Monday, March 05, 2007

ASEL Check Ride

Well, I promised to post about my checkride, so I will do so. It took about a year for me to finally reach the checkride due to changing schools and insufficient funds. The good thing about it taking so long was that I felt pretty confident in my flying. This confidence, however, didn’t keep me from getting pretty nervous about my solo cross-countries I flew, of which I will post on later. Anyway, I studied everyday from the ASA Oral study guide and from the PTS (Practical Test Standards). I also read a lot of posts from different forums about other pilots’ checkrides. It seemed like it was going to be pretty intense and I was a bit concerned that my nervousness would cause my flying skills to drop below the standards the examiner was looking for.

It felt like the day of the checkride came up pretty quickly. All of a sudden it was the night before a day in which I thought about since I’ve began flying. I was scheduled at 12:00p and coincidentally I drove past the examiner on the way to the airport. My instructor said that this particular examiner was a good guy.

Out 2 hours or so of the oral section of the checkride went surprisingly well and I knew most of the questions he asked. Of the questions I wasn’t sure on, he helped me search for the correct one. It took about a half an hour alone to go through the visibility and cloud clearance requirements for each airspace, and surprisingly I got every part of it right. He drew a diagram on a white board and had me fill in the requirements and after I had painstakingly told him my answers, he said at the end, “everything looks right to me, let’s go fly.”

So on to the flying portion and I felt pretty good at that point. We did all the typical maneuvers that are done for the checkride and also flew the first portion of my cross-country to KSMO. One interesting point was when I did my steep turns. My instructor helped me in quickly trimming the plane to keep a constant altitude while doing the maneuver. Add a certain amount of power and trim two-full wheel turns of the trim. However, when performing the maneuver, I trimmed two-full wheel turns in the opposite direction, AND (aircraft nose-down), instead of ANU (aircraft nose-up). I quickly realized my mistake and trimmed accordingly. The examiner laughed and said he was about to say something about what I was doing. Thankfully I corrected quickly.

The landings (short-field, soft-field) went pretty well considering I was concerned about these the most. It was pretty windy and my short-field landing was pretty hard, but I guess he looked more into whether or not I landing within the space required. After the last landing, he said that I could taxi back and congratulations. I was ecstatic, but I didn’t show it. I guess in the back of my head I knew I would do all right. What a great accomplishment though, I thought. My wife was there to congratulate me first and she was sitting there the entire time watching me fly. She spoils me, but she’s awesome.