First off, a little background on myself and my operating system. I am a real world pilot so check rides are not new to me but they are still a bit intimidating and stressful. The best advice I can give for that is to be prepared and donít let the moment stop you from doing your best. Trust what your training and practicing has instilled in your brain.
As far as my operating system is concerned, I am not running a high end machine and contrary to popular belief, I donít have pedals. As far as a flight stick, I am using an old MS Sidewinder Pro 3-D with a twist grip. So donít let that stop you from going for your CP it can be done.
|Bell 206 Hover|
Preparing for the check ride will differ for each individual but for me personally, I tried to get to KMSO at least once a day for an hour and started with each maneuver and stuck with it until I felt I had mastered it. One thing that I would suggest is that you try to practice online with an audience. What I found is that I tried harder and didnít just think to myself that that was good enough and then go on to something else.
Most of the time there is either a certified pilot or instructor around that is more than willing to give a third party view on things and are more than willing to help you along with your practicing. Remember they are not here to pass judgment on your flying but are here to help. I will tell you from experience you arenít going to find a better bunch of guys. I wish that I could have had them in my corner when I was doing my real world training. So just join in and introduce yourself and let them know what you would like to do.
|Bell 206 Rotational Hover|
When you think that you might by ready for your checkride but are not quite sure, get a hold of one of the instructors and schedule an evaluation checkride. This way if you are not quite sure or just nervous about it you can get an idea of what is expected of you and what it is like. Then you will find out if you have any weak areas that might need to be polished up a bit. One other thing that I would suggest is that before you take your checkride you eliminate all the distractions you can, (telephone, busy house, etc.) and learn to ignore the messaging across the top of your screen.
The checkride itself for me was very tense but on the flip side it was also fun. After boring holes threw the sky on FS for quite a few years this is by far the hardest thing that I have done with FS and also the most rewarding. I would suggest, though, that you have a glass of water and a towel handy before you begin.
When it was over the instructors disappear to discuss the results. They leave you there wondering how you did and personally it was about like sitting at the doctorís office after your physical waiting to hear if you are going to make it another year. But I will tell you it is a great feeling when they announce that they couldnít find enough to fail you on and congratulate you on your new CP rating. Then all those hours spent in the hover circle will seem worth it. Above all, remember that the checkride is based on your mastery of the control of the helicopter and not that you can fly each maneuver at 100% perfection.
|Bell 206 Final to pad|
In closing I would encourage you to take the time to get your CP rating and take advantage of the quality of instruction and instructors at Hover Control. It is well worth it. And besides the satisfaction of having your CP, you get those fancy two bars under your name, a cool certificate and above all you will become friends with a great group of guys.