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santa clara valley 99s

What does it feel like to become a pilot?

The following descriptions of checkrides were written by some of our newest women pilots...

Michelle's check ride ...

Thursday 27th July 2000 came around at last. After 75 hours of flying and 3 and a half months in gorgeous San Diego I was going for my Private Pilot check ride. How did I feel? Serene. Nervous? No. I just felt it to be something to do to get one step closer to my dream to fly a G5 or Citation 10.

Arrived 6.30am at the school. Got weather briefing and finished the flight plan to Phoenix. At 7am the examiner arrived. A coffee, a chat, and the oral exam. Two hours- excellent and very thorough. Coffee break then preflight the plane, a C172RG. Off I go to fly!

I was actually looking forward to this learning experience. Perfect weather, perfect day, excellent job, great visibility. Back to transient and tie it down. Met the examiner back at the car ...he was signing a pink slip! A retest the 8th of August 2000! Soft field and short fields and go arounds ...It hurt . But I'm still smiling, laughing, studying, learning, dreaming and still loving every minute I fly ... my nose is always up in the air ...

I'm aleady into my instrument training, dry flying the procedures for my multi.I will start flying them soon. Dreams do come true!

The Retake: Short and sweet- oops- I mean short and soft! I'll start from the beginning: In the beginning there was nothing, in the end there was a white slip (of paper) and God saw that it was Good. Man was I good! Normal take off ... 28R right closed traffic ... normal landing ... normal takeoff ... short field landing ... normal takeoff ... soft field landing

... no, go around ... then soft field to a full stop ... that was it!! 0.5 from hell to paradise! Now? the sky is the limit!

Keep on smiling, keep on dreaming, keep on flying.

Private Pilot Michelle
(Michelle is a member of the San Diego Ninety-Nines)


Is it worth it? You Bet!

The big day has come and gone now, I know I will remember it for quite sometime. What a scary, satisfying experience, and although you know what I am going to say, indulge me, and let me take you back to your own Private Pilot Checkride.

It all took place on July 19th, which was a pretty nice day for flying - it was the one day last month with no Marine layer, an important fact as I do all my flying from Oceanside Airport. My checkride was in the afternoon, and I spent the morning with my instructor (Stacy) going over some of the more trying maneuvers; steep turns and power on stalls etc.

At the end of the practice session I grabbed a quick bite to eat and then it was showtime! An hour and a bit of questions; vacuum system, airspace, currency requirments and logbooks, and it was time to hit the skies.

My lil' ole faithful 152 raced around the pattern as we did shorts and softs, and then headed out on the planned Cross Country to Palm Springs and Burbank. I was expecting the diversion to Palomar, and was a little surprised when he made me divert to Gillespie. Being from Australia, I am still getting to know the surrounding airfields,and Gillespie wasn't one I was familiar with at all. After figuring out my new times and speeds, we quickly dispensed with stalls, slow flight and all the other fun things I had to demonstrate.

After a great landing (no, really it was!!) we pulled up at the gas pumps, he congratulated me and then it hit me. I had tears in my eyes and a big goofy grin on my face, but what a feeling. It really is worth all the study and effort, and the pride of having succeeded at something difficult is enourmous.

For any student pilots reading this, keep going - and if you don't understand something, ask someone. After a while it does become easier, I promise. And for all the other Private Pilots, I look forward to seeing you soon, perhaps the upcoming Poker Run?? (Sept 30th) Now its on to instrument, wish me luck......

Private Pilot Kristi
(Kristi is a member of the San Diego Ninety-Nines)