Stop and Go’s Never Stop

And we’re going, again! In the last post, I discussed what Stop and Go’s are in the aviation community, and then started to share the story of my checkride. After multiple cancellations, we had set on a date for the oral portion. I passed the oral and then signed a letter of discontinuance due to weather. I celebrated the success of the first half and waited for better weather.

The following Wednesday the weather was finally in my favor. The weather looked gorgeous with Flight Service stating “winds calm, visibility clear below one two thousand.” I jumped in my car and headed to the airport. The company I work for is situated on the airport so I stopped in to take care of some work before I would be out for the morning. Then came another “Stop” when all I want to do was “Go.”

stop sign

My heart sunk for a moment when I noticed the temperature. It was below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and I had been noticing frost the past few days. I raced to the airplane to find it covered in frost. I desperately started wiping it down, but the plane was nowhere ready to fly when my examiner drove up. He gracefully chuckled and told me to “Start rotating her to get some sun on the other side and I’ll be back to check on you in an hour!” So, I started to rotate the plane to get sun on the frostier sides. As it melted, I wiped it away. My CFI pulled up at one point and provided a helping hand.

An hour later, I was sure I was ready to go. My CFI left and the examiner returned. I preflighted and deemed the aircraft safe to fly. We hopped in to start the run up and be on our way. But, WAIT! Another “Stop” occurred when we noticed that the attitude indicator was not responding. We thought it would fix itself after a few minutes but it never came attitude indicatorback to life. I lost an instrument the day of my checkride. I had just flown the aircraft a few days before and everything was fine. What happened between then and the checkride, I’ll never know. The examiner informed me that we could continue the exam without the instrument. After all, it isn’t one of the required instruments for VFR day flight, but it sure is handy!

We had to improvise certain required maneuvers due to the loss of the attitude indicator but other than that no other major delays occurred. When practicing a simulated emergency engine out, another aircraft in the area kept asking if we were ok, even though we continued to state that is was only a simulated engine out and there was no real emergency. I stopped a few of my maneuvers midway in when I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay within the tolerances. This is acceptable, as long as you recognize it before you fail the maneuver. You can state that you would like to stop and restart. Obviously, you can’t do this too many times, because then it would be clear that you are not prepared with those requirements.

I felt as if I was holding my breath up until the very end. You can fail at any time during the flight review and I didn’t want to celebrate until we had landed and I shut of the engine. Thankfully, I did pass everything the first go around and didn’t have to schedule an additional review. Words cannot express the feeling of accomplishment you feel when you pass your checkride. It is unlike anything I have every experienced.

I earned my wings!

Ready for another “Stop?” I’d show you a picture of my fancy new pilot license but I still only have the temporary paper certificate. I married during the time of my training and due to paperwork errors with my name change, the FAA is still sorting it out and I have yet to get my real license in the mail. When I contacted the US Flight Standards Office after never hearing from them over three months after passing my checkride, I was informed that a correction letter was sent to another office but was lost in the mail. I had been forgotten in the system and probably would have never been addressed had I not called. They issued me ANOTHER temporary certificate with a date extension, and I am still waiting for my official license to come, 5 months later.

I said it in my last post and I’ll say it again: Life has a funny way of throwing its own “Stop and Go’s” at us and all we can do is put the power back in and go around again.

Do you have a checkride story or another story full of its own “Stop and Go’s?” Leave a comment, I would love to hear them!

Photo Credit: Stop Sign

Photo Credit: Attitude Indicator

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