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Flight Lesson #49 – Checkride Prep with Dave

So, we are now on the final part of my flight training. I have about an hour of instrument training to do and about 3-5 night landings and then I satisfy all requirements. I showed up with a flight plan ready. Dave asks me to go into the backroom so we can review the chart and places of particular interest with regards to what I will be doing. He asks, “What is a MOA? What is a TRSA? Point out Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo airspace”. We talked about the easiest way to plan a flight to Savannah: Direct to KGVL (Gainesville), direct to KSAV. We talked all about Dalton and Collegedale. I raised my concerns about the Charlie space at Chattanooga … all sorts of boring stuff.

So we are ready to go. “Do you need me to fill out a flight plan?”
“Do you need me to call a weather briefer?”

Definitely the anti-Keaton.

So we jump in the plane and depart runway 27. The GPS is struggling to get a lock. JUST GREAT! We reset it several times through the day and never got a lock once. Once we clear the airport area, Dave has me put the hood one. I did excellent. I never broke altitude once and held heading within tolerance. UGH! Why couldn’t I do this before. Once we get north of Calhoun, Dave has me remove the hood so I can familiarize myself with the terrain. There is an obvious zone of mountains to the east and a ridge line to the north. We continue on, blind without GPS and VOR I might add, looking for this tiny runway. After looking for a bit, we finally find it wedged between trees. We descended and landed. Dave showed me around at the airport, where my examiner is stationed, and talked to some of the local Tennessee folk. They put the rural in rural Tennessee for sure, and we are only 5 miles away from Chattanooga. We jump back in the plane and depart for Dalton (KDNN).

Turbulence is really bad here. We are at very low altitude and are getting slammed around. Runway 21 was the active here.

Dave has me perform a short field landing. I get down just fine and turn off the runway. “You didn’t come over the obstacle.”
“There’s a 50 foot obstacle in front of the runway for PTS?”
“I have never heard that”
“Do it again”

Dave has me perform a short field departure. I do it just fine. We come back around. I come in too steep and have to level off my descent a bit. A note, Dalton has an 800 foot pattern instead of a standard 1000 foot pattern. This screws everything up. So I come over the threshold at 100 AGL over the ground. “Throttle out now!”
I yank the throttle. The plane starts heading right for the ground. I am not comfortable nosing over to pick up airspeed so I start my round-out early. The plane literally PLOPS onto the ground.

“Soft field departure”

So I depart and hold the nosewheel up. I pull up at the proper time, sit level, and then climb out. “You didn’t pick up enough speed”
“I waited until Vx”
“It has nothing to do with Vx”

That makes no sense. I thought you were suppose to wait until Vx to break out of ground effect. Apparently not. Soft field landing.

So I approach a little slow and land with the nosewheel up. I hold her up as long as possible with throttle in. “Take the throttle out”
“Keaton says never touch it”
So I pull the throttle out. The nosewheel comes down. I use some brakes and turn off the taxiway.
“You used brakes”
“Yeah to slow up so I can get off the runway”
“You can’t use brakes, you must hold the nose up and slow down with drag even if you have to go to the end of the runway”
“Keaton just tells me to leave the throttle in”

There goes another difference. So we depart to the north to work on turns around a point. They aren’t too good. Passable? Maybe. I started squeezing into the point over the exercise. We then go for engine out procedures. They go fine. I pick a spot Dave isn’t too comfortable with. It is right in front of me so I tell him I have it and I am going to bring the plane around.
“OH REALLY? Keep descending”
So I whip the plane around. I then turn final. The plane is maybe 50 feet off the ground. “I got it”
Dave looks at me like I am crazy.
“Full throttle. Get out of here”
I swear I would have had it.

So he puts me under the hood. “Take me to Choo-Choo VOR.”
I dial in the VOR I see “FROM 270″, so I place the plane on a heading of “090″.
“Got it”
“You should have turned to zero-niner-zero”
“What does it matter? I took the reciprocal and went”
“It doesn’t really”

So he then takes the flight controls and tells me to close my eyes and put my head down. He then begins to violently whip, climb, nose over, and every other thing you can do to a plane and tells me to recover. I open my eyes. The plane is plummeting to the ground with a 60 degree bank in. I do the complete wrong order. I stop the descent, level out, and continue. “You need to review unusual attitude. I needs to be throttle, level, nose”
“Oh. Keaton never taught me that … or I forgot”
Another strike. Oh another plus … it is very turbulent, Dave just shook me like a mixed drink, and now I want to throw up.

We then decide to go home. Still no GPS. We follow highway 441 south towards Kennesaw mountain. As we near the state border, Dave has me perform a right-side steep turn. I do it perfectly. Yay … for being almost a month rusty on those … I still got it! I guess that Lake Allatoona is roughly 10 miles north of McCollum and call Tower.

“McCollum Tower, Cessna November-2-4-8-8-4, 10 north, just south of the lake, at 3500, inbound for landing with Delta”
“2-4-8-8-4, say your location again”

It is my favorite chick controller and she definitely is sick with a nasty flu. She sounds awful … oh well.

“2-4-8-8-4, enter right-downwind for 2-7, report in mid-field”
“Right-downwind for 2-7, report in at mid-field, 2-4-8-8-4″

So we continue on. Tower calls back, “2-4-8-8-4″
“2-4-8-8-8-4, traffic up ahead, 2 miles south, inbound as well, ultra-light”
“Roger, we’re looking for the traffic, 2-4-8-8-4″

Oh great! We are looking for an ant in the sky. Tower continues to bother us with traffic reports about this pip squeak flying in the pattern.

“McCollum Tower, 2-4-8-8-4 is reporting in right-downwind mid-field for 2-7″
“Roger, 2-4-8-8-4, clear to land on 2-7, number 2 behind the ultra-light, report traffic in sight”

I spot the ultra light before Dave does turning base :) .
“Clear to land on 2-7, number 2 behind the ultra-light, and we have the traffic in sight”

I touch down without an issue and we park the plane and call it a day. We review some of the mistakes I had. Dave says I am ready to pass the checkride, but just need to review these few things.

I fly with Keaton tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday to close up the rest of my requirements and to review my mishaps.

The BEST holidays

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