Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Take 'er for a spin

I've been in Houston again the past week and a half, preparing for the CFI add-on checkride. This adds to my certificate the privileges needed to train Private, Commercial, and theoretically, single-engine ATP pilots. Sounds like it would be a difficult checkride, but in the real world this one is done with a Designated Examiner, not the FAA. If you follow that train of thought, the DE knows that you've already showed you the feds that you have the "right stuff," so this is really your ticket to lose. It may in fact be one of the easiest rides in my career.

Show up on time, look professional, don't screw up too bad, act like every piece of advice the DE gives you is the most awesome thing you've ever heard, and then taxi back in to shake hands and accept your temporary certificate. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but not too much if I take any stock at all in the words of the two colleagues who have just completed this ride with the same DE I'm using.

That checkride is tomorrow, and I'll post the results here. I expect to have a good day :). After that, it's open for business.

Onto spins. On Friday, I did my required CFI spin training at Harvey-Rihn Aviation in La Porte (near Galveston and Kemah). Most pilots are scared of spins for the same reason they're scared of other things---they're the unknown. At Harvey-Rihn, we went up in a Decathlon (a 180 HP aerobatic plane---I want one!) and explored every aspect of spins, including the feared accelerated spin. I did very well and loved it, so much in fact that we had time to throw in some introductory aerobatics. The picture at the top right of my blog page is right after we landed, and I think the grin attests to how the flight went.

I now have my "inverted wings" after performing my very first barrel roll with the instructor's "hands-off" the controls. I'll be back for more of that. I think that some further aerobatic training and some casual (Introductory Level and then maybe down the road Sportsman Level) competing may be in my future.

Harvey-Rihn, incidentally, is co-owned by Debbie Rihn-Harvey, who has more aerobatic awards than I can list here. I'll do a seperate blog at some point later about meeting her at a fly-in in La Grange where we saw her put on an impromptu performance.

That's all for now...I have some last-minute chores to get done for tomorrow. After tomorrow, maybe I'll have to change the blog name to "Keeping the dream on track!"

"Keep the ratio of happy airflow to pissed-off airflow acceptable."
--James, an aerobatic/spin instructor at Harvey-Rihn

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