In Air Training Command (ATC) we didn’t put ‘bombs on target.’ We didn’t do any aerial refueling. We didn’t haul any stinking cargo – but we did take check rides! Gawd, did we ever!
By regulation, we were required to take at least two check rides every year; an annual instrument and then, an annual contact (basic flying) check ride. ATC then added 2-ship and 4-ship formation check rides, navigation check rides and simulator check rides to the mix; as well as no-notice ground evals. This can wear you out; taking and giving check rides! And, if you’re fortunate enough to become an RSU (Runway Supervisor Unit) Controller, you were also entitled to an RSU check ride. I had ’em all.
The maneuvers we flew were pretty straight forward and for the most part, grading fairly ‘objective.’ However, every now and then we would get some free spirits in Stan/Eval or Check Section who tended to become more ‘subjective’ in their grading practices. You wanted to avoid those guys. They saw debriefings as their way to express “creative expression” for career enhancement.
For the most part, all my check rides were fair. However, I did have a couple that were “challenging;” more often in the debriefing than the air. The key here was to know how and when to express “deep concern,” even though you really might not give a shit. This was a fine art, and in the end, I was up for an Academy Award for my expression of ‘grave concern,’ while being debriefed for being 5 knots ‘hot’ (fast) on the top of a loop. Like, “really?” Oh, no…
An integral part of any check ride was the ground eval. Think of it as, “Stump the Dummy.” These could be brutal. If you faltered on a reply, or were unsure or confused with respect to an answer, you could be accessed with a “hazy.” I was awarded several “hazys” over the years… and again, you had to be careful here; you didn’t want to collect too many “hazys.”