Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The flight back was uneventful. Thats the best way. Just me and my little airplane, taking off into the hazy but clear skies. The direct route back from Harnett County, NC took me straight over Raleigh-Durham International. By that point though, I was already at cruising altitude at 5,500 feet, and relaxing.

Once I got back on the ground, it was immediately time to go to work. No chance to take a break. I had 8 messages on the phone, several of which required a return call, and one student already waiting for me. Mike- one of my students- was ready to fly. His checkride for the commercial license is tomorrow, so we wanted to get some last minute practice done. He is mostly accustomed to flying the Diamond, which acts like a glider. Transitioning into a Mooney is made somewhat difficult, not just for the added complexity, but also its brick-like gliding characteristics. Still, he handled it well, so tomorrow's test is still a go, assuming the weather doesn't misbehave. I'm really hoping it works out. This has been a long time coming.

I knew Mike from the school next door, when I worked there. He came over to me not long after I made the transition myself. He thought he was close to the commercial license then, but his knowledge was really weak. Being a commercial pilot is mostly knowledge. The flying part is not difficult. So we spent a long time getting him to the higher knowledge base. The flying had struggles, but nothing serious.

Now, it seems we are so close to having it finished, and we keep meeting with delays. He actually had the oral exam almost 2 weeks ago, but the standard summer thunderstorms rolled in, and he couldn't do the flight. As long as Tropical Storm Cindy doesn't start throwing some of her weather this way in the morning, he can finally finish.

Our prep flight today was nothing difficult. We just went out and did some take-offs and landings. Soft-field, short-field, and my favorite, the simulated engine-failure spot landing. For those not familiar, you chop your own throttle, and glide down toward the runway. Using no power, you have to get the plane to land in a 200-foot long area that you have previously selected. Not difficult if you understand the aerodynamics, but it can take practice. In any of the planes I fly on a regular basis, I can routinely touch down within 20 feet of the spot. His first one was just barely within the zone, almost overshooting. The second was dead on it. So now I'm confident he will be fine. The only thing remaining is to make sure he doesn't stress himself out and make dumb mistakes.

And now, 3 hours after getting back, I finally get a break.

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