I reserved a 152 for four hours today to take the girl
's mother on a trip. This is again a first flight in a small airplane but since I was dealing with an adult, I decided to actually go somewhere instead of staying in the pattern. It's easy enough to come back if she can't handle it.
Yesterday I met with the instructor who checked me out in the 152 - let's call him Sean because that's his name - to finish up the ground portion of my biennial flight review
(BFR) and then get checked out in a 172.
Knowing that I was going to make this trip today, Sean helped me review controlled airspace, how to request flight following, and anything else that would be helpful for a cross country flight that I may have forgotten.
We also talked about various destinations I could go to. He asked me if I had heard of "Nancy's" at Willows (KWLW
) and was surprised that I hadn't. He told me he thought everyone in aviation knew of Nancy's and even told me a story of one time he forgot himself, asked for flight following to Nancy's, and the controllers knew where he was going. Heh.
We discussed a few more destination options and then talked about other BFR-related topics.
As for the 172 checkout, we couldn't get the engine started. When I primed the engine, we weren't getting any suction so he had me pump it a bit to get some fuel in there. That may have put in more fuel than intended thus flooding the engine. At one point, he got out and inspected the underside and it wasn't leaking fuel like it should be in a flood. After having me attempt it (under instruction) two or three times, he took over and still couldn't get it started. Eventually the battery went limp and we had to call it off.
Overnight, I finally decided to go to Santa Rosa for a number of reasons. It has less airspace (for me to deal with) and more scenery (for her to enjoy) than the two other real alternatives for the flight I wanted to do. Also, we have a friend who lives there so we arranged for lunch.
Santa Rosa is only 48 nautical miles away from University, so I can't log the trip as a cross country but there is another airport nearby in Healdsburg that I can hop over to if I want. I haven't really planned this trip beyond getting a weather briefing and picking out some landmarks. There are power lines going from here to there so I'll just follow those.
I take my new passenger around the preflight with me as I always do because I find it relaxes them, but then when I get to my passenger briefing I explain to her the emergency procedures, and that ruins all the mental massaging I'd been doing over the last few days. Oh well.
For a few thousand feet after we took off, it was quite turbulent and I was afraid the whole ride would be really bumpy but it turned out to be beautifully smooth. However, my idea to follow the power lines was a bad one because I quickly got myself lost in my new neighborhood. So I start circling around and my passenger is helping me figure out where we are. Turns out, we're right on course, but neither of us can find the power lines. So I just look at which direction I need to go and call up NorCal Approach for flight following. I'm told to bugger off and use Travis Approach. Okay. So I call up the military and get what I want, although he thought I was doing airwork because I was still circling.
Everything now being in order, I start my ascent to my chosen cruising altitude of 6500 feet. We fly over a few hills and get a gorgeous eye-full of Lake Berryessa
. All the while, my passenger and co-navigator is pointing out our checkpoints and taking it all in. All her nerves are pretty much gone now.Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport
doesn't have any waypoints for me to report my location. Perhaps this is because it's only Class D? So I improvise by calling up the tower and saying I'm coming off the mountains to the East for a full stop landing. That seems to make the tower happy and I'm told to enter for left downwind 14 and report mid-field. When I do, I get cleared to land behind a Mooney.
My landings have been really rusty lately - probably because I haven't hardly done any since I passed my checkride two years ago - so I was really nervous about it but I pulled it off nicely. A perfect full stall that initially got applause and then later she told me that she knew when we were in the air and she knew when we were on the ground, but she didn't know when we switched from one to the other. That made me glow for a while.
We were directed over to transient parking and some guy came out to greet us on a golf cart. He offered to drive us up to the terminal but I had no idea what was expected in return so I declined. Am I supposed to pay him? Tip him? I don't know.
Our friend picked us up as planned and took us to eat. In Healdsburg. If I had known that, I would have told her to pick me up from that airport so I could log this whole thing as cross country. Tant pis
, as the French say.
As we're going through the town, things start to look familiar. Have I been here before? Then we come to a large square and it hits me. This is where I met Aviatrix
! After lunch we went to her house to see if I could reserve the plane for a bit longer. I could, so we stayed and visited for a bit longer.
When we got back to the plane we decided not to hop over to Healdsburg because it was getting late even with the reservation extension, and why do I need to log cross country anyway? (The answer to that is I need 50 hours of cross country for my instrument rating so I should have gone ahead and done it) I got a little flummoxed on the radio trying to leave the airport. I was told to read back my hold short clearance, which I know to do but maybe didn't do it quickly enough for him. And then I told Ground I was ready for take off instead of switching to Tower.
