Stage I Check Ride(s)

If you’ve worked on getting your private pilot license, you know all about those check rides. Well, I had one – two, actually. Stage I check rides.

I had soloed, and the next lesson was to be a stage check with another instructor. Choosing Dave Willig – another seasoned pilot – I took to the skies. Nervous. Me. Very nervous. I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t know Dave at all, because it was a check ride, or because the winds were a bit squirrelly, but I was a bit out of sorts. Take offs are always good with me, but having Dave correct my radio announcements (his methods were different than my instructor’s) made me even more skittish. Yes. Me skittish.

Up in the sky and going through maneuvers. Power on and power off stalls. As many times as I went through them in my head and wrote down the procedure, as soon as we got up there I needed reminders. Not going well.

Then, as the wind was blowing us around, and it was time to do steep turns, I got extremely dizzy and even more out of sorts. This check ride was NOT going well. I let Dave know that I wasn’t feeling well, and asked if we could head back to the airport, and finish the second half of the check ride in another lesson.

Heading back to the airport, there’s a strong crosswind and I’m feeling incompetent and miserably nauseated. Great. Brought the plane in, but just felt like crap about the entire check. So … it’s back to Steve for another lesson before I do another check ride. Up and out in the practice area doing stalls, and then lots of landings. Feeling better about everything. Much better.

Scheduled another check ride with Dave and then took the time to find and review power-on and power-off stall videos on YouTube. Found the perfect videos and watched them over and over and over again. Thanks, I needed that! I went through those maneuvers in my sleep too – like an athlete. When I felt it in my imagination, I knew I had them down.

The next check ride with Dave went perfectly, and I felt comfortable throughout the maneuvers as well as the takeoffs and landings. It’s going to take a lot of visualizations throughout the rest of my training to get me through these stage checks. But they work. Thanks to ExpertVillage for hosting those videos! Huge help.

Stage II, here I come!

Happy landings!

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