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Rumney, United States

The Practical Exam - final exam to become a pilot

As some of you know, I was up in Maine taking my final Practical Test for my sports pilot license. It was over a grueling 2 hours of questions, debriefing, and paperwork, and I think I was happy to be prepared, and that Carroll spent the earlier part of the day drilling and preparing me to make sure I dotted all I’s and crossed all T’s when it came to answers.

Then the examiner came in… quiet spoken, super professional, dressed to the hilt, and was ready to drill… he did state (and I already knew this going into this test) that if I failed unsatisfactorily on even one question that I would get a letter of disapproval and that would be that, until I was proficient to take the test again… but it would be on my record.. gulp… I thought it would be 1 1/2 hours but Carroll said I was tested for over 2 hours it seemed, and asked me what the examiner asked me… everything under the sun! He was very tough on me. Very tough…

If I did not pass the oral, then he would not proceed me to the flight exam and send me home with letter of disapproval… which flight exam part looked hopeless anyway that day (Wednesday) as it rained the entire day! I was hoping it would clear for Thursday.

After all the questions he stood up with a blank expression… and then there was the biggest grin! Shook my hand and said “you passed the oral part!” It was funny as I spotted Carroll outside anxious as a father awaiting a first born…. lol! When he came in we gave him the fantastic news and that fact that I even impressed the examiner with some points most student pilots fail! I was thrilled because those were some of the very points Carroll went over with me just beforehand. He’s a great instructor!

Now flight test… I woke up to see rain… aahhhhh had to stay at a room nearby the airport so I’d be there on time. Saw fog, rain and put on my lucky bracelet to hope things change….. if they didn’t I would get sent home with a letter of discontinuance…. argh…

Well, by the time I met Carroll there at the airport we saw clearings in the sky! The fog was lifting and the rain had stopped! So we got the plane out and warmed it up for then the examiner would arrive at 7am.

The examiner showed up and had me taxi to the very end of the runway to set up. As he got into the plane, he reminded me that if I failed even one maneuver or radio announcement that I would be sent home with letter of disapproval and would have to get more training and later schedule for a re-test and that it would be on my record…. ahhhhh no stresss… right…

Well, we took off and I didn’t hear any screaming so ascended until he asked for maneuvers. He had me first head back to the end of the runway and do a very low fly-by (which I’ve gotten extremely good at! yay!) and then had me head out onto a field for more maneuvers. I remembered to do my checks to see if anyone was coming in or going out and went into a maneuver “turning on a point” difficult to do because you not only turn and keep that “object” you’re turning on over his shoulder exactly, but not gain or lose altitude! …. got that one down and maintained 240ft altitude without wavering a bit!

Then had me line up to some pipes extending in a long line to display S turns.. only expected me to fit in 2… I did, I believe 6, evenly and no altitude change, and he loved it!

Then as I was heading back to the runway I was over several fields. He cut my engine and said “okay you just lost your engine.. now what are you going to do?” I flew the plane regardless and pointed to the field right below us stating that I was going to head into the wind to get a touch of lift for a good landing and flair the chute…

Well he loved the answer and we throttled up again to land in a lovely landing on the runway, but a bit short, due to all the moisture and he almost had me stop there, until I said I’m used to “kiting” (where you hold the chute up on the ground without it tilting out of control … I often see that from pilots) so we kited down the runway to the terminal and then (he didn’t expect me to do this and said so) “turned” which is probably the most difficult thing to do and keep your chute perfectly up… I did it with ease and then we settled in!

He stated with a huge grin I have exemplary skills as a pilot and the best student pilot he’d ever seen!

Happy to say, I am now registered with the FAA as a certified/licensed sports pilot!!!! :-) That means I can now take people up too! :-) Also, my new chute arrived – an American Bald Eagle! Haven’t seen it yet but hopefully putting it on later today or tomorrow…

Thank you for your patience and allowing me to accomplish this feat!

Maxy – call sign of now Eagle1 awarded!

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