The flight back was straightforward, as if I had been doing it for years. The only problem came when it was time to find my home airport. Lots of circling again. We both figured out that it must
be right there
but neither of us could spot it. Finally I did see it and entered the pattern. I landed a little fast, squeaking the wheels as I touched down, but I didn't bounce and my companion seemed just as impressed as with the first one.
We refueled and pushed the plane over to its spot. I did not run over her foot.
My new living arrangements came with a couple of kids, and today I decided to try to take one of them - a six year old girl - flying.
She was very excited about it but I kept envisioning a full on panic attack at startup or, worse, in the air. So I did a lot of talking to her, trying to tell her how fun it all is but how loud it is going to be and other things that might trigger her fears. Yet at the same time I didn't want to psych her out of the whole thing. Last weekend we went to the airport as observers and I let her and her eight year old brother sit in the plane and we watched some other planes come and go.
Her brother, who wants to be an astronaut when he grows up, is very adamant about not wanting to go in a small plane. No amount of explaining that his career will start here helps, he won't go. She, on the other hand, is very enthusiastic about it.
So today I reserved a plane and took her out to the airport. She never missed a chance to tell anyone she saw that she was about to take her first ride in an airplane. I took her around the preflight with me, explaining what each thing did which she didn't seem to care much about, and then I strapped her in and the panic started.
She was freaking out because she couldn't see out the front but I managed to convince her that looking out the side was just as good. Note to self, next time bring a booster seat. One hurdle successfully passed, it was time to start the engine. I had had her watch a few engine starts from the outside so she could hear the noise, and I told her it would be even louder inside but that our headsets would help. I hadn't told her about the vibrations, but it didn't matter. She was entirely unfazed by the whole thing. Even when I started taxiing she was calm and relaxed.
During my run-up tests, she just sat quietly while I talked her through what I was doing. My left magneto was losing 250 to 300 rpm so I tried to clean it out. Not having done this in a long time, my technique was lacking and I couldn't get it fixed. So I taxied back to the club and had an instructor look at it. He fixed it for me and told me what I was doing wrong, and we were once again on our way. I did a full run-up again just to be safe and all was well.
After a final confirmation that she really wanted to do this and she wasn't scared, I took the runway and applied full throttle.
I was concentrating really hard on flying to perfection and being as conservative as possible, but when the wheels left the ground, I made sure I shared with her how much fun I was having and how relaxed I was, hoping she'd mimic me. When we got about midfield downwind, I hear a little voice asking if we can land now. I was planning on just staying in the pattern today (no sense in trying to go on a trip if she can't handle it) so I said yes of course we can land, and we did. Knowing now that she was terrified, I was really trying to fly my best. I made an absolutely gorgeous landing (if I may say so myself), turned off the runway and started cleaning up. Now that we were on the ground, she let me have it saying how horrible it was and how she's never going in a plane again. I'm kind of saddened by that, wondering if it was my flying that was the problem or just flying at all.
When I parked by the pump, the guy from the club came out to meet me because the previous renter failed to put the credit card back. Naturally, he started asking how the first flight was, and all of the sudden it was wonderful! She told him she was really scared but she loved it and wanted to go back up. So instead of refueling we went back out for another lap. This time the experience was entirely different.
I gave her the camera we had brought along and she took picture after picture after picture. After landing, I opened my window and then reached over and opened hers and fresh air came flooding in. She thanked me for doing that which I found amusing because when we started this whole ordeal, she wouldn't let me taxi with the window open for fear of whatever a six year old thinks might happen if you taxi with the window open. But after half an hour or so of baking in that oven, those fears were gone.
"Again! Again!" she cried, and so again we went. She's really liking it now, still snapping away saying ooh look at this and wow look at that. She got so excited that she forgot to stop talking when people were talking on the radio. I gave her a stern reminder and she didn't do it again but she sure filled in all the gaps between radio calls!
After landing, she wanted to go around again but she also wanted to go show all her photos and tell her stories so we decided to call it a day. I went back over to the pumps and this time actually refueled. And then I decided to pull it over to the parking spot instead of wasting 0.1 hours taxiing it. That was quite a workout! She asked if she could help and I said yes even though I knew she'd be no help at all. I was pulling on the prop and she was on the side "pushing" on the strut.
