Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hello from Flight Instructor school!

Well, lots to update since the last time I wrote. This blog seemed like a great idea earlier this year, and I still think it is, but it's a lot easier to get bogged down (or is that blogged down?) and not have a chance to write. Sorry, Alisa.

I've been cranking away as steadily as possible on my Commercial certificate. This is not easy when the airplane is gone for three weeks in maintenance, your CFI is out of town for two weeks, and the airplane owner decides to head out on vacation and leave you watching the best week of VFR weather in a couple of months from the ground. But hey, we're close.

I'm really getting comfortable in the Mooney. The maneuvers (Chandelles, Eights-on-Pylons, etc) have helped me figure out that's it's just an airplane. That's always an important step when you're moving up to something bigger/slicker/faster/. And, the landings are really beginning to click. A trip over to Mexia last week really seemed to help...I think I just perform better on narrower runways. There's a whole theory about that,'re usually going to flare lower on a narrow runway because of an optical illusion. My cardinal sin ever since since I first started flying the Cub has always been high flares, so I'm glad to have this worked out in the Mooney.

Of course, I graduated on May 16! I think Alisa posted about that here. Come to think of it, that's probably not news to anyone who reads this, but it was really nice to finally finish graduate school. With any luck, I'll get to use the M.S.Ed. next spring as a part-time lecturer with Baylor's Aviation Science department. I've said it before and I'll say it again: my teaching assistantship there was the best job I've had so far. No question about it.

I've also completed all the required writtens up through the Certified Flight Instructor-Instrument. This entailed, the screwy way I scheduled it, 4 tests in 2 days. As Brad, my favorite lineboy at McGregor airport put it, "people just don't do that." But, I did very well on all of them. So as of Friday of last week I'd completed the written exams for the Commercial, Fundamentals of Instruction, Certified Flight Instructor-Instrument, and Certified Flight Instructor ratings and certificates. I still need to take a couple more so I can tack a couple of ground instructor ratings on, but those will be non-events.

Now I'm in Houston at David Wayne Hooks airport going through Certified Flight Instructor-Instrument ground school. I'm staying with my in-laws Mando and Gladys; they bend over backwards for their kids and kids-in-law more than anyone you'll ever meet, and I am definitely eating and living good!

The CFI-I course will last all of this week, and then next week is the ground school for the CFI-Airplane. Most of the flying will happen next week. The ground work (for the oral portion of the CFI and CFI-I checkrides) is the hard part, so we focus mostly on that. It should take less than 10 hours of flying for the two of them.

At the end of next week, I have to go home and do a couple more flights on my Commercial and take the checkride for that, then I'll finally get to come back here and do my two checkrides for my two CFI ratings. I'll probably be "only" a Commercial pilot for a week or so. That's got to be some kind of record.

This is getting really long-winded so I'll say more tomorrow about the airport (I love this place) and my course and instructor (very legit and very experienced). This is the best decision I've made in my pilot career. I'll sign off now to so I can start working on some lesson plans that are due this evening. More skys!

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