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Piper Seminole for your multi engine checkride

5 Tips For Your Multi-Engine Checkride

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There’s no experience quite as cool as flying a twin-engine plane. 

There’s something about it—sure, it’s faster and sleeker than the single you’ve been flying around for so long. But it’s got that big-plane feeling. 

You look out your window, and there’s an engine on each wing! Suddenly, the procedures feel more airline-like; you’re flying a much more capable and comfortable machine. 

If you’re chasing a career as an airline pilot, the multi-engine rating is your first real taste of the big time. Here’s a look at the multi engine checkride and a few tips to help you pass.

Five Things to Keep In Mind On Your Multi-Engine Practical Exam

Here are a handful of items to keep in mind for your twin-engine checkride.  Keep in mind that these items are specific to the multi-engine add-on. 

If you’re doing the multi as part of your initial commercial certificate (i.e., skipping the Commercial Single-engine Airplane rating), keep in mind that you will be doing two checkrides in one—the commercial and the multiengine. 

The ACS can help you figure out which tasks to prepare for. 

Master the Plane’s Systems

The multi-engine oral is very systems-intensive. Twins have many things that most single-engine trainers don’t, like retractable landing gear and constant-speed, feathering propellers. 

And since it’s one step closer to commercial flying, the DPE will expect the multi-engine applicant to have excellent knowledge of the minute details of the AFM/POH. 

Piper Seminole for your multi engine checkride

You’ll want to study up on every system the plane has so that you can explain how everything works to the DPE. You’ll also want to be able to understand what happens if something fails and if it affects other systems. 

Some twins, like the Piper Seminole, are just expanded singles with similar systems. That makes learning the systems fairly straightforward. 

On the other hand, a plane like the Diamond Twin Star is loaded with new tech like FADEC diesel engines and composite construction. Whatever you’re flying, you’ll need to know how it’s built and how it works!

Depending on what you’ve previously flown during checkrides, focus most on the systems that are new to you. 

If it’s your first plane with constant-speed props or a glass cockpit, you’ll definitely be discussing those. 

Also, be ready to discuss the basics of systems your plane doesn’t have (but that other twins do). TKS icing systems, built-in oxygen systems, and pressurization systems—just to name a few.

Understand the Subtleties of Vmc and Multi-Engine Aerodynamics

Additionally, the oral will focus on multi-engine aerodynamics. This is one of the most common items where applicants slip up because it’s complicated. 

Many students think they can get by simply memorizing lists, acronyms, and details. 

Unfortunately for them, the DPE will quickly figure out whether they’re talking to someone who understands the material. 

This is one checkride where you really need to know your stuff.

The so-called “12 factors of Vmc” is the perfect example. 

It’s easy to memorize the list of things that make the actual minimum controllable airspeed of a twin change. But it’s another thing entirely to be able to explain each one and how it affects flying the plane in different situations. 

Get Enough Seat Time to Feel Comfortable in the Plane

The biggest challenge you face preparing for your multi checkride is a lack of seat time in the plane. 

Twins are expensive, and, on the whole, the checkride is fairly straightforward. 

All of that incentivizes keeping preparation to a minimum. 

But, just like past checkrides, don’t press forward with the exam until you feel 100 percent comfortable and confident flying the plane. 

Here are just a few examples of what it means to be comfortable in the plane:

  • Be able to maintain directional and airspeed control regardless of the situation.
  • Be completely familiar with the plane’s procedures—normal, abnormal, and emergency.
  • Know how the plane will respond in different situations, on one engine or two.
  • Be well-practiced in hard-and-fast instrument work, such as back-to-back approaches, pop-up clearances, and IFR emergencies. 
Take your multi-engine checkride in a piper seminole

Be Ready For a Lot of Engine Problems!

If there’s one purpose of the multi-engine checkride, it’s simply to ensure you’re a safe multi-engine pilot, right? 

And the secret of being a safe multi-engine pilot is to be able to maintain control if the aircraft should an engine fail at any moment during flight, from the takeoff roll to landing, right? 

So it should be no surprise that your examiner will present a mind-boggling number of engine failures during the flight, all at inopportune times.  

Your instructor should have done this, too—so it should not be a surprise. 

Still, the DPE will undoubtedly have a slightly different technique or come up with some new scenario that will force you to think on your feet. 

This is where being comfortable in the plane and understanding how it will react at different times comes in handy.

Study and Prepare As You Have for Every Other Major Checkride

Searching online for tips, it’s easy to find some multi-engine checkride horror stories. 

Most come from failures due to simple things—forgetting to retract the landing gear after a maneuver, not getting the ATIS prior to taxi, or blowing a simple maneuver. 

It’s often said that the multi-engine checkride is a “piece of cake” or “a breeze compared to the others.” 

That may or may not be true, depending on how prepared you are. 

Remember, the multi-engine checkride is just like all the others. There’s an ACS (PTS), and the examiner follows it to the letter, as you should prepare. 

Prepare adequately for the exam, know the bookwork, and be comfortable and knowledgeable in the plane. 

Want some help getting ready for your multi-engine checkride? Take a look at our multi-engine training aerodynamics and performance quizzes.

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