Monday, June 18, 2007

Cleared for Stage 3!

I'm now officially cleared for my Stage 3 Check! Which basically means that I can now schedule my stage 3 checkride... which is the last thing that I need to do before the real checkride (well, besides a mountain of paperwork!).

The funny thing is that I'm suddenly hesitant to schedule this! It's a crazy busy week at work... so I know I don't want to put the Stage 3 Check in the middle of all this. I think I'm going to see if I can schedule it for Friday afternoon. I have a lesson scheduled for Thursday night, too. I don't really need it, but I think I'll still use it.

The review went pretty well. I had no problems with stalls or slow flight. I did my steep turns within PTS, but they weren't my best ever, so repeated them just to get them perfect. Then came engine outs. I hate engine outs. For those not familar with flight training, in a simulated engine out, the instructor pulls the throttle to idle and tells you your engine died. You start through a memorized set of procedures-- (A-Airspeed) pitch for the best glide airspeed, (B-Best Field) look for the best place to land, (C-CheckList) go through the memorized checklist items to try and restart the engine and back it up with the actual checklis, (D-Declare Emergency) make your mayday call, (E- Emergency Squawk) set your transponder code to the emergency squawk, and (F-Forced Landing) execute the steps for a forced landing- fuel away from the engine, power off, doors unlatched, seatbelts, etc.

I don't mind the checklist--and I know how to do all of it just fine... I just can never decide on the best field to target for landing. So we did about 5 or 6 of them. I finally got a little better picking a field. I also managed to finally get myself to fly a big enough circle over the field that I was in the right place to do my "pattern" approach to the landing. Whew. Lots of work.

My shorts and softs were sort of ok. Right before we left the flight school to fly, another instructor came up and asked who had been flying our plane before us. We told him Husband was. He said, "Oh, well he really scared the snot out of me. I was sitting waiting to take off, and he came in so close to the end of the runway, I thought he was going to touch down no just before the runway, but before the little concrete pad at the end of the runway." M and I just looked at each other and smiled. What he didn't know is that M was in the plane at the time, and had been working on Husband trying to get him comfortable with coming in so short over the grass! I guess they succeeded! So, of course, this came back to me right as I came in for my first shortfield landing. I was lined up perfectly... and on a good glideslope and everything... and then, right at the last minute, I thought of that story and it was just enough to fluster me. It all fell apart. I could have still landed, but I knew it wouldn't at all be where I wanted it, and it wouldn't be at all pretty... so I decided to just go around. I hope I don't do that on the checkride!

Husband was also cleared for his Stage 3 Check at the same time! But he's just figured out that he may be short on his solo x-c time... so we have to figure out if he needs to do another to finish out his time. He's pretty bummed. So am I. I wanted him to go first so I could learn from his experience!

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