Another PP-ASEL in the Group!

  September 27, 2000

  Took my checkride yesterday.  In spite of all the work and studying, I was still a bit nervous.  After the oral we went out to the plane to fly part of the cross-country that the D.E. (Designated Examiner) had me plan.  Got as far as 15 miles southeast of Livermore airport (My flight plan was to RBL - Red Bluff Airport, CA) and she had me divert to Byron Airport (C83).  I demonstrated stalls, soft & short-field takeoffs and landings,,,, and more.  Some maneuvers I knew that I normally do much better,,, still she didn't say a word (i.e., she had told me that if she didn't say anything, it meant the test was going well).  At some point she told me to fly back to my home airport (RHV) on any heading, my choice.  I kept thinking all the way back that she hadn't said that I failed anything yet, but I still wasn't certain. Called tower, reporting over Calaveras Reservoir (which is northeast of the airport).  The controller recognized my voice and thought I was calling from Coyote Lake,,,, since I often would practice maneuvers at some airports south of my home airport.  Anyway, he cleared me to land, straight-in on runway 31R, which of course would only be possible if I were approaching from the south.  I paused for a moment, trying to think if there was any other possible interpretation of the controller's instruction and couldn't think of one.  I called position again and asked if the tower understood that I was reporting at a location North-North-East of the airport.  The controller promptly corrected his clearance for a 45 into the downwind, #2 cleared landing.  As I was on final the controller said a twin was gaining on me and asked me to do a go-round.  Not a problem, back into the pattern again.

The D.E. wanted me to demonstrate a short-field landing, which I did and after receiving clearance from ground I taxied to the tie-down area.  Once I shut down the plane the D.E. turned to me and shook my hand, congratulating me on passing my checkride.  First word out of my mouth was "really????!!!", not that I thought I did badly, it was just almost dreamlike hearing her say those words.

She told me she would go into the
FBO and fill out the paperwork while I tied-down the plane.  Felt like I needed to pinch myself,,, I said the words to myself "I am a certificated private pilot,,,,"  over and over to reassure myself that I was not just having a great dream.

I went into the FBO, my instructor had come by on his day off (he had just returned to the area from a short vacation) to be there when I took my checkride.  Big smiles from everyone, I was just brimming with joy.  While I was shaking my CFI's hand I looked him in the eye and thanked him from the bottom of my heart for all his help that led to this wonderful day.

In the next few days, I will be flying the first plane that I ever soloed-in to the airport where I took my first introductory flight, last year, December 24th .  While I've done the bulk of my instruction at my home airport (RHV) I just thought it would be cool to land (as a pilot) at the first airport where this wonderful journey began (SQL).

I have a list of things I want to do with instructor; one of which is to be checked out for a Cessna 172.  He had told me, before, that the checkout would only require an hour or two (I currently fly a 152).  I also would like to do some additional dual flights to higher elevation airports (Lake Tahoe & Columbia, California).  I would also like to do some more night flights with my instructor aboard,,, just so I can further assure myself of my navigation skills at night.  AND.... believe it or not,,,, I find myself wanting to take a little spin training with my instructor,,, certainly couldn't hurt........ lots and lots of stuff yet to learn,,, I welcome this journey!!!

Thank you all for your support and wisdom, I hope I can be of aid to some of the other members of this group that are just starting out with some of the things that I have experienced.

By the way,,,, still walking on air, from yesterday.

Good Flights!

PP ASEL (Private Pilot Airplane, Single-Engine, Land)

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