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I passed pre-solo check ride with Assistant Chief Flight Instructor yesterday. I had to show everything I've learned so far starting from preflight to take-off, climbs, descents, power-on/off stalls, steep turns, instrument flying under the hood, emergency procedures, radio communication, basic navigation, and landings. Essentially, I was giving a ride to the instructor as to regular passenger. Except maybe, that regular passenger wouldn't ask you to perform such things as stalls, engine-out landings, etc. 

Everything was done well, except a few things. First, I got some altitude gained during steep turns. Then I let one wing drop during power-on stall (potential spin) but after several retries got it right with good amount of rudder work. During engine-out simulated emergency I forgot to squawk special code into transponder (use checklists, pal!) but everything else was good and I picked a good field within gliding distance. On the way back I had hard time seeing airport due to head-on sun glare and low altitude but was on right heading anyway, just keep in mind that higher is better for seeing things on the ground.

Then came the worst part of my check ride - landings. I got rusty due to one week gap in my lessons (yes, this funky Northwest weather) so the first landing did not look good on the final approach. Once I started flare it was way too high so I performed a go-around procedure which was counted as a good judgment by the instructor. The next landing all went well until touchdown where I put quite a bit of side load onto the landing gear. I was crabbing into crosswind and did not straighten out the plane prior to touchdown causing it to land somewhat sideways. The second landing was the same - again not enough correction. Instructor gave me a break and took controls to show me good crosswind technique. I haven't had chance to practice crosswinds so it came back after me now. After demonstration I was able to land smooth and straight without much side load. So on the next attempt instructor pulled the power out and said: “Let's see if you could do it without an engine. If you land well we make it full stop, if not - you'd have to do it again.” So, here I am, landing without an engine with the crosswind. By this time I really “got into the zone” and did approach and landing really well, in fact it was one of my best landings to date and I haven't done many (~50).

After post-flight briefing the examiner said that I'm ready to fly solo and gave my instructor some advises on my progress. The next thing is to get medical and get up in the air when the weather is good. :)

Posted on Friday, July 28, 2006 8:40 AM Aviation | Back to top

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