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Location: Massachusetts, United States

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Multi-engine pilot

He wasn't particularly friendly and his reputation as a bit of a gruff examiner had me quite nervous. But after our brief encounter yesterday he shook my hand and congratulated me on becoming a multi-engine pilot.
I sat in the Seminole for a minute as he headed inside to complete the paperwork and breathed a deep sigh of relief.
The retest went well and I performed the maneuvers within standards. The examiner also threw in a few surprises of his own. On a 4 mile right base to 16L into KHEF, for instance, I began the gear down/before landing checklist, a six-item memory list. The very first one is "gear down--three greens." Well, no greens at all.
First unsure about whether the sunlight made it impossible to see the lights indicating that the landing gear is down and locked, I hit the dimmer switch, which is used at night since the three greens are quite bright.
I knew I could then run through a number of items to troubleshoot the problem, including pulling the power back to under 15'' MP or dumping 25 degrees of flaps or more to see if the gear horn would sound, thus indicating the gear were still in the wells, but since we were close to the airport I went for the quick way out.
I leaned over the examiner to examine the three rows of circuit breakers. The four at the very right side of the first row are linked to the landing gear system. Number one of those four was the one I was particularly interested in: "Gear lights." Sure enough it stuck out. I promptly pushed it back in and, quite satisfied, resumed the checklist and landed safely.
The experience was sort of anti-climactic since it was a retest and failure was definitely not an option. Also, as mentioned above, this particular examiner has a reputation and many students have had insults and objects of various kinds tossed at them. No such thing happened during my ride, eventhough he was a little gruff at times.
In spite of this, I enjoyed flying with him thoroughly. In fact, I look forward to taking more checkrides with him because he loves to teach. He doesn't do it in a necessarily friendly way, but his goal, more than pocketing a handsome examiner's fee, is to make the candidate a better pilot. He cares, in his own way, and that I find to be a very important trait in any examiner or instructor.
So, I'm committing myself to yet more fear and nervousness and will probably trigger him to scream at me once or twice, but I know I'll get something out of it and if he can help me become the best and safest pilot I can possibly be then I'll take a few loud moments in the cockpit.
He knows what people say about him. As he handed me my temporary certificate, he said: "We'll be spending a lot of quality time together," then shot me a grin that both amused me and terrified me all at once.


Anonymous Phil said...


5:29 PM  
Blogger John said...


8:19 PM  
Blogger GC said...

Congratulations to you on your new multi-engine certificate!

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

was it with mark lowdermilk?

8:48 AM  
Blogger Big Country said...


9:46 PM  
Blogger Capt. Wilko said...

Many thanks guys! And no it wasn't Lowdermilk and I probably shouldn't disclose the DE's identity anyway!:)

7:54 PM  

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