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Disappointing day

I was supposed to have my FAA check ride today. The weather didn’t cooperate. The ceiling never got above 900 feet during my test period. 

The Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) showed up but didn’t start the exam since the outlook wasn’t good. Even though we didn’t complete the check ride, he hung around for at least an hour just talking. He’s had a run of bad luck with exams this month. As an airline pilot, he usually gets a full week off every month and that’s when he conducts exams. Every exam this past week was delayed due to weather. Now he’s booked solid for the next month with makeup exams.

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If I want to take the exam with this DPE, I’ll have to wait until July.

Yeah, I’m looking for another DPE. At least he was nice enough to make some recommendations. One option? Take the check ride in Louisiana. That would require me to either become familiar with a different plane or fly the one I usually fly over to Louisiana for the exam. WHAT?!?

The DPE told my instructor to endorse me for a flight to Hammond, LA and back. That’s a 268 nautical mile flight that would take about 3 hours in this little plane. My longest flight so far has been 2 hours from my home airport to Tyler, TX.

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I have confidence in the plane. Another pilot flew it to Colorado last month, a 9-hour trip one-way. I’m just not sure how I feel about taking the plane that far by myself. It would be an interesting trip, for sure. Making the flight involves crossing through Class B and C airspace as well as two radar service areas. The plane can make it in one go, but I’d probably schedule one stop if for no other reason than to grab some lunch or take a break.

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If I can’t find a DPE with a reasonable schedule, I’ll have to consider making this trip. As I told my wife, it would be a real treat to make my first flight between Texas and Louisiana while I’m still just a student pilot. It would be even better if I go one way as a student and return as a private pilot!

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