Today (Sunday June 19th 2016, Fathers day no doubt) my instructor and I went over what we have left on the check ride prep. As we were talking she said, let’s go ahead and get you scheduled for your check ride. I told her that I would be on vacation the first week of July so she asked, the flight examiner, that we schedule it the second week of July.
The call was on speaker phone and I hear, “Do you think he is ready to do it sooner?” My instructor asked when she had in mind. The examiner replied “How about Tuesday afternoon, I will be there for another check ride. Do you think he will be ready?” My instructor looked at me and I said that I am fine with the flying portion, I am concerned about the oral prep. The examiner responded, “Well, do you think you can get him ready?” My instructor said to go ahead and book it and we will do what we can.
The examiner seemed to be thrilled that she would be able to knock out two at the same airport that day. I spoke with her a bit, getting some information about what I need to be prepared.
Suddenly, plans have changed. My instructor looked at me and says, “For the next 48 hours, your butt is mine. lol” She then scheduled an afternoon flight with her, so now I would have two on this day. Also she scheduled time on Monday evening (the next day) for oral prep and 2 hours of solo before the oral prep. I would then take my check ride the next day, Tuesday June 21, 2016 at high noon.
We start our check ride prep the same as last time. I perform a short field takeoff, and turned on course for my planned cross country to CLT. After the first 3 checkpoints, we go through a couple of diversion scenarios. Next she asked for clean slow flight at 50. I pull carb heat, “You just failed your check ride” Damn it! Clearing turn! I’ve not done that in a while. Next, perform the clearing turn, and demonstrated slow flight clean. I performed a few turns in slow flight then another clearing turn and slow flight dirty. I perform a few turns in the dirty configuration. Back to cruise.
“You’ve lost your engine” This is where I become a moron for some reason. I find a field and turn towards it. For some unknown I decide in my brilliance to perform a right hand spiral. You know, because, I have never done it before.
As you suspect, I totally blow the descent and would have died in a fire filled ball of aluminum. We head back to 3000 ft, and I perform some climbing turns. She ends up giving me another shot at it.
This time, I nailed it perfectly. Instead of a right hand spiral down, I perform a nice well organized and familiar left hand pattern, drop flaps to 30 on final and eureka. I got it right.
“What did you do differently this time?” I replied that instead of being an idiot trying to do something that I have never done before, I did what was familiar and what I have practiced 100’s of times when landing.
Back to TTA for the ending of the first flight of the day. I performed a soft field landing that was a little harder than it should have been. She said to use the time Monday night to practice softs and shorts. As many as I can get in during the two hours.
While she was out for her next lesson, I sat in the club classroom and studied.
For the second, flight of the day, I performed a soft field take off. It was ok, but not perfect. We headed out on a course of west, just like we have done each ride except I wasn’t checking off waypoints. Once I hit cruise, she pulled the throttle. “You’ve lost your engine.” As it happens we were over the same spot as last time. This time, I nailed. I flew to my touchdown point entered a downwind, base, final, full flaps. Everything was perfect.
We headed back to TTA and I performed a sort of soft field landing, followed by a short field takeoff (it was good), and a really crappy short field landing.
As we taxied back, we talked about how I could make them better. She remarked, “I know that you can do them, just use your time tomorrow night and do as many as you can. I think you’re nervous because the ride has been scheduled.” I nodded. Just two weeks ago, I was nailing these things. I will get the kinks worked out.
Now off to study. I only have 44 hours left before my check ride. I am still not convinced that I am ready and that it will actually happen but until it doesn’t, I will treat it like a certainty.