Stranded In The Southland

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Am Now A Private Pilot!

To my delight, I managed to pass my private pilot checkride. There were a few ugly moments, but, for the most part, it went okay. My examiner was really relaxed and helpful, from start to finish.

I had hoped to ace the oral exam, but I had some problems with weather questions. I can interpret the funky abbreviations in all sorts of weather reports, and can differentiate between the million and one different sources of weather data, but I had real problems identifying the contents of the various SIGMETs and AIRMETs that the National Weather Service issues. Perhaps this was because I never have to see them; I just look on the computer for the various forcasts. I'm not sure why it was important to the examiner, but he really quizzed me on it (he also gave me a whole bunch of slack answering the questions, but it was still incredibly aggravating to draw a blank).

I was a bit more nervous about the flying, alas. I couldn't get the plane to start, out of the gate, 'cause I forgot to put the key into the ignition (there's a start button, so you don't turn the key to start it). Then I flubbed up my first radio call.

After that, things seemed to smooth out; I managed to fly to the right place, demonstrate some very sloppy steep turns, and did okay with slow flight (which is sort of a demonstration of how you'll do as you approach landing). I then totally flubbed a stall, dropping far too steeply in my recovery. Fortunately, I got another crack at it, and did okay. I did some instrument work, flying around with funky foggles over my eyes, so I couldn't see out the window, and had to just look at the instruments.

Then I buzzed over to Brackett, nearly getting lost in the haze in the process, made a bad landing, went back to Chino, nailed a really short landing which was both short and soft (only to find out that the examiner wanted a soft landing), made a reasonable soft landing (which wasn't as soft as my previous short landing), and then I was done.

I have the ticket now, and I'm ready to go. Woo hoo!


  • We are really proud of you for getting the pilot's license. You really had to stick to your desire to fly, given all of the obstacles thrown in your path. To everyone's shock, I will be happy to fly with you the next time we visit or when you come to Ohio.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:15 AM  

  • Naturally, a self-deprecating post on a job well done ;-). There was never any doubt in my mind that you'd succeed at what you set out to do, K. Way to go! Can't wait to celebrate this properly with you sometime soon!!! xoxo

    By Anonymous Shhh, at 6:45 PM  

  • Congrats--just don't try to fly to Catalina Island in the fog, will you?

    By Blogger elizabethanddennis, at 8:13 PM  

  • 'Ole Dad Sez,
    WAY TO GO!!!
    Yeah, it was tougher than it had to be, and a lot of obsticles were thrown in your path, but you toughed it out and made it. Who has a check ride that goes perfectly? I have been on several. The check pilot is looking for over all competancy and expects some jitters. You had the right stuff when you had to have it.
    Now you have the basic skills and will realy start to learn how to fly. Besides, you have something I aspired to, but never got. THAT is what realy makes me proud of you!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:38 AM  

  • Congratulations!!! Take time to fly when you can, to enjoy your new skills.

    By Blogger L and D, at 5:59 PM  

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