This isn't an FAA thing, it's just an FBO thing.
Wednesday March 4th, 2012. (Weather Skies clear, 66*F, Winds were 040@12knots gusting to 16-17knots)
Our flight was scheduled for 3:30pm but since I hadn't heard from mike I figured it would be more like 4:00pm by the time we got going. So I got the keys to the plane and went out and did a very through pre-flight inspection since the previous flight I found the frayed cable on the other plane. Not that I wasn't doing a very detailed look before, but finding that cable really made the pre-flight that much more important to me than before. These are planes that are maintained by an FBO for the reason of renting them to pilots to take out and fly. So of course they're inspected every 100hours and well maintained. But that really doesn't change what I found.
Once Mike told me he was almost there I let him know I would be out at the plane going over things. Mike walked out to the plane with no headset, which didn't surprise me since we were, as I thought, going to review for the pre-solo written test. We walked in and said he was going to grab some stuff off the printer and he'd be back in a second or two. So I sat down at the table and waited for 30 seconds or so before he showed back up. Very nonchalantly he tossed me the test and said, ok go ahead and answer as many questions you can if you're stumped let me know and we'll review the question.
I guess he thought I was ready for the test.
Here I am sitting down looking at this two page test thinking...A) I thought we were going to review this material before the test at some point B) Wait...some of these I know we've never covered.
But I get out my pen and answer the first question, the second and so on. There are a few questions I could answer only because of another book I've been studying out side of our flight time together. I make it through the test and give it back to Mike, whom I'm thinking is going to start saying..."close but not quite" or "it's 1,000 not 2,000". Except he starts mumbling all my answers as he's going over saying "that's right", "yup", "correct"....Are you kidding me, I answered almost all of the questions correctly, you mean I PASSED?! Holy Crap I wasn't ready for that, or so I thought. As it turns out Mike knew I was ready for it.
Then...we went flying! The runway at Bolton field runs from 220 degrees Southwest one way and 40 degrees Northeast the other way. And since the wind was blowing right down runway 4 it made for a very short take off. So we flew out to the training area just South of London and started out the flight with basically the entire private pilot check ride. Which is what I have to do with an FAA official in order to obtain my Private Pilot Certificate. After that Mike wanted to introduce me to cross wind landings and he knew just the place. Madison County Airport. Just a short five minute flight from Bolton field. Madison's runway runs pretty much East/West. And with wind coming from the North East it made for one wild ride! I made the first attempt at it, but Mike took over when he knew I was having too much difficultly, and the other I did with a little help from Mike. He said "not to bad for your first real cross wind attempt". So that made me feel pretty good about it.
We flew back to Bolton field and I landed, taxied and parked the plane. After we got out and he entered the flight info into my log book, again we talked about when I'd solo. We set up some a couple more times that we could fly, and we scheduled them for later in the day so that we might not have as strong of winds if any at all. My next lesson should be my solo, since Wednesday was too windy. I can't believe how far I've come since we started!
11.6 hours in and a life time to learn!