Then she started to get distracted and was looking down at the camera she had in her other hand. I cautioned her to pay attention and she looked up to acknowledge me. I'm not entirely sure what happened next. Maybe she wandered closer to the airplane which would be natural if she was looking at me, or perhaps she stopped momentarily. Either way, she got hit by the wheel and went down.
I rushed over to her and asked if she was okay to which she calmly said no. A second later, she was bawling her eyes out. I picked her up, ran her over to a chair in front of the club, and finished putting the plane away. When I got back to her, she was calm again. I told her I needed to go inside to do some paperwork and asked if she wanted to come with me but as soon as she stood up the crying started again. Now I was really scared. I had originally thought that the wheel had just knocked her over, but now I'm wondering if it ran over her. That would be quite a lot of weight for young bones but there was no noticeable swelling. I finished up as quickly as possible and took her to get looked at.
She's fine. It's just a sprain and she's already joking about it. (phew!)
The plane I fly was finally fixed and ready to be flown at the end of July. Unfortunately, that is exactly the time that I was moving away from Monterey. Figures.
Now I live in Vacaville, California, and one of the first things I did was head on over to the local airport to see if I could fly. The FBO there was charging something like $75/h dry for a 152 so I wasn't too eager to hop in. Who knows how much they charged for an instructor. When I moved here, I took a severe pay cut, but my quality of life is much improved. Life isn't all about money, except when you want to go flying. When I finally did decide that it had been too long and I needed to go up again, there was a sign on the door saying it was temporarily closed. I went back about once a week for what seemed like the longest time and it was still closed with no indication of when it would open again. One day, I asked some guy walking from the hangars if he knew anything about the FBO and he said it went out of business and there was nothing temporary about it. He pointed me to Davis University about 20 minutes away and said I might find something there.
I found a nice non-profit organization at University Airport
with a lot of planes and some very reasonable rates
so I signed up and scheduled a checkout.
I told my instructor that it had been almost a year and a half since I'd flown so I wanted a full flight review and that I didn't know how well I still knew how to fly. He took me around the facilities first, showing me the club. The keys to the airplanes are kept in individual lockers that open with a proximity card
that I'll get once my application is approved. My card will only open the lockers to planes I've been checked out on, and only if my account is in good standing. Additionally, the chief pilot can lock down all lockers if the weather is bad. This may be a standard feature at most places but it was my first experience and I was delightedly impressed.
After showing me around, he left me to preflight the plane. Everything was in order except the oil was a bit low so I put another quart in and we got started. Taxiing wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I did a good job of staying on the yellow line and I didn't once try to drive the yoke like a car.
Take off was as exhilarating as ever. Why did I wait so long? He directed me toward the practice area and instead of asking me to do certain maneuvers, he just told me to play. Weeee! After I'd had my fun, he had me do slow flight, but I had to be reminded how to get into it, and then we did some stalls. On the power-on stall, my right wing dropped considerably. He applauded me on correcting it with rudder and not aileron, but I'm not so sure I did. I know I felt him applying left rudder, kind of like a car passenger will stomp on the brakes, except here he actually had a pedal.
For landings, he told me to go to Yolo County-Davis (Woodland) Winters Airport
. After all the spinning around I had just done, I had no idea where we were. "You've got a sectional," he said, "I'm sure you can find it." And eventually I did.
My first landing was actually quite nice. I came in a little low so had to add some power, but other than that it was good. In fact, there was only one bad landing but I aborted it before I got anywhere near the ground. I still don't really have my aim right, and although I touch down gracefully, my whole approach is ugly.
Despite my failings, he told me that I had good control of the plane and that he felt comfortable. That made one of us.
After landing back at University, I refueled the plane per club rules and parked it. It's good to be back.
While the airplane I usually fly still has propellers resembling an Imperial Moustache
because a hard landing by a student broke the nose gear which caused a lot of other damages, and the other plane at the club I don't feel comfortable in (I feel safe, just not comfy); I'm getting a little itchy about not flying. Somebody please clean up that sentence.
So this weekend I went to the Marina airport where people do crazy things like jump out of the airplane at 15,000 feet. I don't know why an acrophobic person like me would want to join these people but something about it compels me.
At first I was just watching people pack their chutes and talking to one of the instructors. Then when they all boarded the plane, I took the little shuttle over to the drop zone to watch them come down. I don't know what it's like at altitude, or during freefall, but watching them swoop around and land looked like a ton of fun.
