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Overcoming FAA Checkride Anxiety

Overcoming FAA Checkride Anxiety

The anticipation of the FAA Checkride is considered one the most nerve racking and stressful situations a pilot must go through in the course of their training.  Once the training is completed and the students has passed all written tests and stage check exams, the daunting Checkride is then scheduled.  Even though the Checkride is stressful and taxing, one should have total confidence in their abilities, as both the student’s flight instructor and the flight school have signed off the student; therefore, indicating they feel secure in their decision.  However, most students still feel the pressure.

Nervousness, anxiety, pressure, are all common reactions to a Checkride being scheduled, as the sudden pressures to perform successfully sets in.  Nevertheless, once the sudden feeling of being overwhelmed dissipates, it is time for students to prepare mentally and physically!  The following are 3 important points a student can use when preparing, mentally, for their FAA Checkride.

1. Overcoming Nerves:  Admit that you are nervous.  Don’t worry, nerves are only natural and can be very difficult to fracture through.  Instead of harnessing your feeling of nervousness, exploit them.  Ask yourself “what is making me nervous?” and concentrate on perfecting that item(s).  Remember, your nerves are telling you something.  For example, after my instructor signed me off for my Checkride, my nerves pointed out areas I was week in.  Immediately,  I targeted and addressed those areas of nervousness and once I felt better about he week areas, my nerves disolved.

2. Overcoming Anxiety:  Nobody likes to be evaluated, especially when you have spent countless hours, energy and money to reach this finial moment.  The good news is that the FAA examiner comes to your Checkride with the mind set that you HAVE already passed.  In other words, they want you to succeed.   Also, keep in mind that your instructor endorsed you for this Checkride, therefore, putting their accreditation on the line.  Instructors carry the pass/fail ratio of each student’s Checkride for 3 years.  Therefore, each time an instructor endorses a student, they will have complete confidence in their student’s abilities.

3. Overcoming External Pressure:  The most common mistake I see, once a student is scheduled for their Checkride, is the applicant calling family and  friends  to announce the exam date.  The problem with announcing your Checkride date comes, when the added external pressures of having to perform and pass are conveyed.  Instead, I would highly recommend taking the Checkride without informing everyone, therefore, illuminating that extra external pressures and demands on yourself.  Then, after you pass, feel free to let your family and  friends in on your accomplishments and successes.

FAA Checkrides are never an easy task for anyone.  However, once you are able to conquer your feelings of nervousness, anxiety and pressure, you will feel better prepared and more confident in your abilities.    By addressing the 3 areas mentioned above (and not forgetting to  get some sleep), you will be prepared to show the FAA Examiner what an amazing pilot you really are!