VaibhaV Sharma

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Tag: private pilot

The Private Pilot Checkride

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Before I forget the details, I have to put this on record.

My Private Pilot certificate checkride happened on November 2nd 2007 and this is a brief description of my experience.

Needless to say, there is a tremendous amount of effort required to get through the training. From my perspective, I had three major stages in the training. The first solo flight, the knowledge test (during the time you are busy doing the cross country and night flights) and all of that leads you to the final checkride. It took me one year and 2 weeks to do all that.
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I’m a Pilot!

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As of 11/02/2007 1.45pm, I have a FAA Private Pilot Single Engine Land certificate or most commonly known as a Private Pilot License (in India).

It took me rest of the day on Friday and this morning to catch up with what had just happened. After the Checkride, I was driving back home and my head just went quiet as if a hammer hit me. Met Tom this morning and he said something that I am still trying to absorb – “Do you realize you can now fly to *anywhere*? That means *anywhere*! To the beach, to Seattle, even to California, whenever you want to“. I was so involved with the training and enjoying it that I had not given any thought to what all I could do once I had the certificate. It is still a bit hazy.

I can fly any single engine land airplane which has a 200BHP or less engine and which does not have a retractable landing gear. Once the rest of the paperwork is complete, we might fly down to Siletz bay tomorrow. The beach is walking distance from the airport.

The checkride was an interesting experience. More on that later.

Night Flight and the surprise landing at PDX International

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The night flight was awesome!

Made my flight plans and reached the airport at 7.30 pm. Tom was already there. Plan was to do 10 stop and gos and a total of 3 hour in-flight time to meet the license requirements.

I filed the flight plan, did the pre-flight checks with a red flash light. That takes a few minutes to get used to. Because Pooja was with us, Tom and me had to do 3 touch and Gos for him to be night-current before she could hop in the airplane. That was an interesting experience. Wind was pretty strong, kind of a crosswind blowing at 14kn. I did the runup and taxied short of runway 30. Tom took over from there, did 3 touch and Gos and then I took the controls back to taxi back to parking.
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FAA Knowledge Test and Dreams about the future

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My FAA knowledge test finally happened, but not without some effort.

Studied like crazy, gave lots of sample tests (scores 85% – 94%) and was trying to push towards 95% or more. This is probably the first time in my life that I was trying to push scores rather than just trying to pass (70% required in this case). 🙂 So I reached the airport at 9am, prepared, but could not give the test because I did not have my passport with me. Had to reschedule for 1pm which gave me a chance to polish a few topics a bit more.

Took the test at 1pm and scored 93%. PASS! I was happy but not too much. I came 3% short of my goal.

Anyways, the creepy part is that this is the third time something has happened in the past few months. Pooja talks in her sleep sometimes and at first I used to ignore but lately, I started talking back to her and she responds to my questions! It was kinda fun to start with until what she said started coming true months later in the future.

First was about her previous employer going belly up (with approximate dates). I told her when she woke up and we laughed about it and then it happened. Then a second incident at home and now about my knowledge test. She was alseep and talking about some weekend in October about us flying down to Crater Lake now that I had my Private Pilot License and I asked her how much did I score in the knowledge test and she said “93%!!”.

Ofcourse she said a few other things which did not come true but then who knows, its too early to say. 😉

Anyways, I am kind of happy with the test result. I feel much better, more confident and geared up to prepare for my final checkride for the private pilot certificate.

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