My final preparations at the school have taken place prior to my check-ride. (It would be inaccurate to say it was my final preparation as there will be ongoing studying throughout the week).
Saturday I went out to the school to get in some pattern work and brush up my short field landings as well as soft field take offs. I was a little nervous about practicing soft field take offs on my own because it involves pushing the yoke forward to level off just after lifting off to stay in ground effect. I don’t know why my brain still doesn’t completely trust that the plane will stay in the air just above the ground and won’t drop back down, but with more time and practice my brain will come around to it.
Here is the “Reader’s Digest” (short version for those not old enough to remember the Reader’s Digest) version of my flying. The winds were constantly changing. In just over an hour of flying I think I heard the tower give updated winds 5 times over the radio. The winds were everything from calm, to 240° at 4 knots, to 270° at 10 knots (almost right down runway 26L), 290° at 7 knots, and then back the other direction again.
I made 11 trips around the pattern performing touch-n-go’s with the exception of one full stop and taxi back on the fifth landing to get a quick drink out of a water bottle and a short few minute break. Four of the take-offs were soft field and they were all good. I was able to level it off still in ground effect and accelerate before climbing out and removing flaps. I was trying to do all short field landings and aiming for the numbers each time. Of the 11, two of them floated about 100′ further than the 200′ limit that the standards called for, six of them were within the 200′ limit, and three of them were right on the numbers. The best landing of the day was my last landing, I think because I was more focused on it than the others. I told myself as I was turning base “This is it, your last chance, make it perfect.” I had all my numbers right, speed, descent rate, and set it down right on the numbers nice and soft, it was a great landing to finish on.
Sunday I was back at the airport but there wouldn’t be any flying. We spent three hours going through the ACS (Airman Certifications Standards) making sure I knew everything in there for the oral portion of the check-ride. There are a few things to brush up on and I’ll have some 3×5 cards with notes on them in my pocket during the week to review, but I feel pretty good about it.
My CFI said that he wished we had more time to fly again before the check ride. I asked him if there was anything wrong with my maneuvers when we flew last and he said no, he just always likes to have a 1-2 days before the check ride. I told him that I went over two months between flying maneuvers and was fine when we flew them again, and that flight came after not flying at all for two weeks. I think my maneuvers are going to be just fine. I also thought my landings were good the day before so I’m not really worried about those either.
Me: “You really are nervous?”
CFI: “I’m just always nervous for my students, I’ve had a 100% success rate.”
Me: “Oh, well no pressure on me then, I don’t want to ruin your perfect record…”
CFI: “You won’t, you’re ready.”
I have two CFI’s that think I’m ready, I think I’m ready, we’ll find out on the 15th if all of us are right, or all of us are wrong.