After about 3 weeks of hard work, I finally got my instrument rating on my first take. It was unfortunately delayed by a couple of days due to IFR weather on my check ride day (yes, it's a bit ironic, I know, but it comes down to the fact that an examiner would rather not fly in real IFR conditions with a student who could make mistakes that could then be fatal).
Turns out that on the friday I was supposed to take my check ride on, I wasn't feeling that great anyway, due to a bad night, so while I felt adequately trained, I wasn't really looking forward to the flying portion that day anyway. The oral/ground portion was a breeze though, as I had studied more than enough for it :)
The check ride ended up happening on a sunday morning (which is unusal, but Mike Shiflett was nice enough to accommodate me, since my PIC instructor was due to fly back to Southern California that day), and it went well.
I think I was about as focussed as I have ever been, and flying was barely 1.4H (Localizer at hayward on backcourse for a hold, vectors back to localizer, down to minimums, vectors to Moffett ILS, ILS with GPS turned off (not that I cared, I didn't need it) down to minimums and missed approach/left turn by 101, ending with unusual attitudes (which were mild in my opinion), partial panel navigation and vectors back to PAO GPS 31.
I have to give it to Mike for having his check ride routing down to a science and the shortest you can do while still remaining legal. In the end, I made one major mistake, which was to not triple check the ever varying throttle position on the ILS approach, which ended with me doing the approach at over 100knots instead of 90knots. That said, I kept the needles where they were supposed to be for long enough, so it worked out anyway.
In the end, I just passed my Instrument Rating with 40H instrument time, 0.3H actual, and 9H ground trainer. It took about 10 days of reading the books and preparing for the test and another 10 days for the flight training.
If some of you are looking for a DPE and don't know,
is not only an all around nice guy, but he will really try to give you the quickest and therefore most painless check ride while fulfilling the FAA requirements.
Yes, I got nine hours of flying on this, but it actually works if you're not going to see anything outside anyway
doh, I really wanted to take a picture with my instructor, and DPE, but that's all I got