Didn't have to surrender my pilot certificate yesterday...

...because a Sport Pilot CFI ticket is a separate certificate.

One result of the fiasco surrounding the NTSB's recommendation that the Zodiac fleet be grounded was that my original pilot examiner backed out on me. I'd located one near Janesville, WI, and today the weather cooperated enough that I could go take the checkride.

Big Foot Airport, 7V3, near Janesville is 261 nautical miles from Fairmont. I'd set my alarm for 5 AM, hoping to be in the air by 6:30. I woke up at 4. I still launched about 6:30, due to lots of stuff that needed doing before I left. The big front that swept through earlier this week towed a little cold front behind it, and that kept ceilings at 2-3000 feet for the first part of the trip. I deviated to the south to get out from under it, and climbed up to 9500, where I had a good stiff tailwind...I was seeing groundspeeds of 145-150 knots.

I beat the examiner to the airport. When he got there, we talked for a bit, and then we started formally. He went over paperwork, found it all in order, made checkmarks on his list, and got through everything.

The oral wasn't quite as grueling as I'd been led to believe. It was mainly a discussion, more than questions and answers, though we covered a wide range of material. There were a couple of times I gave wrong answers initially, but my reply to "really?" was to look it up. That was perfectly acceptable, and one of them led into a discussion of preparation for lessons.

He had me give him a ground lesson on turns about a point. I pulled out my pre-written lesson plan and did so. He had me give a couple of other explanations; I used the whiteboard liberally to help. I didn't think I'd have any trouble with that, and I didn't.

I'd been sweating the oral portion related to the fundamentals of instruction. That was the easiest part: the examiner asked me a couple of questions, and said he felt the rest was just good practice. I said I felt it mainly boiled down to customer service, and he agreed.

The flight part wasn't too difficult, but I had a brain fade in a couple of spots. I didn't make one radio call the entire flight. (Those of you who have flown with me will know just how unusual this is for me.) I also bungled the short field takeoff, but not badly enough for a bust, and forgot to deploy the flaps for the emergency landing - but the forward slip I used instead checked off another box on the form, so that one was a wash.

The examiner told me, afterwards, that he was quite impressed with my oral performance, and that he felt I'd make a good instructor. His son listened in on part of the oral, with my permission, and the examiner said that he'd commented on how that seemed like it was how an oral should go.

The flight home took forever. I stopped at Janesville for fuel and a late lunch; the flight home from there took 3.2, with a 30-knot headwind most of the way. I didn't mind too badly.

I've got the paper certificate in my logbook. Yay! I'm glad to get that finished, finally.

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Comment by Dr. Edward M. Moody II on May 19, 2009 at 9:11pm
Congratulations Jay; glad to hear that it went well.

Comment by Tim Garrett on May 18, 2009 at 5:37pm
Congratulations on passing your test! It is good to hear how it is done.
Comment by Jay Maynard on May 15, 2009 at 1:58pm
The flight back was long, but I didn't mind. I enjoyed talking to you as well. You'll have to put pictures of your 801 up here, and let us know how it comes along.
Comment by Phillip Owens on May 15, 2009 at 1:50pm
Jay, congratulations on passing your CFI, it was nice to talk to you and see your zodiac, I hope you had a good flight back to Fairmont. Phil Owens CH-801 Builder Janesville, Wi
Comment by Stephen R. Smith on May 15, 2009 at 10:59am
Good story with a good outcome. Thanks for posting it Jay.


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