The Saga of The Cancelled Commercial Checkride - The Sequel

August 22, 2005

I hardly even believe I'm writing this, but I showed-up for my Commercial Checkride, today (if you'll remember my D.E. had to cancel last Thursday's checkride due to a sulfuric acid spill on a freeway that lead to an impossible traffic jam) - Today, I even arrived extra early. When it got to be about a half-hour before my checkride I looked at the daily log of planes that were 'up' or 'down' for service. Keep in mind that at this point I was just performing an 'academic exercise', because 'of course' (since no one had told me anything differently) both planes would be there for my CHECKRIDE. First one on the list I saw was the 172 that I had reserved showing up and available, then I looked for the complex plane (the Arrow III) and saw to my disbelief that it had been taken off-line.

I wasn't immediately worried because I figured it was some quick minor fix and that certainly I would have been called/told if it had actually become unavailable for something as important as a checkride. So, I went to maintenance to get more information. Turns out some metal shavings had turned up in an engine oil analysis and the plane was being taken offline to wait for a new engine. The head of maintenance indicated that it would likely take a few weeks to get a suitable engine but only a few days to install it.

My CFII arrived and I told him the news and he looked as incredulous as I did, when I had learned the disposition of the Arrow III, earlier.

I told him I had called the D.E. on her cell phone but got her voice mail and left a message that one of the planes I needed was out of service.

John (my CFII) and I went through the various possible scenarios:

1) Take the Oral and do the maneuvers (as planned) in the C-172 that was available and then take the complex portion when the Arrow III was up. The problem with this approach is that the results would only be good for 60 days and if the Arrow III was still not up by then my previous test items that I had passed would 'expire' and I would end up doing the whole checkride over anyways.

2) The FBO next-door had some Arrow II's (not III's) I could rent an Arrow from them for the checkride. Only problem is that it would likely be a more costly solution since I would have to pay their membership fees and enrollment dues AND then get some flying time in the Arrow II to get used to it.

3) Cancel the checkride and just wait for the Arrow III to be returned to service.

I picked the last option. I asked him if we could do some of the CFI stuff that didn't require the Arrow and asked him specifically if I could do something 'fun' like work on my Spin Endorsement while we were waiting to be able to get my Commercial Checkride 'going' again. You know there was a time, not too many years ago where you would have NEVER heard me asking about practicing spin entry and recovery - except now, in recent times, the curiosity over the years has grown in greater proportion than any fears that I may have had. While there me be some nervousness there - there is more curiosity that is spurring me on.

John said that would be just fine and that there were other things we could work on in the 172 related to the CFI training (I suppose like the basics of giving instruction) as well as ground time towards the latter.

I also told him that I would make it a point to take the C172 up now and then to keep my maneuvers performance 'up' for when the Commercial Checkride is going to take place.

The D.E. called on the FBO's phone line and asked for me. The D.E. told me that she was just a bit delayed, that she had got a flat but her friend was going to let her use their car and that she was on her way to my FBO. I asked her if she had received my cell phone message? She said, 'no' that the cell phone coverage was poor in her area and she hadn't received notification that she had a message waiting.

After I told her the story she, in a sympathetic manner, lightly laughed and said "Maybe this is a sign that we shouldn't fly a checkride together?" . We both laughed... Quite a unfortunate mix of unique circumstances, overall. She agreed that since the repair time for the Arrow was uncertain that it would probably be prudent to cancel and reschedule the checkride. She asked me if I wanted to reschedule then and I told her it might be best if I called her when I had some definitive news on the getting the Arrow III, online, again.

I spoke with a few buddies and called my wife. They couldn't have been more empathetic - they all know how much I just wanted to get the Commercial behind me so that I could 'move on' to the CFI, stuff. When I talked to my wife I told her that I was going to get a slice of cake from the bakery to have a sort of 'anti-celebration' of the Checkride that Didn't Happen <g>.

Well I had TWO slices of cake (one chocolate the other slice was white cake & icing) and celebrated the fact that I didn't descend into 'madness' <GRIN> because of the 'buzzard's luck' with the checkrides and suddenly start talking to invisible people! LOL <wink>.

Admittedly, the cake didn't take care of the disappointment and general frustration,, but as I decided with my CFII; there are certainly things that I can be working on that will keep me 'moving forward' towards my eventual goal (i.e., my CFI cert). So, I will work with the way things are for the best possible outcome and outlook! :)

Thanks for lending an ear...... :0)

<grrrrrr> ;0)

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