So finals week for most college degrees involve taking a lot of finals, finishing projects, or giving presentations all within a small period of time. However, here at Embry-Riddle if you are majoring in Aeronautical Science the experience can be quite different. As an Aeronautical Science major not only do you take academic classes, but you will also fly to obtain your ratings. Students usually finish their flight courses at the end of a semester, the same time as finals…naturally, right? If the checkride wait is exceptionally long, or weather does not cooperate, the checkride may take longer than expected. So for students who live far away from ERAU it is a balancing act for when to book your ticket home. The negative side of this is if you guess incorrectly you may have to go home prior to finishing your flight course. While this usually does not cause a grade issue, you might have to retrain with your instructor before being put back up for the checkride. It is always your choice when you want to go home after finals are over, however like I said, going home earlier may cost you more in the long run. Therefore, you can see that it is not all cut and dry for finishing a semester as a pilot.

Having done this “balancing act” for three years now I knew I would be close to finishing CFII before going home for Christmas. I booked my ticket home for December 21st and hoped I would be done by the 21st. Sure enough I was scheduled for my CFII checkride this past Monday, Dec. 15. The activity began at 0700 with the sun yet to rise. It was cold outside, but luckily my aircraft was in the hanger, This simple change in aircraft location allowed me to stay warm during the pre-flight! Trust me, anything positive helps take away some of the stress of a checkride. Overall it was a busy day to fly because Runway 21L, our main runway, was closed for pavement sealing. I did have to change my plan of action to accommodate the closed runway. However, two hours later I got my answer.  As of Monday the 16th of December, I passed my CFII checkride making me an official CFI and CFII!

Would I have liked to go home last week to be with my friends and family? Absolutely! However, nothing beats the feeling of finishing a flight course right before you leave for vacation!

This may all seem a bit complicated for people unfamiliar with the ERAU checkride process. If you have any questions please let me know! Next year, I begin my journey of starting to flight instruct for Embry Riddle. In the meantime, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!riddle21

Officially a Private Pilot!

Last Friday, April 22, I had my private pilot check oral.  On Monday, April 25, I had my check ride. Throughout my entire flight course this year, I have been training for the check oral and check ride. All of those activities (orals, sims, and flights) with my instructor have prepared me well. Now, it was my job to review all the information and prepare for the final.

There is something about check orals that make me nervous. Maybe it’s the fact that it is with a check airman, or maybe it’s the fact that you are being drilled on private pilot knowledge for two hours straight! In any case, I was ready. I got to the flight line early, looking fancy for the check oral, and got my cross country flight plan from the flight supervisor, and waited for my check examiner to come get me. I sat there reviewing all of the various line items (things to cover) to make sure I knew the answer to any question he asked. Then, my check examiner came. We went to the oral rooms, discussed everything for two hours and I came out one step away from my license!

After the oral was done, I started studying for my check ride. The way to study for this flight was to review all maneuvers, checklists, and Practical Test Standards (PTS). I can tell you my Easter was different from all other years, as I did not go home and I had my check ride the next day.  I woke up at 0535 for my check ride. When I got to the flight line at 0600, I printed the current weather, filled out the performance sheet and waited for my check pilot to come, just like the check oral. I preflighted, like a boss; flew like a boss; and parked like a boss. Seriously, my parking job was the best I have seen and it was the most perfect on the line. After a 2.5 hour flight, it was time for the debrief. The first thing my check pilot said after the flight was that I had passed, which made me feel better, instead of waiting until the end to find out the result.

The next day, I picked up my temporary license and from that point on, I am a marked man. I am a pilot.