THE DREAM CAME TRUE!
Yes, I finally hold that white slip in hand, I’m a pilot! As I sit here only 17 hours post checkride I am still trying to get a handle on it all. I can’t help but think of all the times I asked myself what the heck am I doing here, this crosswind stuff is crazy or the many many landings and even wondering if I would make it at all. Wow, some frustrating times indeed. I also think about wanting this so bad that I could almost reach out and grab it, heck, take it if I had to.
Growing up my folks were very supportive, I honestly can not remember them ever saying “you can’t do that” We were always encouraged to do things as long as we gave it everything we had. I also am so glad we were not told we were the “best” at something or so much better then most, quite the opposite at times. At least if it didn’t work out I didn’t have far to fall. As an example in baseball I followed in the footsteps of my brother with league play but he was a very good player and an awesome teacher of the game. I was an average player who was better because of the coaching from my Pop and help from my brother. What I am saying is that encouragement to drive for a goal helped me get this ticket. Thanks to my Bride Mary for her support, encouragement and sharing in my passion for flight. Also, I could not have made it without my CFI Bill Mitman, his patience, challenging techniques (covering everything in the cockpit with his suit jacket, so I can fly by the ol’ seat of the pants) and consistent work in pushing me with regs and what if’s finally got me to this point.
On to the facts…..
The oral portion of the checkride went fairly smooth. I had everything placed in neat stacks on the table , application and test score, log book, to do list (Examiners stack), flight plan, sectional chart, airport diagrams and taxi diagrams, (My stack), All records for 46C neatly arranged and tabbed along with FAR/AIM tabbed and ready and the Pilots information manual. The Q&A was pretty open format more of a hangar flying session feeling than a test. I answered all but two questions and one was a partial correct. Is a radio operators license required, I said no but but I was given an example of Canada and it’s requirements. The other question was an airspace example, Class Bravo how do I enter. I proceeded to go through the calls and said everything but the word Cleared or clearance. The Examiner looked up at me and asked me if I was taught that since I was so passionate about my answer. At this point I thought oh brother…..I went in the deep end. I said I am positive I was taught correctly, but I may have screwed the answer up. We went through it again and the key was hearing cleared. Lesson learned don’t assume.
After some really great points about testing and the topics we covered I heard the magic words…”Let’s go flying”. ……I’m halfway home!
The flying portion went ok. Soft and short field take off’s, go round, engine out all went well. Power off stall and power on were ok with the “whoa” recommendation of not dropping as far below the horizon. No sneaky secondary stalls, and he agreed but didn’t said no need to drop nose as far as I did. VOR work was fine to my first checkpoint and to get me home to Brandywine. All in all not to bad even though I was nervous. My final landing was a shortfield back at Brandywine. I was at 55 kts and he mentioned to watch my speed. I was holding steady and on short final working the throttle to drag it on in. I touched down and brought up the flaps with a call out for simulated heavy breaking. Not to bad he said but why didn’t you use the last notch of flaps? I almost died……thinking did I get here and now not make it ??? He said you did fine but really had to work the throttle to do it, let the flaps help you. I was honest and said I really thought I had added the last notch. As I finished my after landing checks and proceeded to the tie down we talked about airplanes. Once out and 46C secure he asked me to check my information and sign across the top of the page. WoooooHoooooo……..I am a PILOT!!!! He gave me a pen with his info in case I don’t get my license in the 120 day period and that went right in the log book. We closed with a handshake and I thanked him for his time and making the trip out to N99. I passed on a bottle of cold water from my cooler stored in the truck and then helped him jump start his aircraft since his new battery went dead.
I am glad it’s complete, now it’s time for the Bride and I to hit the skyways!!!