Sunday, November 06, 2005


Flying Lesson #65: Final Stage Check

Today was the "last lesson": a stage check with the chief flight instructor to determine whether I've learned everything I need to pass the FAA practical test. It is structured the same way as a real checkride—there was an oral exam covering all the areas of aviation knowledge, and then a flight portion covering all the required maneuvers and procedures.

Things started with a thud when the chief flight instructor asked me if I'd finished planning the cross-country flight. "What cross-country flight?" I asked. He'd left a message on my answering machine yesterday, but I never got it, so I didn't know I was supposed to plan a cross-country flight. He decided to let me go on with the rest of the stage check, and we'll do the cross-country stuff on another day.

The oral exam went pretty well. There were a few questions I missed, so I know what areas I need to study for the real checkride.

The flight portion didn't go as well. There were two or three things I did that would have led to a failure on a real checkride. The perfectionist in me is very disappointed with my performance, but it really wasn't that bad, and the things I did wrong should be easily fixable. I'm going to have a couple of flights with my instructor to practice those things.

On the whole, the chief instructor said it wasn't too bad. If the next few flights go well, I should be able to do the checkride within a couple of weeks. If not, then it will take a little longer, but the end is in sight.

Congratulations. Remember, all of this is so that you become a safe pilot. It isn't a race. Sounds to me like you are making good progress, enjoy the trip.

Hi Kris,

Just want to say good luck to you on your flight test. I look forward to reading about it.

I know how it feels, Kris. I completely botched my first flight test prep a few weeks ago.. Badly enough that I would have blown my checkride as well if it had been real.

Between that, and the weather, things have been a slow go for me recently. Hanging on the edge of a checkride is a bit of a tedious situation, I would think you agree? :-)
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