Ok here is a synopsis of my PP-ASEL rating.
For those of you who don't already know, I am currently attending K-State Salina's school of Aviation and Technology and majoring in Aeronautical Technology (a fancy way of saying that I'm going to school to be a pilot) and minoring in Business. Anywho, I have recently just passed a rather large check point in my schooling/training. I have just completed my Private Pilot Airplane Single Engine rating.
My training and entrance into "the actual college experience" has been, to say the least, amazing, formidably challenging, and extreme. K-State Salina is a wonderful college with the benefit of a smaller campus feel, and what's more, it has a great program for it's Aviation Students and the program is growing and bettering itself every day. The staff here are always helpful and eager to see their students succeed.
Now I know I sound like I'm typing a PR article for a K-State Salina magazine, but I honestly do mean what I am saying. Now that is not to say that this program is PERFECT; there ARE some areas that have been...frustrating at times, but overall K-State Salina has proven to be a great school and program so far.
Just some general notes for anyone who might be interested. K-State Salina is a Part 141 Pilot School (don't be lazy, look it up in your CURRENT FAR/AIM). Our fleet consists of twenty C172s, six Bonanzas, two Barons, two ASK-21 gliders, one helicopter, and one King Air C-90.
Anyway, the training to my that led up to my rating consisted of somewhere around 30ish lessons that included 3 different progress checks by advanced CFIs. And let me just say, YES class and homework up here ROCK.
Ok, ok, so I'm sure you are all probably all wondering about how the checkride went so here's a short summary of it.
Obtaining a checkride was probably the most difficult part of the whole program. The semester ended up ending before I could quite finish up my rating, so after Christmas I called our Chief Pilot who is also our Designated Pilot Examiner and scheduled a check ride for the week following Christmas. He gave me his weight and the weight of the baggage we would be taking, and told me what destination he wanted me to plan for and I planned out and reviewed for what I was hoping was going to be the perfect cross country.
However, the DAY before my checkride was to happen, Bill (the checker) called me up and said, "I'm sorry to have to do this to you but, I have to hand your checkride over to a FAA inspector who is currently examining our school, so please scrap the cross country I gave you and plan two new Cross Countries. One will be planned for during the day and the other will be into Class B airspace at night, but you will only actually be flying the day time CX."
What I actually said, "Okie Dokie, sounds great!"
My thoughts after he hung up? "Oh S***"
Anyway, I showed up the next day, and walked into the room where the FAA examiner sat with a deceptive smile on his face. Invited me to sit across the table from him, and then began to review my logbook, syllabus, and other required documents for a part 141 checkride. While he was doing so he tried to make small talk in what I'm guessing was an effort to calm me down. It didn't work. I shook like a leaf the whole time. Well as he was reviewing my syllabus he noticed that my 3rd Progress Checker had forgotten to initial the bottom of my Progress Check sheet. So he went to talk to our chief flight instructor for what felt like half an hour. Then when he came back he informed me that we would not be able to take the Checkride that day until he could contact and get the INITIALS of my progress checker on that sheet. I was just a LITTLE disappointed and frustrated on the drive back home..."
Well, all in all, it took TWO WEEKS to reschedule that dang check ride, but I finally was able to call the inspector back in and take the checkride this last Wednesday. This time, I was still nervous, but no where near where I was the first time. I went in sat down and aced the oral. He never asked me a question that I was unable to answer or that I got wrong.
The flight pretty much followed suit. With the only areas in need of improvement being my use of trim, better clearing turns, and the fact that I need to be more vocal about what I am doing and actually say the checklists OUTLOUD rather than just doing them.
Well, that's the short and sweet of it! I will be staring my instrument rating on Monday! Wish me Luck!
Oh, and by the way, I owe at least half of my gratitude to all of you glider folk. You guys provided the base for me to spring off. You all also planted the seed and cultivated my love of aviation. Without you guys, especially all of the volunteer CFI-Gs, I would NOT be where I am today. Thank you guys, I will never forget where I started.
My instructor Chris Rogers and me.
Just K-State 29 and myself.