April’s almost gone.

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And I’m still not a commercial pilot. A bit of a setback– while I passed the oral part of my stage check, missing only a handful of questions, the flight portion didn’t go as well. Mostly because I only had 9 hours in this type of aircraft, and I’d never flown the specific aircraft.

The first part consisted of cross-country testing. I’d planned a cross country, flew it long enough to prove that I can calculate groundspeed and give a time to next checkpoint estimate. Then I’m told to head somewhere else. In this case, my examiner picked a grass strip. While I flew right to it, I couldn’t spot it. I told him that I should be right over it, but couldn’t for the life of me point it out. We were indeed right over it. It looked more like a driveway than a runway. He was happy enough with that, and we arrived over the point within one minute of my estimate.

Then came the maneuvers, which ranged from excellent to mediocre. My lazy eights and stalls were excellent. Steep turns and steep spirals were passing, though not beautiful. I had some trouble maintaining altitude on the entry to slow flight. I didn’t get slow enough on my Chandelles.

Mostly I just felt rusty and uncomfortable. My Eights on Pylons were crap, mostly because I picked points too close together. I also had trouble keeping the plane coordinated, the rudder pedals were all sloppy which just made it hard.

I performed an adequate soft field landing, only I forgot set the prop full forward before landing. After forgetting the same thing during my botched attempt at a short field landing (I turned final too early, wound up too high. Not really sure why…), he decided enough was enough and to head back to Norman.

I feel like I’d probably do fine now that I’ve gotten some flight time. But now I have to wait around for another flight lesson, then another stage check, then a check ride again.

It’s looking like end of July at best before I’m done with everything.

At least it’s not hot here yet. We still haven’t had to turn on the air conditioner. It looks like we’ll have made it through April without it just fine. High today was 72. High tomorrow is 54.

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