|2005/11/03 I'm a Private Pilot|
π 2005-11-03 22:16 by Merlin in Flying
Yes, I'm finally a private pilot. The short version is that the test was almost too easy, and the examinator very nice with me (i.e. he asked me to do the bare minimum required to pass)
Today was an interesting day weather-wise (as I look outside and see the big cloud cover that's just arrived above us).
Anyway, I planned my cross country just for the diversion piece, to KRBL, and it was interesting to learn all the java flight tools on adds.aviationweather.gov, on something concrete: real interesting weather, worrying about 2 overcast layers, rain (-RA) and icing problems starting at 6500, while 4500 being too low for some other cloud issues, turbulence reports.
Ultimately, the flight that was possible, but pretty iffy, and I certainly wouldn't have done it without a CFII in the right seat, for both instrument bailing out if needed, and a second opinion on judgement calls from someone who has more experience than me
That said, this work (which was actually useful to me as an exercise), and the extra work I went through again to get all the airplane paperwork and prove that it was indeed airworthy, was never used during the check ride as Mike (the examiner) just wanted (for my sake) to go flying as quickly as possible before the weather got worse.
During my preflight, I heard some local PIREP of turbulence on final, and as Mike was saying on my takeoff that things seemed pretty smooth, and I was replying that it probably wouldn't last, it got bumpy right away.
The flight was actually less than 30mn.
Mike had me go to stanford, i.e. a 3mn flight, redirected me to SQL. That time I did properly circle stanford while computing the new heading, fuel, distance, ATIS, and SQL tower, and got all the work done without going anywhere, and busting any airspace :)
At that time, Mike had me go towards Slac, I did an interesting steep turn, which was challenging due to wind and turbulence, but I mostly kept it within the numbers, and we then did slow flight at 60 knots due to the conditions (and the horn did go on and off at 60)
At that point Mike said "so, if you pass, Sergey did promise that he'd stop smoking, right?" (which was indeed what Sergey, one of my WVFC CFIs, had committed to doing), so he said "my plane" and flew it back down to PAO.
"you're done with what you had to pass, that way you can screw anything up on the way back"
Obviously, at that time it was difficult for me to not pass. I was actually awake due to an almost proper night of sleep for a change, but it just didn't seem wise to say "let me do it", when he offered to help.
On one side, I don't really have great satisfaction due to how easy it was, but on the other side I can't blame Mike for trying to make it as easy as he could on me, and the landing conditions indeed turned out to be mildly interesting due to wind shear.
Anyway, I'm a private pilot now, yeah! and I'll settle with the satisfaction of what I actually learned during my now about 110H of flying, and what I'll keep learning with instructors and by myself, as opposed to the one of having nailed the check ride, which I didn't quite get to do.
A big thank you goes to my instructors: Ali and Sergey
Ali, my main instructor
Weather, while turbulent, made for some pretty clouds at sunset