Visibility: good
Temperature: 18°C
Wind: 150°, 10 knots, gusts up to 15 knots
QNH: 1015hPa
Location: Drewitz (EDCD)
Equipment: Cessna 150

My alarm clock wakes me up very early today. It is the big day – the check ride for my private pilots license is scheduled for this noon.

I arrive at the airport early. The instructor and I do the flight planning together before we take-off for Drewitz, were we will meet up with the examiner. It is about half an hour as the Cessna flies.

Last night, the examiner gave me the routing on the phone. Drewitz (EDCD) to Kamenz (EDCM), from there over to Bronkow (EDBQ) which we are going to use as a turning point and then back to Drewitz. On the way we will do some air work, in Kamenz we plan to do emergency landing drills and a landing without engine power. I am not familiar with the area and I have not been to Kamenz before. We will see how it goes.

In Drewitz we still have time for a few landings. My first approach is pretty lousy, the second one is a bit high and after the round out I drop the aircraft onto the runway with a thud. The third try is better. I’m not sure I’m ready for this.

We taxi to the apron and wait for the examiner to arrive. He is on a check ride with another student from my flight school. When they arrive, the other student and I shake hands and he tells me not to worry. “He is a nice guy”.

The examiner and I do a quick preflight briefing. Then we take off. My instructor has told me to keep talking. So I talk. I explain everything I do and  comment on everything I see. The examiner nods and does not say much.


The first part of the trip is easy. There are many references to navigate by. The air is rough and I have difficulties holding my altitude. It can be difficult to find an unfamiliar airport. Luckily I find Kamenz without any problems. I enter the pattern and we land. The cross wind is close to the limit of the C150 and I am having difficulties working against the drift. The landing is not cat like but acceptable. We go around and as we are climbing out, the controller calls us. Pattern work is not permitted during the lunch time at Kamenz. Neither the examiner nor I knew that and so we have to change our plans. We have to come back down to pay for the landing. So we make the next approach the landing without power.

No power

We climb to 2.000 feet and I fly over the runways threshold. Then I announce my intention, make sure the mixture is rich, turn the carburetor heat on and pull the throttle to idle. I trim Lima X-Ray for best glide at about 80 mph and make a 180 degree turn to the left. I check the position relative to the runway. We are sinking fast. I turn towards the runway and we come out of the turn very low. I get a bit nervous and the examiner tells me to add a bit of power. Bummer, that is not the idea of the drill. I don’t know if that is a serious problem or not.

We park the aircraft, pay the landing fee at the tower and go back after a little break. The instructor points at the tower. The elevation of the airport is painted in big numbers on the wall. 495 feet. My altitude indicator shows over 600 feet. “There are the hundred feet you were missing on the landing” he says. When we left, I set the altimeter to the QNH. That is the pressure altitude that is published by commercial airports. I am surprised that it is so much of a difference. Before we go again, I set the altimeter to 495 feet.

The next part of the trip leads to the way point of Bronkow. I am getting more relaxed. My navigation works and the examiner is getting more talkative. I have prepared the radial of a near by VOR as confirmation for my navigation. I turn the navigational radio on to the VORs frequency (tell the examiner about it) and watch the VOR indicators slow movement as we get closer to the way point.

Air work

The last leg of the trip is very easy. There is a very big power plant just right of Drewitz and I can see it from the waypoint. So from now on, we just go towards it. We are using this bit for “air work”. The examiner lets me fly full circles at a specified bank and we do stall drills. When it is time to contact Drewitz that we are approaching, he tells me to fly another landing without power there. I fly over there threshold at 2.000 feet again. This time I make the turn steeper. When I am sure I will make it to the runway, I start setting flaps. 10 degrees, check altitude and position, 20 degrees, looking good, 30 degrees, the little Cessna feels like a giant holds it by the tail. The nose is in a steep dive and we are crossing the threshold at about 20 feet – good.

“That’s it” the examiner says. “Was that enough or did you have enough?” I ask. “I’ve had enough” he says without smiling. We taxi to the apron and he tells me a few things I should work on for the future. “You will get your license in the mail” he says and shakes my hand. Now he smiles.

On the way back to Strausberg, I fly my last leg of the day. I am tired but very happy. After take-off, I contact the controller in Drewitz. “D-EALX leaving the frequency with a newly passed check ride.” The controller congratulates me, my instructor smirks.

To be continued…


(originally posted on May 20, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/ppl/)

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