Monday, August 29, 2005

Pink Slip'd

Well, I finally find myself with a little time to update this thing, but be warned it might turn out to be a long one (and likely to be broken up into several smaller posts). A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks, so I won’t even attempt to detail it all.

So, let’s start at where I left off last time: Yeah, I failed. I didn’t even get very far into the oral before the guy knew that I wasn’t going to make it. Then again, I’d have been surprised if I’d passed, so it certainly didn’t catch me off guard.
Basically the morning started bad and got worse. I got to the airport and due to some clerical error my Form 8710 (important paperwork) hadn’t been signed by my instructor. So I frantically had to fax it to him at home and have him fax back a copy signed. Then the plane wasn’t in the hanger I’d been told it would be, so I had to go find it and move around a couple of other airplanes just so I could get it out. By the time I got over to the FSDO (“Fis-doe” = Flight Standards District Office, the local branch of the FAA), I was late and didn’t have all my performance charts worked out. Then, the very first thing the examiner asks me is a trick question. (like the FAA openly says about the CFI checkride; “we will try to make you fail”) Naturally, it was a fairly well packaged trick, so I didn’t even catch it. Then my paperwork wasn’t in order because of that faxed 8710 and because we had missed one of the endorsements when filling out my logbook the night before (my instructor took full responsibility for both, but the tone was already set). Then we started talking about inspections, endorsements, currency, and all that fun stuff and things just continued their downward spiral. The good news is that the examiner was nice about the whole thing, as opposed to some who are quite the opposite, even (especially) if you are doing well. I found out later that nationwide, the percentage of people who pass the CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) checkride on their first try is very nearly 0%.
Once it was all over I was numb with exhaustion. I just went home and collapsed. To be honest, I wasn’t really all that disappointed, I was just relieved that it was over (well, at least until I try again over Christmas break). Passing would have been nice, but I was so sick of the whole thing that I was completely apathetic to the result. After doing virtually nothing of any importance for the rest of the day, I started the drive back to Purdue.

I spent much of the weekend after I got back helping my roommates get the new loft together (yet another crazy/unique design for John and I), then classes started in force on Monday. According to Prof. Young, this is the most academically intense semester of the Flight Program, and thus far I believe him. By the end of the semester I will know the workings of virtually all of the systems of the Boeing 727 and many of the systems of the King Air. I’ll also have my Multi-Engine rating and experience flying a B727 simulator. I’ve got one class I’m still wait-listed for, but the odds of me getting in are not good at this point. If I lose that class, I won’t have a full load, so I’ve had to find a “fluff” class to keep as a buffer just in case. Originally I was going to take POL 141 Governments of the World, but when I showed up the first day the Prof made it very clear that it was going to be a lot of hard work (and the material wasn’t nearly as interesting as the course description made it sound). So…I spent the entire class wirelessly browsing the Purdue class catalog looking for a replacement. Later that day (actually, right after that class ended), I went over to the advising office, dropped POL 141, and added MUS 250 Music Appreciation. Yep, what better fluff class than one that is not required for any program at the entire university? Actually, it’ll be some work (not much), but I like the Prof so far and it’s an interesting topic (basically a history of classical music from the Middle Ages onward). Even if I get into this class I’m wait-listed for, I’ll probably keep Music just for the fun of it.

All that being said, I have other things I need to get done, so you’ll have to wait (probably until I work next on Thursday) for more updates on the last week. They’ll probably include things like the start of Cru (with some, er, interesting pictures from the party at Kyle’s house afterward), my brother moving to college, a Perelandra update, some almost-but-not-quite direct revelation from God from this last weekend, the first session of the 727 simulator, my church finding a pastor, and maybe something about my first flight in the Seminole (multi-engine trainer).

One more thing, I don’t have time to detail it now, but over the last couple of nights I’ve been experiencing some spiritual attacks while I sleep (or rather, attempt to sleep). Last night’s was especially creepy. I don’t know what’s been causing them, but the current leading best guess (from my parents) is that it may have something to do with my dorm room, so I’m going to try to get a few strong Christian brothers to come over this evening and have a session of what my dad termed “spiritual housecleaning” (praying over the room). So please be praying for me, both that I would face these attacks properly when they occur and that they would stop happening so I can get a decent night’s sleep. If you want to hear more about it, please just ask me in person sometime or call my cell between 9pm and 9am or on the weekend (I’m 190 minutes over this month because I was keeping everybody I could updated on the checkride and a few other things, so I’m not answering my phone during the day).

