Tuesday, November 18, 2008


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!

Next steps:

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.


Jock said...

Don't catch any bugs... HAHAHAHA

Steve said...

Wait... it's not on your checklist, so you passed the written then?

If so, congrats!

And you're clicking right along... it'll be pilot Keith very soon.

Keith K. said...

Bah, I meant to include that. I'll be taking care of that early next week.

You flying tomorrow?

Steve said...

I see the update... good luck! Don't stress, you have about 3x as much time as necessary and you already know all the questions and answers.

Not flying tomorrow, I'm in Boston today and flying back to Dayton tonight but obviously not on my own. Scheduled for the checkride on Saturday with a couple hours extra beforehand to do some last-minute practice... if it didn't get dark so early I probably would go up sooner, but work gets in the way.