By carlson on Aug 29, 2008
I suppose the title of this entry gives too much away.
This morning at around 8:30AM, I went to Eagle East. Tim and I looked through the required documentation, the plane's records, and did the checklist to make sure everything was in order. By 9, there wasn't anything left to do but to fly to Portsmouth.
I headed out to PSM at 2500. The airport was busy, with a jet taking off as I was inbound, and an Arrow to follow me. I landed on 34, and taxied off Alpha to November and to the former Pan Am Services to park. I was getting nervous, and I almost held up the Arrow departing the runway. We both parked, and it turned out that was Don.
We talked first about how things would go, and what he was expecting out of me. His last words before going into "test mode" were that I was already a pilot, and all I had to do here was keep my certificate.
The oral exam was easy. We started with the paperwork issues, what you need to be legal, what the airplane must have, and so on. He had a couple of odd questions (such as tire pressure), and then we were on our way.
On the ground, he's your friend. In the air, he's all business. We started off with a power-on stall under the hood, then tracking a VOR. We then went to the East a bit and did a 720 steep turn. Then a few power-off stalls at 1500 feet. Then we descended to 1000 feet and did a couple turns about a point.
Next, it was off to Skyhaven. This is where I started getting in trouble. I was all over the place on my altitude, and he was taking it personally. "That'll be a violation." I just did what I could to hold myself in place, but it was tough. I think 80% of it was nerves and maybe 20% weather (the high pressure made for unstable air and a lot of thermals). We went into the pattern and did some short-field and soft-field take-offs and landings. On that part, he was all over me for being too willing to talk on the radio -- it's aviate first, then navigate, and way after that, communicate.
After a few passes of that, we headed back to Portsmouth. I was right on 1100 feet as we came in. In landing, I made my base too short (and too high), and I was left of the centerline. He was all over me on \*that\*. "There's no excuse." And he's right. As he got out of the plane, he asked if I had a cell phone with me. I said I did. He said, "call your wife and tell her you're a pilot; you didn't lose your certificate."
I'm wiped out. I know what I need to practice from now on in order to get better. But I'm now officially a Private Pilot, ASEL (Airplane Single-Engine Land). In the picture below are Beth, me, Benjamin, and Madeline. And, of course, 61976.