Friday, August 12, 2005


The checkride has been postponed yet again; now it's scheduled for this upcoming Thursday. Basically that means I'll have to go to Purdue Sunday night, attend the CFI seminar Tuesday and Wednesday, then drive back to Chicago Wednesday night. After the check ride, I have to head back to Purdue for the standardization flight Friday or Saturday. Before I started this CFI stuff, I had been told it was hard, but no one said it would be anywhere near THIS HARD.

To be perfectly honest, if I had known it would be like this, I'd never have done it. I know a lot of you are responding with things like "Don't worry, you'll do fine," but I'm serious; it's not worth it. Even my Mom agrees with me. The only reason I'm continuing this is because I've already wasted so much time and money on it. This has been a bad enough experience that I don't want to instruct at all anymore.
A large part of the problem is an instructor who is perpetually ticked-off at the world (I've NEVER seen her in a good move in the couple of months I've been there) who seems more interested in creating clones of herself than anything else. She's convinced beyond all reason that guided discussion is the only valid method of teaching in existence and will blow up at you if she catches you lecturing for even a few seconds (and I mean blow up, as in explode, as in borderline verbally abusive). Even the FAA Aviation Instructor's Handbook talks about the validity of the lecture method in many settings. The key is to choose your method of teaching based on the materials at hand and the audience (my Mom, for example, hates it when someone tries guided discussion on her).

Needless to say I am very overwhelmed and frustrated from all of this. I need a vacation, but at this point the craziness of last semester would be a vacation compared to this. I'm going to have to stay up late tonight (just like seemingly every other night the last few weeks) working on homework so I can go do this all over again tomorrow. By the time I get done each day (usually around 6pm, after starting at 9am with a half hour lunch break every few days), I'm so tired I can barely stand (and even more exhausted emotionally). I need some serious prayer in all of this. In an ideal world, I'd pass the checkride on Thursday but then somehow not instruct at Purdue this fall (I'd much rather spend the time on my classes and Cru stuff). It seems they go hand-in-hand however, so I'll likely end up instructing this fall.

I don't know when I'll update next. Maybe once I get to Purdue to announce my presence, but most likely not until I get done with the checkride. Please be praying that I'll survive the next couple of days and that I'll pass this checkride on the first try so I can finally be done with all of this.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Which Theologian Are You?

You scored as Martin Luther. The daddy of the Reformation. You are opposed to any Catholic ideas of works-salvation and see the scriptures as being primarily authoritative.



Martin Luther


Karl Barth


John Calvin


Jonathan Edwards


Charles Finney


Friedrich Schleiermacher






Paul Tillich


Which theologian are you?
created with

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Well, my checkride isn't going to be this Friday. I've been working all day every day on lesson plans and studying and it's just not going to work. Also, the Piper Arrow at my flight school recently made a landing without its nose gear, so it's been down for repairs the last couple of weeks and that's seriously hurt my ability to prepare. After much debate on my options, I called the examiner and talked to him about rescheduling. Luckily, he has the reputation as being the nicest (not easier than anyone else, just nicer) examiner at DuPage FSDO (Flight Standards District Office) and he had heard about the Arrow, so he was willing to work with me. He's supposed to be out of town next week, but he was able to reschedule something he had on Friday, August 12th and put me down for then. So I now have exactly one extra week to prepare for my checkride, and that will hopefully make the crucial difference between passing and failing for me. So please be praying for me all this next week that I will be able to get flight time in (good weather), that I will be able to finish my lesson plans, that I will be able to hone my teaching skills, and that I will be able to dedicate enough time to studying. Basically my life will be consumed with this for yet another week.

Because of all this CFI stuff, I probably won't be moving back to school until Sunday the 14th or Monday the 15th, so my apologies to all of you who were planning on seeing me sooner.

Today is my brother's 19th birthday, so we're just about to leave for Red Lobster to celebrate. As a warning in case I don't get to update again before the checkride, I likely won't be answering my phone most of next week. I might be able to squeeze a few short calls in this weekend, but I'll basically be going incommunicado until after the checkride. That said, please don't hesitate to call and leave a voicemail, I'll be sure to return calls once the checkride is over. If it's an emergency, say so in your voicemail and I will call back at the earliest opportunity.