Friday, December 12, 2008

Because Knowledge is Power!

I used a precious half a day of vacation this morning and sauntered on down to Thunderbird Aviation for my Stage III Check Ride. This is the last step before the final FAA Checkride can be scheduled.

My appointment was from 9am to 1pm, with two hours each for knowledge test and flight test. The Stage III Check Ride is a practice FAA Check Ride, so I knew if I did well today, the actual checkride should go well too.

I got there at 7:30 so I could finish my cross country navigation computations and cram a little more info in before "show time". The knowledge exam portion is an oral exam with a check instructor, so it's a face to face discussion about aviation. I'm pretty comfortable in this format so I wasn't too stressed about it.

We talked for about 90 minutes about all the various aspects of aviation, and though he did stump me on a couple of things, I felt pretty confident about most of my answers, even getting airspace designations correct for once (very confusing, I'll have to post about them someday). He did tell me one thing that I'm pretty sure he's wrong about - he asked me about the electrical system of the airplane, which I've been told is similar to that of a car. He asked how many volts were in the system, I answered that while the system components were designed to run on 12v, the alternator put out closer to 13.5 volts, and the battery, at peak charge, would output the same. He said the battery couldn't output more than 12 volts, which I believe is incorrect. In the end I nodded my head as it's not at all critical to airplane operations as far as I'm personally concerned. It will never lead to this scenario:

Me: What is wrong with this plane? She won't respond to any of my control inputs!
CoPilot: Oh no...the voltage output from the battery is reading 13.5 volts! It's only supposed to be 12 volts!
Me and CoPilot: AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!(cut off by sound of explosion).

So after my stellar performance regarding aviation fun facts, I headed upstairs to study a bit more on the flying portion. Our plane landed and parked so I checked the weather. Uh oh, ceilings are at 1600 feet and dropping. For a lot of stuff we do during training, this wouldn't usually be an issue but for stalls and slow flight you need to be at 2500 feet AGL (above ground level). So, I told Dan the check instructor that I'd rather do it all at once and not have to worry about the weather. Dan agreed and we rescheduled the flight portion for Sunday at 3pm. I feel pretty good about it so it shouldn't be too big of a deal.


Paul said...

I bet he'd be really impressed if you showed up tomorrow with a multimeter and popped open the cowling...give it a go and let us know the answer. :)

Ok, maybe not. Good luck on the stage check!

Keith K. said...

Haha, I'll do that AFTER the checkride! I was kind of surprised because his family is into auto racing. He is a super nice guy though, and a great CFI so I'll cut him a little slack.

Steve said...

Your mock is turning out like my real, what with splitting it in half and all.

The weather sucks around here lately, too - had to cancel a brunch flight myself today. Winds are 15-20 gusting to 30 with about 50 knots of windshear at 2,000 feet AGL!

Keith K. said...

Yeah, tell me about it. Freezing rain, blowing snow, fog for today. No flying for me until next week I guess.