A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

I got my pilot’s license

April 16, 2012
Emilie Phillips

I passed the check ride yesterday. The examiner said I did very well.

First there was the oral portion where we discussed a cross country trip I had planned and various FAA rules. There was one item on the chart that he found that I couldn't quite explain. I was apparently answering his questions well enough and fast enough that I eventually stumped him trying to come up with more questions. Then we went out to the airplane to fly. Mostly in self preservation, he asked me to double check I was really confident flying in the winds. I reconsidered the winds and made a judgment call. I wasn't 100% certain in my judgment, which maybe I should have been. So we took off and went flying. Compared to when I have practiced with my instructor, we did everything in really short snippets. On the way outbound we hit "weather" and did some hoodwork and navigation. Then we did landings and pattern work at Fitchburg. There were a couple of people doing some really interesting things in the pattern. The examiner was apparently able to check off a bunch of his items just watching me deal with them. Then we did a little bit of airwork and came home. And that was it.

Of course, leading up to the exam, it did not seem that simple. The day before, my instructor and I had gone out for a last lesson and I had gotten myself all mixed up trying to deal with the tower and traffic at Nashua. I had also demonstrated that I was sorely out of practice dealing with cross winds, and apparently sloppy with my landings at big airports. So after that, I was feeling pretty freaked out. My instructor reassured me about 50 times that I was doing well enough to pass even if it looked like a disaster to me. As one of the disadvantages of being one of the few female pilots around, my examiner had actually heard me at Nashua on Saturday when I was messing up with the tower. When he brought it up Sunday, he thought I had done ok with recovering.

Then the next bump in the road was that my instructor got called to work Sunday, so he was not even around. Sunday morning I got to stare at the wind forecasts all on my own and try to decide if it was reasonable to fly or not. I spent a good while freaking out about that before I decided that the morning looked ok enough.

After the check ride, I took Tyson for a ride as my first passenger. We flew over the neighborhood and then flew over to Jaffrey to visit his parents. By the time we were done visiting the winds I had been worried about in the morning arrived. I decided to leave the airplane there rather than fly home. We picked it up this morning.