So onto the flying portion of my check ride. My DPE needed another smoke on the way over. He watched me pre-flight from afar. I made sure it was super thorough. I pulled the plane forward to check for bald spots on the tires, which isn’t something I always do.
After I finished it was time to fly! He kept switching between calling me captain and Wilbur (he was Orville) which was kind of fun. We climbed into the 152. I actually had trouble starting it. It was the first flight of the day and it’s getting colder. I primed it twice, pumped the throttle, it wasn’t starting. I turn the Master off and think. Is it because it’s cold or did I flood the engine? I remember flooding the engine on a solo cross country and remember how I have to restart it: throttle all the way in, mixture all the way lean, start it and quickly switch their positions. I’m not sure (not that experienced yet!) I try another prime first just in case. It starts! Yay!
I get the ATIS, talk to ground and remember to request a left downwind departure. He hates Republic airport, thinks it is the worst tower. My first take off is a soft field take off with climbing over an obstacle. Tower says line up and wait. I’m holding the yoke back and waiting. Waiting. The traffic has already taken off again. Why are we waiting? He’s frustrated with the tower. Finally cleared to take off. Soft field pretty good. When I took the flaps out he just suggested I accelerate to 60 knots before so I don’t sink. He said I hit the second giraffe (he flew in Africa and said sometimes there would be giraffes at the end of the runway i.e. dirt road).
The ceiling was lower than forecasted or said in the ATIS. I thought he would discontinue it. He asked what it meant with a southern wind and these low clouds meant. I wasn’t sure, he said that fog and clouds could come in quickly and it is possible to become IMC fast. He still had us go, but asked if I would have still gone to the cross country location alone. I said no, he approved of that decision.
We went to the north practice area. Started tracking the Carmel VOR, it wasn’t picking up that well since we weren’t high enough. He had me switch to the Calverton VOR, I tracked that fine. Whooo! Then moved onto instrument work. Did turns, climbs, descents. Took that off within 0.2. By this point we were at the east end of the south practice area. He has me head towards the shore while he calls up ATC. He had me do a 360 to avoid going into the Charlie. I head east and he wants steep turns. He said I already cleared the area. He wants both sides, doesn’t care what I do first. I do my left side first since I know its my weaker side. Done. Right. Done. They were within standards.
I’m doing something I didn’t do on my pre-solo progress check. I’m taking this ride one thing at a time. Not thinking forward to other moves. Not focusing on pass moves. I know I passed them if he didn’t say I failed. So there’s no need to focus on them. Next is slow flight. He said I already did two 360 turns so no need to clear the area. I get the stall horn sounding. He had me do a 180 turn. I roll out more than 10 degrees past my heading. He seems fine with it and takes the controls and does a crazy side to side with the yoke to show me how mushy the plane is. He says just make the plane do what I want it to do. I already did a 180 turn so go straight into a power off stall. I do it, and it’s good. I maybe push the nose too far forward, but it was fine.
Turn to the east (was facing west) and did a power on stall. My wing drops to the right. I knew it was coming, I could feel the plane being uncoordinated. Fixed it like a boss. He said my engine was on fire and do an emergency descent. After I get down a bit, he says the fire is out but the engine quit. Emergency landing. I pick a parking lot (he prefers the beach – another DPE won’t let you pick the beach so I was used to parking lots. In a real emergency, I’d pick the beach) I get down to 500 feet and execute a go around. We get the ATIS at KISP for wind direction. He picks a water tower and I do turns around a point. I rock them, they are the best turns around a point I’ve ever done. I do lose a bit more altitude than I’m supposed to but he lets me fix it and the second time around it’s steady.
We divert to KISP. We were supposed to go to KBDR, but the weather is too bad. I had never been to KISP. It’s also a Charlie Airspace airport. Exciting! I’m cleared for a straight in. He insists on talking to tower so they know it’s him in the airplane. He said he purposely did it so I have straight in since it’s harder. I’m used to weird patterns at KFRG so it’s a non issue. I’m a bit high, so I did a slip to land. Rock it! I’m normally a bit uncomfortable with them, but not today.
Regular landing first. Winds are straight down the runway. Great landing! Next one, short field with an obstacle at the front of the runway. I have to be at 160 feet at the chevrons and have to stop before the taxiway. I’m a bit high, he changes it to soft field. I slip again for funsies. I’m at 160 ft at the chevrons, he says do short field. I do it. Yay! We take off and go back to KFRG. One more landing to do.
I get a left base for runway 19. Then have to change into the downwind because of a North American plane on a straight in. I turn back, the controller also has a Piper turn base not too far behind me while I’m also on base. He’s pretty close, the DPE said let the controller worry about it. Soft field landing. I’m weaker on these. He’s also based out of Bayport which is a grass field so does them all the time. Probably one of my best soft field landings with a crosswind. I’m a bit right of the center line, but it was straight and soft. The controller asks if I can get off at Delta, I tell him I can’t. He has me get off at runway 14, which was a bit of a stretch. The DPE helped me. I didn’t think I was going dangerously fast. He says never let me be pressured to do something dangerous by controllers, if the other guy has to go around, no big deal.
I taxi back. Call for fuel. Stop the plane. He says he has one more question for me: how does it feel to be a private pilot? Yay!!!! Big smile on my face! We’re getting out to push the plane back. I’m waiting for him to get ready, the fuel truck pulls up, my CFI pulls up. In the car, he gives me the thumbs up and a questioning look. I give up a thumbs up and a smile back. He smiles and parks next to the plane. I look over at the fuel truck and it’s Winston. He gives me a shrug and questioning look. I give him the thumbs up as well. He gives me a double thumbs up and a celebration seat dance. I laugh and am so happy!
My CFI comes over and gives me a hug and we push the plane back. When Winston comes over he gives me a hug as well. I’m so excited! I did it after all this work and frustrations! We go back to the office and I get my temporary certificate. My DPE graduated from art school and did amazing calligraphy in my logbook. Now, I have a super special logbook that is pink and has calligraphy in it!
I can’t wait to take my first person flying. Hopefully, Jake and I will go next week!