Sunday, July 12, 2009

A good week

Well, it's official!! Within the next two weeks (that's how long the FAA has to schedule you after you get your signoff), I'll be taking a checkride with an FAA inspector to see if they buy me as a CFI-I. Then, my aviation career will officially begin!

The mock oral on Thursday was easy. Almost dissapointingly so. Not complaining, just kind of surprised. Either I really know my stuff, or Gary has a really good idea of what the FAA is going to ask. I did talk to a guy who did his checkride this week, and the questions that he got asked by the inspector (who happens to live on the field at Hooks) were almost identical. So, I'm hoping for a checrkide at Hooks. It's when you go to Ellington (where the FSDO is actually located) that you tend to see the 6-10 hour orals. I don't know 10 hours worth about anything! But, it seems like if you can set a good tone the oral is usually about 1/3 chat anyway. Again, you're kind of already in the club.

The flight went really well also. On my way down on Wednesday, I "taught" the GPS 17R at Hooks to myself and nailed it. Felt really good going into my practice flight with my friend and classmate Chris, and it went awesome.

Fast-forward to Friday afternoon and my mock checkride with Gary. It was about 104 out and nice and bumpy. Remember how I always get frustrated that Gary won't shut up? He hardly said a word. The flight, I think, went excellent. He said my teaching was really good, and that's why he hadn't talked. I just kind of developed this attitude that, even though crap moves REALLY fast when you're on with Houston Approach and you're shooting two approaches back-to-back with a hold in between, I could slow things down. So what if you undershoot the inbound course on the hold? You teach the inspector, "okay, you notice the needle is ahead of us. We don't want to panic and tighten the turn up. We'll just correct and get it back centered."

When you start doing that, every situation gives you an advantage. You just refuse to let yourself get in a hurry. I think if I can do that on the checkride, it should be milk run.

So, I should hear by Monday about where/when my checkride is. I'm praying for Hooks, but I think I can handle Ellington. I'll post here when I find out. After that, the CFI-A sign-off and checkride will be pretty easy.

It's really something else. I began in mid-January with zero instrument experience. I'm now an instrument-rated commercial pilot, and less than two weeks from possibly becoming an instrument flight instructor. What a ride! Almost there!

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