Next I asked if there was room on the plane to observe from there. For a small fee (of course), they let me go. So while the chutes were being repacked, I was chatting with the pilot. I told him I was also a pilot, albeit only a private one, and that opened him up to a lot of the technical aspects of things.
When we were about ready to go, he tells me that because we'll be flying with the door open I need to wear a parachute. I flip it on like a backpack and the he shows me how to strap it on. Basically, there are two straps that go around your two legs, and another one at the breast level. After I have it on, he points out the little handle that I need to use to deploy. After exiting the plane, I need to count one one-thousand two one-thousand and then yank on this handle with both hands as far out as I can manage. Then I'll be going for quite the ride. Hopefully I won't need this until I've learned how to control and land a parachute.
We get into the King Air which has all but the pilot's seat removed and replaced with weird benches. I'm told it also has a souped up engine and they claim it is the fastest King Air in the world (or maybe just the US). I won't be able to appreciate this because I don't have anything to compare it to. I sit where the right seat would be, but I have to face backwards until the divers jump out. My legs are facing aft, but my torso is twisted around to see what's going on. I'm half here to observe the divers, and half to observe the aircraft itself. The pilot knows this so he takes me through all the checklists and procedures. When he first starts up the right prop, we spend a lot of time looking at the temperature gauge, and likewise when the left prop starts. Is this a turbine thing? I check my temperatures every so often but I don't watch them intently as I start up. Then we look out the window to see somebody pull the plug on the external power source and show it to us. What's this all about? What happens at more remote airports? Pretty soon we start taxiing out. He uses the rudder pedals to steer which doesn't surprise me, but then when we get to the end of the runway he uses prop differential to turn 90°. Neato!
I made a mental note of it, but now I don't recall what takeoff speed was. I think it was 125 knots. As soon as we left the ground I realized this was no ordinary passenger flight. Nose straight up, climbing at 2500fpm. That's over seventy six thousand furlongs per fortnight! There is also no such thing as a standard rate turn, we don't have time for that. Sixty degree banks minimum or bust. No wonder people jump out of this guy's plane, sheesh.
Six minutes after takeoff, we're at altitude and he's walking me through steps that have an uncanny resemblance to slow flight. Makes sense I guess. Each of the divers have their own altimeters so they all know it's time, but I didn't notice the pilot give any kind of signal that he was ready for them to jump out. I was particularly interested in the shifting of CG as they jumped and I wasn't disappointed. Heavy use of the trim tab required.
Once they were all gone I was invited to turn around and face forward, and then boom! We did some diving of our own. I thought he was just giving me a ride, but he said he always does that and this picture
confirms it. A little warning would have been nice. Basically, we were following the divers down, maternally circling around them. When they opened their chutes, we eased up a bit, too. If you can call descending at 3000fpm easing up. We land at precisely 110 knots, and that was pretty much that. I jumped out the door and was in freefall for approximately four feet.
Seeing them jump out and watching them land had a positive effect on me. I'm not so hesitant to try it myself now, although I'm not going to predict when that might be.
I've had my license for a year now and I can't say I'm happy with what I've done with myself in that time. For the past several months I haven't been flying because the plane I usually fly was involved in an accident (nobody hurt) and the other plane the club owns I refuse to fly. I could go spend twice as much money at another club in the meantime, but I think I'll just wait until my regular plane is either fixed or replaced. Then I'll hire an instructor to make sure I still know what I'm doing, and go from there.
On a more positive note, this Friday will make two years that I haven't had a cigarette.
I just spent the afternoon and evening with Aviatrix
! It was a long drive to get to where she was but when you've been listening to the music for two years, you've got to go to the concert.
As is usual with this type of encounter, we experienced quite a lot of topic drift. We talked about politics, aviation (of course), linguistics, a new Tongan island
made out of hummus, biodynamic wine
, the benefits of reptilian egg laying practices, and much more.
Now I have even more reason to go visit Canada again.
Before I talk about my second passenger, there's another flight I made. I was going to go meet someone for dinner, but the clouds didn't look right. All the weather reports I could find said clear, but it didn't look that way. So I popped up for one lap around the pattern to get a good look and decided that no matter what the weather reports were saying, I was not going to play with that marine layer. So I didn't.
