New Commercial Pilot
|New Commercial Pilot Haoyuan Wen (right) |
DPE Scott Rohlfing (left)
He did his private training with another CFI that was trained by the same CFI that trained me. He comes from the same aviation "lineage" as I. As a result I found him very easy to fly with and train. On top of that he has a great personality and was just fun to be around. That's always a bonus when you're going to have to spend many, many hours in a close, hot, noisy environment like the cockpit of a small aircraft.
His training was relatively quick. Not as quick as we wanted it to be, it never is, but we met his main goal which was to finish his commercial before his father came home from China. When I put him up for his ride I knew he had the knowledge he needed and could apply it. In spite of the fact that he'd occasionally come up with a new word that didn't exist - words like "decompressurization" passed through his lips the day before his check ride. I knew he could fly very well and do all of the required maneuvers. However, as always, you never know how its going to go.
He finished the oral portion of the ride quickly... in a little over two hours. That was a good sign. Then I was waiting for him to finish the flight portion. That seemed to be taking longer. So I logged into FlightAware to see where the plane was. They were still flying at 3:30 and it looked like they hadn't done any take offs or landings. I went to the terminal building to stay cool and wait. Then I heard them call in to land. That got me worried. They were coming back before doing the take offs and landings! Oh no! I watched Hao land the plane in what looked like a perfect soft field landing. I willed them to taxi back to take off again but instead they taxied back to the flying club. I walked slowly back to the flight club, trying to guess where the flight went wrong and preparing myself to hear the debrief of my candidate and find out what happened. Maybe I'd be able to do a quick "retraining" and sign him off for a retest that day?
I walked into the club and the examiner came in to the building, talking to another pilot he'd trained. I let them finish their conversation and followed him into his office. Then he smiled and shook his head. "Hao did good. He did really good!" I waited for the "but...." There was no "but". Hao passed on his first attempt! I told him how I was watching on FlightAware and was sure something went wrong. He told me to never do that. It wouldn't show you everything that happened so it just makes the waiting worse. I wish I knew that one before hand!
So my first Commercial Pilot Candidate passed on his first attempt. He said when he did his power off 180 the whole time he was just trying to make sure he wouldn't disappoint me and once he landed that maneuver he knew he was good. He made me very proud!
New MistakesI was flying with one of my favorite students today. He owns a very nice Cherokee 180C. He'd been through a host of flight instructors and we'd been working together on and off for almost a year between aircraft maintenance spells. He's on the verge of soloing in his plane and today he told me he wanted to prove that his excellent performance the last time we flew together wasn't a fluke. The last time we flew together he did some great landings unassisted with word or deed from me.
His patterns and checklist usage were getting worse, not better. I offered him the decision to continue or stop. He chose to stop. When we were done flying I shared with him how I spent 20 hours trying to be perfect when my CFI told me I was almost ready to solo and I suggested he don't make the same mistake. I think he "gets it". But I also know how hard it can be to accomplish that. In any case, I am sure he will solo soon. He has the ability.
|Looking out the window of my apartment |
at the smoke from the fires up north.
Instead we flew together and I had him practice lost procedures and VOR triangulation while under the hood. Then I introduced him to an old method to estimate time and distance to a VOR.
We headed back in to land. I got to observe as he flew a beautiful straight in approach. He did all of his checklists, radio work, and managed the approach perfectly. He added flaps one notch at a time in response to his glide slope, then he put in a forward slip to get down. He took out the slip at just the right time and touched down, light on the mains, on the centerline in plenty of time to get off on Charlie. It was wonderful to behold. Wow! I asked him after we cleared the runway if he always landed like that. His grin was huge and priceless.
These moments, a successful check ride, a beautiful landing, or even a tough day when I can offer some advice. These are the moments that make being a CFI the best "job" I've had so far!