Episode 79. Checkride pressure and flying piston twins, with Jason Blair

Jason BlairScheduling a checkride in 2024 might mean waiting three months. What’s going on, and how can applicants prepare for the big day? Longtime examiner Jason Blair shares a host of helpful tips is this episode, including: why DPEs are overwhelmed, what critical skill pilots need to demonstrate, what CFIs can do to support their client, and what technology can be used on the checkride. Jason also spends a lot of time flying cabin class piston twins, so he offers advice for new owners and explains why middle altitude weather can be a challenge. In the Ready to Copy segment, Jason talks about flight training stats, defensive flying tips, and whether you have to be in a cloud to log actual IFR.


  • Why a career in aviation is fun: “This is special stuff we’re doing… we really gotta look back sometimes and just imagine how many people for thousands of years wanted to do this, and we’re in a time when we get to do it whenever we want.”

  • The training boom: “We look back to 2011, we were doing somewhere a little north of 60,000 checkrides a year in the system; and last year we were more than 140,000.”

  • How to approach a checkride: “We’re looking for you to be the PIC on the day of the checkride. Show us you can make decisions.”

  • The DPE’s role: “We are basically the most annoying passenger you’re gonna have. We’re not acting as a CFI that day.”

  • Using the ACS to prepare: “Know that menu. Know what’s gonna be on the test and it shouldn’t ever surprise you when the examiner asks for a maneuver.”

  • Using technology on checkrides: “We actually now have language in there that says the examiner shall allow use of EFB materials for testing purposes. We cannot force you to use paper charts.”

  • Middle altitude weather: “Just because you think you have a little more altitude, you might actually be putting yourself in a worse spot.”

  • Advice for new airplane owners: “It’s not the acquisition cost that eats you, it’s the maintenance cost.”

  • Changing pilot goals: “We’re losing some of that generation of pilots that just did it for fun.”

  • Defensive flying: “One way to fly defensively is always be willing to say, ‘I’m willing to park the airplane.’”

  • What “actual IFR” means: “The true definition of IFR is when you can’t legally be VFR.”


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