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He started off by showing me the practical test standards, step by step, and letting me know that he would be using them for the evaluation. I asked if he would want me to know without having to tell me, what altitude to enter maneuvers specified in the book, but he said Dont worry, youll be at the right altitudes for each maneuver at that time. He went over the Weight & Balance I had made out with the info he gave me beforehand. I had done 3 different versions because the plane exceeded weight limits with full tanks. So I did one with full tanks, one with partial tanks to get within limits and the baggage in the baggage compartment, and a third within limits with the baggage in the back seat. He seemed to be pretty happy with covering all the bases.
Then the oral began. I had stayed up late last night with last minute studying and going over the V-Speeds, but I was still a bit nervous about the oral. I was afraid all the details would leak out before I had time to use them. It actually turned out fairly easy. He said my 98% written score eliminated a lot of questions that he would have asked otherwise. Generally he asked about: A/C performance (rear CG/forward CG effects), MELs, currency requirements, Airmets/Sigmets, wind shear, V speeds and their significance, color codes on the airspeed indicator, everything on the charts, everything about the airspaces and visibilities, NOTAMs and the diving restrictions. It was fairly conversational and when I had a bit of trouble articulating exactly what I meant, he stepped in and gave me a leading question to help. But for the most part, I was very surprised when he closed the book and said Lets go fly.
So we packed
up and headed out without a weather brief. Since I had gotten one for
the flight to 6A3, he was satisfied that I knew what to do. He followed
me around the plane as I did the preflight and I explained everything
that I was looking for: cotter pins in place, loose bolts, cracks, excessive
leakage, anything odd or out of place. I ding the propeller with my knuckle to get a
bell sound and maybe get a better feel for a crack that might be invisible.
Maybe it wont, but I feel safer doing it. After the checklist
is done, Ill go back around the plane one more time looking at
the overall picture and maybe see something that I wasnt looking
at before. A seatbelt hanging out the passenger side door..., etc. He
seemed happy with it.
A little more nervous now, here we go. Check primer, mags... Oh great, I touch each item as I read them off the checklist and I just shut off the mags. Turn them back on you idiot. Dont look at him. Not a word from him. But I can tell his interest level has gone up a notch. I finished the checklist and pulled onto the runway for takeoff. Into the air we have a bit of time before my first checkpoint and I comment on how nice the airport is, although a bit claustrophobic because of the closeness of the hills. A smile from him and he nods, yes. I double check my OBS settings because my first checkpoint is the 314 radial of the Harris VOR. Intercept and fly it outbound. I was a bit sloppy when I did it with Karen, so I kept a sharp eye this time. Ha! Nailed it. This might just work out.
flew straight and level for a few minutes and he called the divert because
of "bad weather" back to Blairsville.
Since he only had 2 logical choices, I was ready for either. So I turned
around and headed for the Harris VOR and drew a line to it on the sectional
from my position. Forgot to measure the distance, but got the heading
nailed fairly quickly and the OBS set up right. From the Harris VOR
it is just a short hop to Blairsville, so he was happy and called it
the #1 OBS needle for the Harris VOR and the #2 to the Choo Choo VOR.
I drew a couple of intersecting radial lines on the map and pointed
out where we were. Right over this lake here... Um, lets
look at the ground, he said. Sure why not? A little aileron roll
to the left and some right rudder to maintain our heading... oh, crap.
Somebody moved my lake about 5 miles over there. So I circled around
and leveled out for another try. Recenter the needles and redraw the
lines. Ok, here we are. I drew a circle around a town on the map. He
peered out the window, kinda frowned and said, Looks like a town
or village down there. I thought I had screwed up again, but when
I looked, I realized it was Murphy, the town I had circled on the map.
So I said yup, thats Murphy. Then he brightened up and said, OK,
lets move on. Phew. Later, after the flight, he suggested
that a better way to perform the procedure would be to center one needle,
turn and fly that heading while centering the other needle. That way
the first needle stays put and the plotted radial from that VOR remains
intact for figuring position.
Next he asked me to make an emergency slip to 3,000 MSL where we leveled off and did Turns Around A Point. First left, then right. A little close in at one point circling left, but he seemed more concerned with maintaining altitude and outside scan than a perfect circle. Since I kept it within 20 of 3000', he was happy.
on to S-turns across a road and they worked out just like the Turns
Around A Point. Maintain altitude and outside scan.
I pulled all the power off and while I radioed the simulated engine failure, I pulled the yoke back for best glide and since we had plenty of room, I made a slow turn toward the runway. Announce all of the checklist items, primer in and locked, mags on both, carb heat cold, mixture rich, gas on both, try to restart, make a call on 121.5. By then I was still high and ready to put in 30 degrees flaps. I had expected to hear him say that I didnt need much slip as I nosed over and put the flaps in, but he didnt say a word. So I did a pretty aggressive slip down to the runway threshold, let off on the rudder, straightened it up and landed very nicely on the centerline.
As we rolled
out with plenty of runway in front of us, he said to climb back into the pattern again. On final approach
and at the last minute, he called for a go-around. Full power, carb
heat off, good climb and get the flaps off 10 at a time. Once last time
into the pattern, back around to line up on final and this time he let
me set it down for good...nice and smooth and just to the right of the
centerline as the stall horn was kicking into high gear.
Then after we turned south and the haze cleared up a bit, the Pickens County runway endlights came into view. So I began a slow descent that would keep me out of their pattern airspace and get me to 47A at 2,000, pattern altitude. Traffic was calling runway 22 as the active so we joined on the upwind and circled around to land. My first landing as a Private Pilot couldnt have been much better. A light wind was coming a little from the right and gave just enough headwind to help out with the flare. A little too much back pressure, but a very light touchdown with the stall horn in my ear.
We took off and headed out for our subdivision and flew over the house. Then we turned to find Jim and Nettie's house just up the road. We thought that they might be outside since they knew we were flying this afternoon, but a plane earlier had fooled them into thinking that it was us. So they were inside as we flew over. Then we steered toward the lake and overflew North High School. Got sorta close to some traffic over the lake but we both turned away in plenty of time. I was in his sun so Im not sure he could see me too well. Then we turned back and flew over the house and Jim and Netties subdivision again. Still inside. So we went back to the airport and I put it down with just a little bit of a bounce.
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