Anyway, on Sunday the plan was for me to take a coworker up the coast, over the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, and then back down over Silicon Valley. It all went according to plan until I got half way up the coast and met an unexpected marine layer. I wasn't comfortable being VFR on top, and dealing with the shrinking ceiling imposed by San Francisco's Bravo, so I turned around and we just hung out locally. I was really looking forward to that trip, too.
My passenger expressed a natural need, so we landed at my favorite airport so far: Frazier Lake. I've never shut down there before, but it's really nice with picnic tables and everything. Next time I'll pack a lunch. We took a little walk out onto the grass runway, and also went over to the docks on the water runway. Very cool.
From there we went over to Watsonville for lunch. I don't think I'll be going back to that restaurant any time soon. Way overpriced and the food wasn't even that good.
After that we came back home because I had only reserved the plane for four hours and I needed to get it back. As it turns out, we were fifteen minutes late, but nobody was waiting.
This is the first time I've done something like this. It was sort of like a night out on the town, except it was a day out on the whole region. The only way it could have been better is if I had been more comfortable going to Golden Gate. I'm definitely going to do it again.
I've often thought to myself, "What a beautiful night! I'd love to go flying!" Or perhaps I've babbled on and on to my friends how wonderful night flying is.
One of the great things I've noticed about owning a plane, or being part of a club where almost all the members have their own planes, is that I can pretty much go when I want. The problem is, I'm not night-current so I can't take any passengers. Tonight, I set out to change this.
In order to become night-current, I need to do three full stop landings. I don't think this will take very long but I reserve the plane from 2200 to 2330 local so I can put some vistas in my ojos.
During my preparations, I find that the tower closes at 2100 local. That's cool, I like uncontrolled airports. I also find that the fuel trucks also close at that time. That's not too cool. When I get to the airport, I open the book to see what happened last. The person before me who flew sometime in May (there was no day marked). The plane was refueled then, but it flew for two hours. This doesn't look good. I go out and climb up on the left wing. Four gallons. Uh oh. I climb up the other side. Six gallons. That's a little better.
So I have ten gallons. Will that be enough for three full stops? Do I need a 45 minute reserve if I'm just staying in the pattern? If I don't, is it wise? I look over the books to see just what kind of "mileage" this plane gets and I settle on the conservative estimate of seven gallons per hour. I'm not sure what that will do for my exercise, but I do know it will get me to Watsonville where I can fill my tanks without a truck.
This is my first actual go/no-go decision. All of my previous ones were no brainers.
I look up at the sky for a while and ponder. The moon and stars are gorgeous, the temperature is perfect, as is the visibility. It beckons like it has never beckoned before. I have enough fuel to legally get to a fuel pump, but what if it's dry? What if it doesn't accept my credit card for some reason? Can I get back home safely and legally on the fuel I have?
With a deep sigh, I lock it up and get in my car. I may have played it too safe, but at least I'm safe and so is my plane as well as whatever I would have had to set it down on. There will be more nights like these.
So the reason I came back to my blog last night was because I had flown again. But after I recapped my checkout, I didn't write about my flight.
There is something to be said about momentum. The more I didn't fly, the more I felt I couldn't fly well enough for a passenger's confidence, the more I felt I couldn't fly well enough for my own confidence, the more I didn't fly, and so it went.
Add to this the fact that I have never flown in Class C airspace by myself. After I'm cleared for takeoff do I just go? Or do I have to maintain runway heading until the tower tells me to navigate on my own? I don't know. Do I have to get out of Class C as quick as I can? I don't know.
All of this uncertainty - and even more than I've expressed here - kept me grounded. I really wanted to take some of my friends up (and they would like to go up), but if I can't portray pure confidence they won't be at all comfortable. At least I wouldn't in their position. So fear of fumbling a radio call had me worried, too.
The weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately, so yesterday I just decided to go ahead with my experimentum crucis: either I would do what I was trained to do, or I would crash and burn.
I raced home after work to grab my flight bag and check the weather. There wasn't a cloud to be seen in any direction, but this part of the world has a bad habit of sudden fog.
I took extra care during my preflight inspection. This is a fairly foreign vessel no matter how similar it is to what I trained on and I want to get it right. After I strap myself in, I start the engine and tune in to the ATIS
which I have to listen to about three times to make sure I got it all. Then I contact ground and tell him what I want.
What I want is to fly north along the coast but I get asked what my destination airport is. Not knowing how to tell him I'm going for a joyride and some airwork, I just tell him KWVI and he clears me to taxi.
