How to be a good test pilot
Ask the examiner
- Ask the examiner
- Have a heart
- Tailor your activity to the
- Tailor your activity to the
- Be patient
When showing up for a session, ask the examiner what kind of traffic is needed. Some examiners will be very specific, and tell you what they want for every flight or clearance. "Give me a VFR departure South, no FF." "Now a TEC route, flight plan, wrong altitude." Others will be more general: "VFR please." A few will give you carte blanch:
"Anything at all." However, anything at all does not mean you should
ignore the student's knowledge level and the traffic level. See below.
Have a heart
You should not be flying to help the student fail, you should be flying to help the student succeed. If you delight in seeing the student fail
or flounder, then find another hobby. It is not unusual for test pilots to,
with the examiner's approval, set up situations that may result in a deal if
the student does not handle things properly. However, any pleasure the pilot takes in it must be from a "job well done," and not in seeing the
student get in trouble. If you get to see the student avert the deal, that should be your ultimate payoff.Tailor your activity to the student
If the student talks slowly and hesitantly, then you should speak slowly and enunciate more clearly than normal. If the student is brand new, then file only perfect flight plans (unless requested or authorized by the examiner).
Tailor your activity to the traffic
For example, if the airport is getting slammed with traffic, do not request pattern work, unless requested or authorized by the examiner.
When things get busy, let the examiner and/or student know that you will be happy for your clearance to go last. Volunteer to go to the end of the line when things get busy: The "paying customers" should go first, since they did not sign up to help train the controller
The nastier or more out-of-norm a clearance or flight you are thinking of doing, the more you ought to clear it with the examiner
The student's first session or two should focus on normal procedures and flight plans. If the student is doing really well, you can start with the abnormal stuff (wrong flight plans, or unusual procedures) early. Always ask the examiner if you are unsure
Pre-OTS sessions are the right time to show the student everything unusual (TEC routes without flight plans, helicopter operations, even that cool military overhead break). Just not on the first session
OTS sessions are not the right time to bring out the unusual stuff. The OTS is mostly about volume; that volume should be a mix of the kind of traffic that the controller will normally see from day to day. In other words, mostly IFR, mostly jets, with some VFR and some props, and precious little helicopter, military, and so on. Do not file any screwed up flight plans, and fly everything as perfectly as you know how. The out-of-town pilots will provide
all the drama that is needed; if any additional drama is needed, the examiner
will let you know.