Flight Training - August 2012 - 37

A FEW MORE STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH CHECKRIDES:
Do not try to fly “for the examiner” or in a way you think will please him. Do a standard, safe job and show him/her you can operate your airplane in a normal, safe fashion If you make an error (and you will, so don’t be surprised), do not let dwelling on self-analysis destroy your future performance. This is quite an involved topic and volumes have been written on error-recovery, but the basic idea is to move on and focus on the rest of the checkride. Like a bad break-up, expanding on it will ruin your future relationship prospects. Do not dwell. Treat every flight and checkride as a new, fresh start. Sounds obvious but an example is a re-test. The already-nervous candidate thinks of a past failure and associates the upcoming recheck with a past failure, lumping them into one unpleasant experience. Think of the next flight as a new opportunity, not affected by the past at all.

“cool in.” When you exhale, you should feel a slightly warmer amount of air exiting, so think to yourself, “warm out.” Keep doing this until all you think about is the cool-in, warm-out sensation. Soon you will relax to such an extent you will feel your body pressing on the chair, or your arms hanging or other sensations, which are indications that you are finally observing how you are feeling now, and, most important, not thinking about the future! This method can be used anytime you need a mental break and feel anxiety coming on. To further develop this ability, set aside five minutes a day to do just that; quietly breathe and bring yourself to the present. At these introductory stages of meditation, don’t expect to be able to fully clear your mind, as you may have tried in the past. Your mind will drift and you will think of various obligations, desires. This is normal. Acknowledge them by gently opening your eyes and writing them down, i.e., “I have to remember to buy milk”—write down the word “milk,” close your eyes, and refocus. Then you might have another thought, such as “check schedule”—write down the word “schedule,” and soon you will find that one by one, you have acknowledged your thoughts so that when they return they will be easier to block. In a month, increase your meditation time to 10 minutes. Additionally, sleep is very important and an active, running mind will prevent you from getting it. Use a modification of the above method to help you just before bedtime—breathe in through the nose but exhale through the mouth five times. Make the last inhalation very deep and hold your breath as long as you can, while tensing all muscles. When you can no longer hold it, exhale and you will experience a calming sensation.
FORGET FANTASIES. When you think about the future, specifically the upcoming checkride, do you see yourself passing or failing? While you may want to think you’ll pass, admit it, you fearfully fret about the worst-case scenario and build on it. Maybe in your fantasy you will

fail, then fail the re-test. This sort of bad fantasy just gets more elaborate until it destroys your confidence. Confidence is essential to good performance and has to be maintained if we are to function professionally. When thinking about the future, ask yourself honestly, am I winning or losing in my fantasies? The importance of visualizing the outcome should not be underestimated. Finally, finish putting your mind at ease with preparation. If you have prepared extensively for your checkride, you will have removed a critical cause of anxiety (fear of failure because of unpreparedness). This advice is not new to anyone in aviation. A further comfort is if the oral phase of the exam goes well, you will have more latitude should the flight phase not go as well. Either way, you will have made a good impression right off the bat. An indispensable part of preparation is chair-flying. Sit in a chair in front of a cockpit mock-up/poster and go through the full checkride, thinking of every movement, and every procedure you will have to do. Fly several scenarios and take each through to its conclusion. Take your time but get it right; when you have done it in your mind correctly, you have set the stage for doing it correctly in the airplane. When you get into the airplane, you will have the confidence that your mind has already been there. The three main elements of a successful anti-anxiety strategy are getting outside help; stopping the negative thought cycle and establishing a calm mindset that is based in the present; and preparing for the checkride in an thorough way that leaves no room for self-doubt. When you eliminate performancerelated anxiety, you will get a lot more enjoyment out of flying, generally be more relaxed and calm, and find all pressure-causing issues far less serious (relatively speaking) than previously imagined. And that lets you fully develop into the competent yet relaxed pilot you want to be.
Miroslav Nikolich is a professional pilot holding numerous type ratings.

AUGUST 2012 FLIGHT TRAINING

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Flight Training - August 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - August 2012

Flight Training - August 2012
Contents
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Letters
Something to See
How It Works
After the Checkride
Tech Tip
News
Final Exam
AOPA Action News
Since You Asked
Success Story News
Member Products
Training Products
ASI News
Flying Carpet
FOLLOW THE MAGENTA LINE
TIME TO CHILL
GETTING WET
TECHNIQUE
Weather
Accident Report
Flight Lesson
Perfect Storm for Pilot Shortage
Career Advisor
Tech Talk
Flight Instructors in the Hot Seat
Good Times for CFIs
Crossed Up
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - August 2012 - Flight Training - August 2012
Flight Training - August 2012 - Cover2
Flight Training - August 2012 - Contents
Flight Training - August 2012 - 2
Flight Training - August 2012 - 3
Flight Training - August 2012 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - August 2012 - 5
Flight Training - August 2012 - Right Seat
Flight Training - August 2012 - 7
Flight Training - August 2012 - Letters
Flight Training - August 2012 - 9
Flight Training - August 2012 - Something to See
Flight Training - August 2012 - 11
Flight Training - August 2012 - How It Works
Flight Training - August 2012 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - August 2012 - Tech Tip
Flight Training - August 2012 - News
Flight Training - August 2012 - Final Exam
Flight Training - August 2012 - AOPA Action News
Flight Training - August 2012 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - August 2012 - 19
Flight Training - August 2012 - Success Story News
Flight Training - August 2012 - Member Products
Flight Training - August 2012 - Training Products
Flight Training - August 2012 - ASI News
Flight Training - August 2012 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - August 2012 - 25
Flight Training - August 2012 - 26
Flight Training - August 2012 - 27
Flight Training - August 2012 - FOLLOW THE MAGENTA LINE
Flight Training - August 2012 - 29
Flight Training - August 2012 - 30
Flight Training - August 2012 - 31
Flight Training - August 2012 - 32
Flight Training - August 2012 - 33
Flight Training - August 2012 - TIME TO CHILL
Flight Training - August 2012 - 35
Flight Training - August 2012 - 36
Flight Training - August 2012 - 37
Flight Training - August 2012 - GETTING WET
Flight Training - August 2012 - 39
Flight Training - August 2012 - 40
Flight Training - August 2012 - 41
Flight Training - August 2012 - TECHNIQUE
Flight Training - August 2012 - 43
Flight Training - August 2012 - Weather
Flight Training - August 2012 - 45
Flight Training - August 2012 - 46
Flight Training - August 2012 - Accident Report
Flight Training - August 2012 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - August 2012 - Perfect Storm for Pilot Shortage
Flight Training - August 2012 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - August 2012 - 51
Flight Training - August 2012 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - August 2012 - Flight Instructors in the Hot Seat
Flight Training - August 2012 - Good Times for CFIs
Flight Training - August 2012 - Crossed Up
Flight Training - August 2012 - 56
Flight Training - August 2012 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - August 2012 - 58
Flight Training - August 2012 - 59
Flight Training - August 2012 - 60
Flight Training - August 2012 - 61
Flight Training - August 2012 - 62
Flight Training - August 2012 - 63
Flight Training - August 2012 - 64
Flight Training - August 2012 - 65
Flight Training - August 2012 - 66
Flight Training - August 2012 - 67
Flight Training - August 2012 - 68
Flight Training - August 2012 - 69
Flight Training - August 2012 - 70
Flight Training - August 2012 - 71
Flight Training - August 2012 - Debrief
Flight Training - August 2012 - Cover3
Flight Training - August 2012 - Cover4
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