Monday, March 1, 2010

Cloud Card !

(Thanks to Phillip R for "cloud card" which I had not heard before...)

I finally got my instrument rating. Whew. It took around 55 hours, 5 months and 14 grand. But it's an accomplishment I'm proud of. It was a long hard road :-) And my aircraft handling skills are much more precise than ever - I'm actually aware of my altitude and heading (instead of my usual VFR "high enough" and "headed toward Homer", lol). I will even subconsciously set up a stabilized descent, imagine that! :-)

After the first ride/failure debacle, I got some more dual and thought about the re-ride a lot. I had really lost my confidence. My instructor said "I know you can do it, we just need to convince YOU". So I flew about 10 more hours, focusing on just what I'd need to do for the ride. I got tired of it and could tell I was over training so I left to go to work for 2 weeks and didn't think about it at all.

When I got back, I rode twice with my instructor just to get my "stick" back and took the ride the next day.

I had really thought a lot about how the first ride went. I DID blow it, but the DPE stressed me, I was under a lot of self induced pressure to make it and not fully confident. I decided to just ignore him and fly the ride. Try to enjoy it and know that it's NOT the end of the world to blow it again, but there will be another opportunity to finish up elsewhere. And, like my instructor kept telling me to do, I brought my "A" game.

I didn't firm up the backup plan - I wanted to go in confident and not have planned to fail. I think generally it involved somewhere sunny, warm and a young nymphomaniac instructor but it never came to THAT, darn :-)

The ride was almost perfect, in fact it went better than any of my training rides. The only thing I did was blow the timing in a hold a little, but when I realized I didn't know how long it had been (accidentally reset the timer) I just turned back, so maybe it was a short leg or maybe it was long or whatever... not by much so it was fine. And he did take it fairly easy on me - he invented a hold which threw me for a minute, but I had a lot of time to figure it out on the way to the fix and it was on the radial we were already using to get to the fix so no big deal. He didn't make me enter the hold partial panel, and let me get headed outbound to intercept before he failed the instruments for the partial panel VOR approach. The circle to land missed went fine too - just a go around basically, and full panel... I think. The ILS was no sweat - I'm very good at them. My instructor says I am "one with the localizer and the glideslope, too." lol

Of course after the ride he cited my landing "Three feet left of the centerline" and my casual attitude towards communication with ATC as further evidence of my lack of professionalism. Got that last dig in AGAIN! You know what? I DO talk to ATC casually. I try to be brief, but sometimes I read back slow (which I think is my only fault) and sometimes I start out with "Hey Anchorage, 022, can I.." and I almost always thank them. And I'm not going to stop. I think the conversation he really didn't like was this one:

"Anchorage, 022, Sorry but I spaced out - will you repeat my entire... uh, clearance?"
"Maintain VFR"
"At what altitude?"
"And what heading?"
"OK, VFR, 2000, 150, thanks man, 022"
"No problem" :-)

It's funny I guess, how there has to be something negative to say. OK, you're Hotel fuckin' Sierra, I get it. I tremble in the aura of your superior airmanship. But I just internally rolled my eyes and thought "Sign my ticket dipshit and we can part ways for all eternity, thank God".... because I had decided he could start spouting Sanskrit for all I cared and I was not going to let him get to me again, lol

But, but you know what? I thought about it later... I can land a taildragger on a sloped, curved beach while dodging obstacles or a C180 with big tires on pavement in a crosswind... So I think I can put it where I want when I need to. And, chasing the centerline on pavement in a taildragger is just plain stupid and I am not in the habit. So do not denigrate my airplane handling skills. He can bitch about the centerline on my ATP ride... except he will NOT be there, lol.

OK. Deep breath. All better now :-)

I'm glad it's over. Now for the next steps...


  1. Congrats! I loved the final few sentences, it very nicely captures everyone's state of mind in similar situations: whatever you say, I'll just stay there and nod and even possibly smile, because it'll soon be over and there'll be your signature on that line and a tick in that box and that's all that matters to me right now.

  2. Congratulations! Good thing you passed this time because with your luck that young nympho flight instructor would have been named Steven. He'd have sure liked you though...

  3. Actually Tyson, I looked up 'nymphomaniac' to confirm that 'female' would be redundant. I guess it's only unusual in females.

  4. What a fantastic accomplishment. You should be very proud Dave. I hope to be there someday soon myself.

  5. Congratulations(3 years later) on the check ride! You should be proud, regardless. I took my instrument check ride back in 2008, and my GPS failed immediately upon climb-out. By some miracle I was able to re-program it successfully, and continue on my way. I think I was shaking the entire time! I will never forget the feeling, while doing the missed out of CMH, when I heard those words-"Congratulations, you passed your checkride. Let's go home so I can smoke!"