Whew. It's been a really long time since I blogged. I can tell because I'd never accessed my blog from the computer I'm using now! I have flown somewhat regularly since I last blogged... but lots has been going on in my life outside of flying.
In January, I left the company I'd worked with for over 5 years-- which of course brought with it all sorts of emotions. In the end, I'm happy to have left-- and am close to lining up (I hope!) some new work. Hopefully I'm not jinxing myself with that cryptic comment! So over the past few weeks, I've had a little time to do some fun things-- like a quick trip down in the plane to NC to see Mom and attend a UNC/Duke women's basketball game (awesome!). I used that trip to get the last couple of solo night hours that I needed for my commercial rating. I was worried that I might be nervous about the 2 hours by myself in the dark, but it was actually pretty fun. It was a beautiful night, and once I passed over the front line in central VA, the winds became more favorable and I zipped on down to Chapel Hill. Mom, Dad, and I had fun tromping around UNC, and then Mom and I screamed our best for the Tarheels during the game-- which was at the famous Dean Dome. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had an uneventful trip back-- that included a few minutes of actual instrument before I broke through to a pretty blue sky. The only fly in the ointment is that the XM radio is not working right in the plane. It is definitely getting the signal and the information (I can even see on the screen what song is playing), but no sound. If anyone has any ideas as to what it could be, let me know!
I also took a trip to Texas to see my childhood best friends and my brother and his family. It was pretty cool to just take off during the week for something fun like that! I met up with 3 of my closest friends (see picture below) for some good Mexican food (yummy!). There are advantages to being older-- one of which is that we can enjoy a few margaritas along with our traditional fajitas! I can't even begin to think how many fajitas we've shared together over a lifetime of memories! It was fun to hang out with Brother and his family. They have three kids (#4 is on the way!) who are just too cute. I had a great time coloring, making cookies, watching movies, and generally being "Aunt Head in the Clouds"! Of course, my trip coincided with an ice storm in Texas and one in the northeast, so I also got to experience the joys of delayed commercial flights!
Speaking of commercial flights, I am scheduled to take my commercial checkride on Monday! Hopefully the weather and the airplanes will cooperate with this plan. Oh-- and I still have to finish the stage check needed to take the checkride. I've done the basic oral and the basic commercial maneuvers-- but got winded out before we could do the complex oral and flying (i.e. complex time in the Piper Arrow that I fly). I'm scheduled to do both of those tomorrow, and I'm hoping things go better with those than they did on Wednesday when I did the first half. For whatever reason, I found myself completely unable to think clearly or communicate well during the oral portion of my stage check with the head of my flight school. He asked questions that I definitely know the answer to, and I would either 1) not be able to understand (at all) the question that he was asking, or 2) my mind would go completely blank. It was humiliating-- especially because I know better! After going back over things in my head, I think I just got a bad case of nerves. I screwed up in my flight planning and didn't have the correct charts at home the night before. So I had to scramble that morning to finish out the planning. I never did feel together and prepared, and it showed.
Luckily, I pulled things together when we got in the plane and was able to fly pretty well. I stumbled a bit on the cross country navigation (it's been a while since I've navigated purely by visual waypoints with the timer, etc.!), though I managed to pull things back together. My weakest maneuver (no surprise here) was the lazy 8s... but I did *ok* on them. Several of my other maneuvers were spot on-- and I felt pretty good about the ride overall.