Today was a turning point in my student pilot career. I flew my last actual lesson with a CFI. The syllabus requires only one more solo practice flight to polish any rough spots.
We worked on the items that I felt weren't quite perfect. The two biggies were short field landings and steep turns. The steep turns were just a bit too rough for me the last time we flew, because I just couldn't keep my altitude constant or my bank at 45 degrees. Turns out I was relying on the instrments too much, and Peter told me that this was a visual maneuver, not an instrument maneuver. Once I figured out the sight picture I nailed the turns with no change in altitude.
Short field landings require you to come in a little steeper and slower than normal so you can do an exaggerated flare to quickly slow the plane down for stopping on a shorter than usual runway. I just didn't have any stick time on this maneuver so Peter just worked with me on three landings and now I feel pretty good about it. I'll practice a bit solo but I think that particular dragon is slain.
One interesting and new thing that the tower had me do today was perform a 360° circle on long final approach, due to a small jet landing on a crossing runway. At first I was glad I had Peter with me but it really wasn't a big deal - I made the circle and came out of it right where I left off. I continued my approach and nailed a short field landing. It was cool because the tower initially said "526 Papa Uniform, go around, uh, actually could you do a 360 and resume approach". After I did the 360 the tower thanked me for the help. Fun!
Solo practice flight - scheduled for Friday the 21st.
Written Exam - going to try to get endorsed for it Friday so I can take the exam Tuesday-ish.
Oral exam - Review with Peter, scheduled for Monday.
Final Stage Check - this is the mock checkride
Checkride - The big Show. The Feds examine my flying skills and give me the thumbs up or down.