|15MAR02||C-172P||Cessna 172 currency checkride||3||1.1|
|21MAR02||PA44-180||Multi-engine currency checkride||4||2.0|
|15DEC2003||C-172N||Biennial Flight Review||5||1.6|
|13DEC2006||C-172SP||Practice w/ instructor||10||1.3|
When facing an hour-long oral theoretical test, do you:
- Skim through your old books, buy a BFR Practical Test Standards (PTS) at least a week before the test and study, and buy a new sectional map to refamiliarise yourself with the notations because you know they're going to hit you hard with that.
- Skim through an old single-engine PTS and look at an old sectional covered in your now totally incomprehensible markings from a few cross-country flights five years ago.
- Grab a copy of the BFR PTS two days before your exam and skim through it, forgetting to even look at a sectional.
If you're unable to get a Cessna 172, the plane you're most familiar with and one of the most forgiving aircraft in the world, do you:
- Take a 152 because the characteristics are similar.
- Take a PA-28 Archer because you've flown them before and wouldn't be neat to get currency in that at the same time as the checkride?
- Take a PA-44 Seminole or similar because you've flown them before and wouldn't be neat to get currency in that as well as some multi time while doing the checkride?
If you have a chance to go up with an instructor to practice before your checkride, do you:
- Tell your girlfriend to stay on the ground.
- Allow your girlfriend to fly along but warn her that there will be some manoeuvres that she will definitely not like and which may make her sick.
- Allow your girlfriend to fly along and only practice take-offs, landings, pattern turns and straight-and-level?
The three synapses mentioned in the title kept me from choosing C for question 2, but sweet mother of fuck was that hard. The Archer is a much less stable plane, is more crowded, has a difficult-to-reach manual flap lever, and needs a metric fuckload of right rudder despite rudder trim.
The weather actually played along today (after fucking me yesterday) but cleared up just long enough for the checkride. Ten minutes after we were down the low clouds were coming in.
Straight and level took a minute to get and I started climbing during pattern turns but caught myself and talked through everything so the instructor would understand I knew what I was doing. Then came stalls. My right leg is still sore from all the rudder I needed to keep the plane from going into a spin1.
Then came steep turns. I fucking hate them and so does everyone else. I'd forgotten all the steps you do (turn, coordinate, pull yoke, slam aileron wheel to relieve backpressure, etc.) and flubbed it so badly in my first attempt that I had to break away and start over. Once to each side, coming out of one direction and straight into the other.
Engine out was fine and I nailed my chosen spot, which had another good spot in case I'd come down too fast. Off we went to a towered airport. Fuck fuckity fucking FUCK! I haven't done any radio work and was not only trying to remember how to keep this beast in the air, I now had to remember all the damned calls. The guy was willing to practice with me en route and I didn't fuck up too badly, though I was tempted to cover my ass and use the special stupidity allowance phrase: "student pilot".
Three landings and one go-around because my downwind was way too close to the runway. Then off to home base for a couple more landings. I transitioned perfectly and was all set up in the downwind leg and the bastard pulled my engine again.
"Clearwater Traffic, 68-Charlie is downwind for 16 in a simulated engine out." I got so flustered I fucked up and had to jam in power just at the end. Had it been a real emergency I'd have made the field but probably not the runway. When your engine is out, do not use flaps even if you're in your normal descent routine until the last seconds. When you're on final and realise you need more distance, do do not remove flaps thinking you'll go faster with less resistance. I had to throttle up full to hit the asphalt.
Turn around, take off, do it again and do it right. I did. And that was that. I have a new entry in my logbook:
1Intentional spins are PROHIBITED in the PA-28 and seriously not recommended. It's not a terribly stable aircraft.
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