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Certified Flight Instructor, Commercial Pilot, Training

Checkride Prep

January 11, 2015

Total Hours: 147.8

Well this is it, the last week before my checkrides. They are on the schedule for next Wednesday and Thursday, back to back commercial and CFI. Of course things happen, there could be mechanical delays or a weather upset, or then again maybe I’m just telling myself that to relieve some of the pressure! Overall I feel good about my prospects. I’ve continued to study hard and do what I can to prepare. This last week that has been a mix of flying maneuvers, practicing teaching in the machine, and even a commercial stage check.

The stage check seemed to go well even though I was a little disappointed in my flying. I guess if I was a little disappointed and I still did well enough I should be in good shape. The reality is that I know I can fly much better than needed to simply pass my checkrides. In fact I think if I can have at least an average day of flying I will be all right. The problem will be if I have a less than average day! But this isn’t something worth worrying over since I can’t really control it.

While I am still trying to study and prepare I am also losing some of the motivation to crack the books. It seems as though I can’t possibly learn much more in these final days before my checkrides. Reviewing is not a bad thing, but perhaps just getting psyched up is better. So much of what we do comes down to the mental game that perhaps the best thing I can do for my checkrides is walk in with as much confidence as I can muster. Not to be confused with cockiness or ego, just a solid belief in my own abilities. Over the next two days I know that I will continue to do some reading and studying of flash cards, but I’m not sure how much more I can handle.

Tomorrow I have the stage check for my CFI. If you recall from the private these stage checks are something like a dress rehearsal for the real checkride. I feel a little nervous about it but I’m not sure it’s something worth getting nervous over. Staying calm and confident will take me much further. I guess the main reason I’m nervous is that if the stage check goes poorly it may create doubt about passing my actual checkride. However at this stage in the game I am confident in my abilities for both of these checkrides, I just have to calm the nerves and let myself do what I can do.

A lot of this reminds me of rock climbing and I imagine the parallels could be drawn to many other disciplines. I always felt like the most important thing I had to do before getting on a hard route was keep my mind from psyching me out! Trying to channel all that nervous energy into a good thing instead of letting it tear me apart. I can say that my anxiety and stress levels are nothing like they were for the private. At the very least I am happy about that. I am certainly not free from stress, but I have found good ways to help manage it. And of course I have a lot more self-confidence about my flying and aviation knowledge at this point. It feels really good to see that change, one that I wanted so badly while struggling through my private.

Once again this week’s post will be a short one. I feel as though I am in something of a stupor while waiting for these checkrides to come. Study, do some flying, study some more…what a life! The good news is that by next week I will be writing about passing (or not passing) these damn checkrides!! I am really looking forward to my mini-vacation as well. It has been six and a half months since I moved out here and started training and I’ve hardly had more than a couple days off at a time. And by days off I mean really off, not even cracking a book, not even thinking about flying (wait, that’s not possible!). My vacation to Los Angeles will not be all play, I have the Robinson Safety Course for half of my time there, but it will definitely be a change of pace. I may be suffering from a touch of island fever anyhow, so it’s going to be nice to stretch my legs! Well, I’d say to wish me luck but by the time you read this the checkrides will be long over. Regardless, thanks for reading!


About Orin Bakal-Molnar

Besides aviation my biggest passion is climbing. I love spending my free time on the side of something big! But I'm almost as happy doing anything outside in the wild. Travel, photography, and fly-fishing are a few of my other pursuits. And of course there's nothing like meeting new people and sharing good conversation.


4 thoughts on “Checkride Prep

  1. Good luck, Orin! It sounds like one big chess match!


    Posted by Ben Urmston | January 31, 2015, 02:34
    • Thanks Ben! Flying actually reminds me of chess in a lot of ways. The planning and strategy combined with real-time assessment and decision making for one thing. And there’s the fact that there is no ceiling on improvement. I imagine I will always find ways to become a better pilot, just like I can always improve my chess game. Hope you’re doing well mister!


      Posted by Orin Bakal-Molnar | January 31, 2015, 06:48
  2. Congratulations Orin! I’m an aspiring pilot and absolutely love your blog. I noticed that you passed your checkrides via Mauna Loa’s FB page…Awesome! I really look forward to following journey from here and hopefully I can follow in your footsteps someday soon! Stay Safe! GinJapan


    Posted by GinJapan | February 3, 2015, 08:50
    • Thank you for the congratulations, it was a huge relief to pass my checkrides and I’ll have a post about it coming up next week. Thank you for following the blog, please feel free to contact me if I can help in any way with you own journey into aviation.


      Posted by Orin Bakal-Molnar | February 3, 2015, 09:05

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