Decisions.

It’s been two months since I’ve written in this blog, mostly because I have been concentrating on wrapping up this whole student pilot experience and working on my ticket. A couple of weeks ago I met with the examiner for the oral part of my exam; we were too close to civil twilight to fit the actual checkride in. I did well on the oral and the examiner was complimentary.

Today I was suppose to take my checkride. I’ve been obsessing about this for a while, mostly because I have high expectations for my performance and I didn’t want to louse this up. I know I can get my ticket, but I want to have fun while I’m doing it.

I arrived at the airport 90 minutes before the exam time; did a thorough pre-flight and even went up for a turn in the pattern to get a feel for how the weather was doing. It appeared to be a great day; it was cold at 26ºF and AWOS showed the wind coming from 110º at 12 kts; runway 15 was in use at our airport. Not too bad of a crosswind, so I went up and flew the pattern.

The winds were a little more burbly than I expected. Gusts were up to 18 kts when I landed. I put it on my target spot, but it was squirrely getting to it. I actually touched down just to the right of the center line with a touch of side load from dancing on the rudders on the way down. The Cherokee was forgiving; the sideload really wasn’t much at all, but it didn’t meet my personal standards.

I taxied back to the hangar and met with the examiner. The wind was picking up as we spoke and I decided to call off the checkride. I could have handled it, but the extra amount of work necessary to do what I needed to do in the air, coupled with the stress I was feeling because of my checkride, was pushing me outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been stressed on a flight before and because I wasn’t enjoying myself, I made dumb mistakes. I promised myself I wasn’t going to go down that road again.

So I’m sitting on the ground typing a blog entry.

We have some hefty winter weather moving in for the next couple of days but the end of the week shows promise. I’ve asked the student that currently has the airplane scheduled if they could be flexible with their plans so I can do my checkride later this week.

Let’s hope the weather cooperates.

With the separation between my oral and my checkride and then today’s cancellation, putting together the flight plan for this trip should be a snap, since this will be my third time doing it.

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