Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The most nervous I have ever been was when I took my private pilot check ride. It had practiced and practiced  and studied like I was on a mission. Then the day arrived. Nervous is not the word to describe it. It was a very cloudy day but still VFR and I had to meet the DPE at 10:00. I went to the airport and did a preflight check on the Cessna 172 I was renting from the local FBO. I got in the plane and took off for a 40 minute flight to meet the DPE. It was a smooth fight there on a very calm day. I landed and got out of the plane, grabbed my stuff and went in to meet the examiner. It was 10:00 right on the dot, no exaggeration. He was nothing like I thought he was going to be. He was a very laid back person who made you feel very relaxed the whole time. This was a relief. We went in the conference room and filled out the paperwork in the Internet and did the oral exam which went fine. I messed up a couple of times but that wasn't a problem. After about an hour or so he said lets go fly. I was still not too nervous so we went to the plane and he said do a soft field takeoff and I did and then I started flying my flight planned route for about 10 minutes and he said were low on fuel divert. I diverted to a small private airport with trees all around it. It was hard to see for me and the DPE. He said do you see it, I said no sir I don't, he said I don't either. Well I finally saw it but it wasn't easy. After that I did slow flight, stalls, steep turns and an emergency landing. The steep turn was done facing at a water tower then started the turn then rolled out facing the tower again. This made it very easy. I was relieved after I did it with no problem. I then put on the foggles and he said put my head down. He took the plane and put it in a near stall and said recover and I did that very sloppy. After that he put it in a dive and said recover and I did that with no problems. He then said to do a couple turns and a constant airspeed descent and I finally got to take off the foggles. He then said to turn right 080 and I did and immediately was lined up with the runway on an extended final. He said straight in approach short field landing. I told him that I usually fly the pattern and he said straight ins are just fine with traffic in the area. Well I landed fairly well and then he said make this one a full stop. I pulled over to the building and stopped and he turned to me and said congratulations, you're a private pilot. I tried to act normal and not too excited but I it was hard. I was relieved. We went in and finished up the paperwork and he said, are you hungry?, I said I'm starving. He then drove us to a small restaurant and we ate a hamburger. After the burger we went back to the airport and I flew back home. I have to admit that it was a lot less stressfull than I ever imagined. I'm sure some DPE's are different than others, but it was a very thorough exam. I didn't do everything perfect but it was good enough to prove to him I was a safe pilot. I think to any examiner, this is the primary concern. If anyone has a private pilot check ride story to tell please leave a post. 

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