fierce agreement here, but I will say that "perfecting" maneuvers isn't wasted time if one looks at it from the shooting for better than acceptable standpoint, to a certain point. I'd always be from the side that if someone partialed (I personally hate that terminology) a flight test and took it before 45 hours was spent, that definitely some extra practice could have been used.

Either way, when I look into PTRs, as I'm reminded by a very recent case, if there's a failed item on a test, almost every time that's the thing that was practiced the least. Often by a substantial margin. Students as it were have a bad habit, of if left to their own devices, practicing stuff they're already good at because it feels good. While I'm a proponent of a higher percentage of solo time in PPL licenses, very often that's poorly managed and shows when it comes to test time.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by tipsails » Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:23 am

swixtt wrote:Hope you get a better examiner next time....
What were your flaps at on the initial roll?
Nothing like an ACP telling you he was disappointed you took off from the intersection rather than backtrack the 500' on a 6500' runway. And that you got a 2/4. Some examiners are ridiculous in their unrealistic expectations.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by 7ECA » Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:37 pm

The easiest way to prevent examiner confusion, just tell him/her what you will be doing in advance. If they disagree with something, they will say something, and you can discuss your decision.

PDM - seems pretty easy to me.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by photofly » Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:36 pm

There's no harm in asking, but don't expect a Pilot Examiner to give you advance confirmation that what you're going to do is correct. He or she should clarify the exercise you're being asked for, but it would be improper to comment on your proposed action.

And yes, if you start a simulated short field takeoff by wasting 100' of runway behind you before you start the roll, then you probably deserve a mark of 1 ("fail") for that exercise, regardless of how long the runway really is.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by 7ECA » Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:59 pm

An examiner will not expressly confirm whether or not what you propose to do is correct/incorrect, rather they tend to make it pretty damn obvious if you just said something idiotic.

Consider the ground portion of the PPL flight test, which drags on and on, if you say something stupid, most examiners tend to say something along the lines of "really, are you sure?" - at which point you should shut your mouth and think about what you just said, and then correct yourself.
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Re: PPL Flight Test - Partial Failure

Post by photofly » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:05 pm

7ECA wrote:An examiner will not expressly confirm whether or not what you propose to do is correct/incorrect, rather they tend to make it pretty damn obvious if you just said something idiotic.
They're nicer in your part of the world!
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