I am a certified pilot!

Probably no better way to start this post than with the emphatic – I AM A CERTIFIED PILOT!

As luck would have it, the examiner was able to reschedule our check-ride flight for 6 AM this morning so after a quick ground review session with my instructor yesterday, I set the alarm for 3:45 and awoke after a solid sleep ready to knock this exam out. I started my preflight preparations confirming the weather conditions at home and then proceeded into the airport to tackle the airworthiness of the plane and to debrief with the examiner.

Although most of the flight is now a blur, I do need to note that at one point, I almost bombed the exam after making a very silly mistake forgetting how to activate the VOR navigation. After a few minutes struggling to get it activated, I found myself very overwhelmed and in rough shape – somewhere I unfortunately know quite well after many prior meltdowns.  Knowing I need to quickly recover, I asked the examiner to take the controls briefly while I grabbed a sip of water and cleared the cobwebs out of my head. I then thankfully found that I was able to get right back on the task and complete the maneuver without issue. After the exam was over, the examiner remarked that he was worried for me at that point and was afraid I was going to let the stress of the situation take me out of commission, but as he said, he was very pleased that I was able to do what I needed to do to get myself out of the fire and back on track. He actually mentioned that he doesn’t often see people able to recover from a high stress moment like that as well as I did. I told him I am well training in recovering from stressful flight situations after all my struggles!

The rest of the flight and maneuvers were completed very well and I even did all the required landings very smoothly and the examiner said I had good control of the plane. So after some brief words of wisdom and some basic paperwork, I left the briefing room with my temporary airmen certificate.

Feeling pretty fried from this week’s experiences, I have decided to take the weekend off completely and I am taking a camping trip with Simon to Show Low, AZ for a couple days in the cooler mountains. When I get back on Monday, I’ll be meeting with the training center manager to discuss my new “self-paced” schedule and how that will work. I am very excited to continue the training journey, but also very happy that I’ll now be in control of my schedule and pacing myself to what I can handle.

Step one of the adventure is now on the books! Bring on the multi-engine planes!

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