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!