Today I passed my Single-Engine Commercial addon checkride! Which basically means I can use the commercial pilot privileges in a single-engine aircraft as well as a multi-engine aircraft now. How’d it go? Well I woke up this morning, looked at the TAF for the time that we had scheduled for my checkride, which was 3pm, and saw that it was forecasting 2,500 broken and winds somewhere around 20+ knots and gusting. Perfect day for a checkride huh? Well, my checkride rolls around and the clouds were 8,000 feet overcast, which was perfect. The winds were 19 knots gusting to 26 knots! Luckily it was straight down the runway. Well, when it wasn’t randomly gusting sideways. I got to say though. When I walked outside and felt how string the winds were, and was watching a little Cessna 152 struggle to keep the blue (or grey) side up on takeoff, I wasn’t worried. I don’t want to say that I have every come to a place where I can’t learn anymore, or become over confident, but it never cross my mind that I couldn’t do this. Anyway, I felt very professional walking out there in the gusting conditions and feeling confident that I could complete the task at hand in a safe manner.
A couple things to let you know how windy it was… When I was taxiing, I had to slow to a crawl on turns, or else the wind would start lifting the plane and skidding it sideways! It was one of those times were your Aileron placement was extremely important to keep from flipping over. After takeoff, my examiner got this idea that I should get the plane as slow as I possibly could into the wind, then look down and see if we are moving over the ground. It was incredible, I got the plane to about 50mph or so, then looked down. It reminded me of when you look out your window and you see that lone bird just fighting the wind and not going anywhere. Just hovering. Well that’s what we were doing. I turned an airplane into a helicopter! Well enough with the playing around, we had maneuvers to accomplish.
The chandelles and lazy eights were not much more difficult with the high winds. As those are not ground reference maneuvers, it doesn’t matter as much what the wind is doing. I felt that it was a little different, but I still think they went really well. The eights on pylons and the steep spiral on the other hand were MUCH more difficult in those high wind gusty conditions! I did them within standards, but they were by far the hardest maneuvers of the day. The short field, soft field, and 180 degree power off landings were a bit less than perfect. I didn’t get the kiss (chirp chirp) that I like to get, but I also didn’t cause back pain either. They were adequate. It’s hard to expect a chirp-chirp landing when you have winds gusting like they were.
Anyway that was pretty much it. Oh yeah, the Oral exam went really well. I felt very prepared and don’t remember a whole lot of questions that I didn’t know the answer to right off the top of my head. It was also a very fast oral, since it was just an addon rating, all that was tested was the performance and systems of the airplane we were flying. And there isn’t a whole lot to a Cessna 172.
Ok, so what’s next. CFI! Starting immediately I will be studying for my FOI (Fundamentals of Instructing) knowledge test and then my CFI-A (Certified Flight Instructor – Airplane) knowledge test. I seriously can’t wait. Now I get to learn all the nitty gritty details about pretty much everything I’ve learned up to this point. I also get to learn about how to instruct and get some skills in that arena. I’m very excited.
I will try and do my best to find things to post about as I study while not making it dry and boring. With my writing skills that’s difficult enough as it is.
Until next time…