Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Commercial Checkride (WARNING: LONG)

Well, I’m officially back in Chicago. Let’s see if I can give you the rundown on the last few days, starting with my checkride.

Thursday afternoon I got together with Josh Bright to study for the Commercial Oral. We spent the rest of the afternoon grilling each other on the study sheets, the details we couldn’t understand, pretty much anything and everything we could think of. Let me tell you, that study time was pure gold. I walked away with a better knowledge and better understanding of the material than I had before or that I would have been able to get by studying on my own. I got to bed around 1:30 that night hoping to get some decent sleep in the few short hours before I had to get up.

Got up about 5:30 in the morning hoping to take a long shower to wake up, get on my nice clothes, get some breakfast, print the weather briefing for my cross-country planning off in the computer lab, and bike out to the airport in time to get there about 7:30. That’s when things started going wrong. First the printer in the lab downstairs was broken, so I lost time trying to make it work and finally had to print my briefing in dark blue ink in my room (I was out of black). That’s bad because part of the goal of the checkride is looking professional and blue text is not professional. Then it got to be about 7:45 and I was about to get on my bike to head out to the airport when I discovered the cargo rack on the back of my bike had bent, losing one of the mounting pins and scraping against the tire. I clearly didn’t want to trust the bike in that condition, so I was left without a way to the airport in time to meet my instructor at 8:00 as planned. Thankfully, John’s dad was in town to move him out and was willing to give me a ride.

So I manage to get there right at 8, just in time to meet my instructor to finish the paperwork we had to get done, finish my cross-country planning, preflight the airplane, check the maintenance logs, and even get in some last minute cramming for the Oral before it started at 10:30.. At least, that was the general idea. What actually happened was that we started the paperwork and discovered a problem; I didn’t have enough flight time. Somehow, and nobody knows how, there was a mistake and I ended the semester 1.6 hours short of the required 200 hours for the Commercial license. There’s no bending the regs around it, so our only solution was to go flying right then. So we rushed out to the airplane and managed to squeeze the time we needed in. Then we had a half hour after we landed to finish the paperwork, finish my planning, check the maintenance logs, put oil in the plane, and do some last minute reviewing. Needless to say, we weren’t done in time. Thankfully, Larry knew of the situation and was somewhat understanding, so he let me start 15 minutes later than planned.

The checkride itself went much better than expected. I only missed a couple of questions on the oral (one minor point on stalls and a maintenance detail). Then the flight went equally well. I had to repeat the start of my Lazy-8’s maneuver, because I didn’t gain enough altitude the first time. Then when we returned to the airport at the end of the flight we came in from the north on a non-standard pattern (which threw me off a little) and he said to do a short-field landing. I came in right over my target point… and … floated in ground effect for a thousand feet (have to touch down within 100 feet of the point). So we had to try it again. I managed to get it the second time around and that was it.

The most interesting part of all that happened I left out above. This part of the story dates back to the previous Sunday at Prayer & Praise (see post of that title below). I was praying with Shane, Chip, and Scott and the biggest thing that we were praying about (especially for Chip and I) was that we would have the strength to give things over to God during our hectic finals week ahead. It was cool because we earnestly begged Him for help giving things to Him, then He reminded me of it periodically throughout the week. Then Thursday rolled around. I was getting stressed out over the checkride and started telling God that I wanted to give my preparations, the test itself, and the results over to Him, but I just didn’t know how and was feeling overloaded. That feeling only got worse when everything possible was going wrong Friday morning. Then, around 8:30, as I was grabbing my flight stuff out of my instructor’s office to head out to the plane for the flight we had to do, I prayed again, “God, I want to give this to You, but I don’t know how and I’m just going nuts!” As soon as I finished saying that, something happened to me that has never happened before (well, not so directly); God spoke. It wasn’t audible, but the words from the Spirit were as clear as day in my head: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Let me tell you, that helped; that helped a lot. When I told my mom about it later, she referenced a Bible passage that I had heard many times “…for my power is made perfect in weakness. …” When I decided to look up that passage today on BibleGateway.com to see exactly how it was worded and the context, I discovered something. The entire verse my mom referenced: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power my rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Little did I know, but when my mom quoted that verse, she was quoting the exact reference as my revelation (it even uses the word ‘thee’ in the KJV). Wow, God is awesome!

With that, I’ll close. Much else has happened in the last few days since the checkride, both good and bad, but I’ll save that for another time (I’ve given you way too much to read already today). I hope your summer is off to a good start!


At 11:40 PM, Blogger Josh said...

Isin't it just so amazing when God talks to you like that! Every time it happens to me I just wish it would go on forever. Maybe heaven will be like that.
Congrats and cheers and the like.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Thanks for your awesomely long comment! I really appreciated it.
You make flying sound exciting with Lazy eights and such. And I'm sure that the navy ink looked fine. I would have given points for creativity.
So basically, I'm at work now. I hope you are having a pleasant summer!

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

2 Corinthians 12:9---dude, that's my verse! neat

At 4:48 PM, Anonymous amy c. said...

Wowzers... you aviation folks are another species of creatures. No wonder all of you are so fond of your prgram, because it sounds so fun and rewarding.

Another "wowzers" go to the latter part of your entry about God speaking to you. That's so inspiring. As a Christian very early in my walk, I've never actually heard God direct me to do anything through this method. That would be an awesome experience to have. Maybe I just have to be patient and listen more carefully.


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