For at least a few minutes, I was the newest Private Pilot in the State of Florida,
1st Flight Lesson: 28JAN2012
1st Solo Flight: 19APR2012
Checkride passed: 20MAY2014
Total Hours: 62.2
Total Cost: One day I’ll go back and tally it up, promise. No really.
I arrived at Page Field Airport (KFMY) this morning and did my preflight, and found myself procrastinating by cleaning the windshield, (I mean, hey, you have to be able to see, right?) After several scheduling conflicts with my local DPE my CFI and I decided to go with one at Punta Gorda Airport (KPGD). Right before I started the engine I noticed a red light on my battery pack for my ANR headset, and of course, that was the spare that I hadn’t replaced in my bag yet. Needless to say that flight was a little louder than normal.
Flying to get to my checkride was actually a good thing. It got me in the right mindset early on and let me do a touch and go. I did a short-soft field landing and it was my best landing of the day, sadly no one was there to see, but it made me feel pretty good.
Taxi to the FBO and shortly begin the oral portion.
Make sure your endorsements say the right things. We spent a few a minutes decoding one endorsement that included both the “Ready for Practical Test” and “I went over the questions you got wrong on the written test”. I used a checklist the night before (may I recommend two nights before) to make sure I had everything for checkride day. Random Checklist found online pages 1-5
After that and the paperwork the questions began, my examiner talked fast, and luckily I answered fast. Reading of other pilot’s checkrides on Reddit/r/flying helped, and honestly I don’t think there wasn’t anything that wasn’t covered before by fellow Redditors, does that mean I did perfectly, far from it. Watching this video by DPE Andy Munnis really helped me with my nerves, and focus the areas of study for me.
My ground testing went about how I expected, but I was pretty frazzled by the time I heard the words “Let’s go Flying” Super relieved, I started doing my preflight and he joined me by the time I reached my first fuel sump. He asked which antennas did what, what were the three lead bars in the aileron for (counter-weight was the word he was looking for.) What the grill in the front was (air intake) how many static ports I had (two).
Inside the plane, I just continued my preflight like normal (I have always verbalized everything) He said consider me briefed but I’ll control my door.
Taxi clearance to the runway, clearance for takeoff, soft field landing, and we intercept the VOR for my first checkpoint. Once I was tracking that one, he asked how I would go to another VOR (put it in the NAV and move the dial to from and center) did another one. Moved into Steep Turns, Slow Flight, Stalls, Turns About a Point, Foggles Work, Airport Diversion (he allowed, even encouraged me to use the GPS on this one) S- turns and then back to Punta Gorda for landings. Soft Field, Extended downwind, Short field with an obstacle, and for the last one he pulled the power on me abeam the numbers and made a great (although a bit longer than I would have liked) landing. He said Taxi back to the FBO. (I’m pretty sure I missed something from the flight portion but this is all my brain is allowing me to remember at the moment) As soon as my Engine was shutdown he said the magical words I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear: “Ok you passed”. He gave me some tips about safe flying in the future, (He actually gave tips throughout the day) and said follow me in to sign the paperwork.
The icing on the cake was when I was departing the field, ATC asked me how it went, and I actually said, “You’re talking to the newest pilot in Florida” He said Congrats. After that, I was homeward bound as a Private Pilot.