Prior PPL failure


I’ve been flying for almost 17 years and I am contemplating making a career switch. I am an instrument rated private pilot with more than 230 hours. How marketable am I to the airline industry if I previously failed my private pilot check ride? No issues on my instrument check ride.

Appreciate any feedback.

Hello Patrick and Welcome!

I can tell you for certain you’re not the only pilot who’s busted a checkride, not by a LONG shot! In modern aviation and contemporary safety we acknowledge the “Inevitability of Human Error” (ie, people make mistakes). What’s important is when (not if because it will come up) you’re asked during an interview that you own it. The guys that have issues are the ones that point fingers. “It was the examiner, my instructor, the airplane, the alignment of the universe…etc” ain’t gonna fly (bad pun intended). If there’s a story, tell it and what you learned from the experience (there’s ALWAYS a lesson in there) and move on. That said don’t make a habit of it!



I really wouldn’t worry too much about it, especially since it was so long ago. Everybody makes mistakes and just about every one of us could have failed a check ride at some point, but managed to slip through somehow. To this day I still get nervous for my check rides and have never had a perfect one. As long as you can say what you learned from the experience I think you will be fine.


Adam, Chris, Eric,

Definitely learned from that first check ride. Appreciate your responses, sets me a little more at ease.