After my runup, I switch to the tower frequency and that makes me feel weird. I know I don't need clearance to switch from ground, but in all other cases I always say something when I change frequencies. It's the same controller anyway but still.
Cleared for takeoff, moment of truth. Mixture rich, full throttle, and I'm off. As soon as the mains leave the ground, I get pushed around like crazy. I'm trying to keep all three axes stable and I'm doing a rather good job of it although it doesn't feel like it at the time. When I get some altitude the turbulence dies down and turn towards Watsonville.
Until I get to my selected altitude, which I've randomly chosen to be 2500ft, I'm concentrating intently on my airspeed. For some reason, I decide that this is the ideal time to worry about the throttle lock. So I turn it and turn it, oblivious to the fact that I'm turning it the wrong way, and the damn thing comes off! Of course, this is the perfect time to get a squawk (not sure why I didn't get it on the ground) and change to NorCal Departure. I'm leveling off at this point anyway so what the hell.
Once all these tasks are simultaneously completed, I find that I'm intensely calm and relaxed. The view is absolutely gorgeous from up here. NorCal tells me not to exceed 2500ft for traffic and I dive down to 2400. I'm not skilled enough to keep a pinpoint altitude. When the traffic has passed, I'm told I'm cleared for altitude at my discretion (or words to that effect). I acknowledge with my call sign but it's a little staticky. He tells me again, and again I reply with my call sign. I'm not climbing because I'm not going far and 2400 is just fine by me. Perhaps it was my inaction, or perhaps I should have read back the freedom of altitude clearance, but about a minute later I get told again that I may do as I please. This time I repeat it back to him and he seems satisfied with that.
I know I'm supposed to do a full read back when I'm told to change altitudes, but am I also required to do so when I'm told I can do as I please?
Anyway, it's time for me to go down to pattern altitude and tune to local radio. So I bid the controller adieu and switch over. I'm all alone here. I call my position on the 45 and then each leg after that and I do this without thinking. It is amusing to me how controlled pilots feel so uncomfortable here. I hear this is reciprocal.
When I turn downwind I make a mental note of the status of my flaps and smile.
During my flare, I'm sure I'm going to drop it in hard, but instead I land beautifully. I taxi back and try it again. I feel a little better, and the landing was again quite good, but I still got the impression I was going to screw it up. Both times I landed longer than is my wont but I can deal with that.
I left the pattern to go do some pattern/radio work at Class D Salinas, but it was 1900 and that's when the tower closes, so I just decided to head back home.
I'm told to enter on a right base 28R, but I can't see the airport yet and this is the first time I've done this solo. So I point where I think it might be and that would turn out to be almost correct. Next time I'll make it a little wider because I enjoy flying over Laguna Seca
I also don't like coming in on a base leg because I have no reference for my configurations; so there was a bit of guesswork to get set up for landing. To make things worse I was flying directly into the setting sun and I couldn't see a thing. My visor did its job well up until the flare, so I just added a little bit of power to do a kind of soft field landing on a runway I couldn't see.
Once I was rolling on the ground, tower instructed me to turn of at my convenience and taxi parking that frequency. So I did. But when I got to where I was going, I didn't know what to do. Do I have to sign off, or can I just kill the radio and park? I don't know. So I decide to play it safe.
Me: Monterey Tower, Cessna 123, ready for shut down.
Tower: Cessna 123, shut down at your own discretion, good day.
Me: Good day.
Now to keep this momentum going...
Well it appears I forgot to update after my 150 checkout. The reason for this (although not an excuse) is that I went on vacation immediately following it and then I forgot. So here's a quick recap.
The 150 is so close to the 152 that I really didn't have any problem flying it. It felt so natural that I just did what I've always done. The fact that we were at KWVI made this tendency even more pronounced.
Recall his militaristic style from the 172 checkout which I'm already fed up with and we've only been in the air for about fifteen minutes. I turn downwind from the 45 and the following conversation takes place.
(Read his lines as him barking at me, and mine as me very frustrated by it and about to crack)
Ray: You didn't do your checklist.
Me: Yes I did.
Ray: I don't see any flaps.
Me: That's because I don't use any flaps when I'm mid-field downwind.
Ray: Then you haven't done your checklist!
Me: Well I have a different checklist than you!
Ray (yelling): You'll do it my way or you won't fly this plane!!
Me (silently): Fair enough.
That's the highlight of it. I passed that checkride and a few weeks later (way too long, but oh well) I turned in my written and was handed the keys to the online schedule.