Monday, January 20, 2014

Week Forty-One: Transition Check Ride

Pretty busy week, a lot of flights and a lot happened. I was only three rides away from my Transition check ride, so I finished them up by Tuesday to be ready to check on Wednesday. The weather has actually been pretty amazing, with some slightly gusty winds. Anyway, my last three flights went well, so I was ready to go for the check ride. We briefed up and headed out to fly.

The check ride profile calls for a heavyweight simulated single-engine straight-in touch and go. So we went around the pattern for the landing, and as we were taking off to head out to the MOA, the gear wouldn't retract normally and I had to quickly reduce power and pitch up to keep from overspeeding. As I did so, my IP took the aircraft and from that point on, I didn't fly at all. It was an Incomplete overall, given that I hadn't messed anything up so far.

We couldn't fly later that day, so we ended up postponing until Thursday. Took off at about the same time and the conditions were about the same, so nothing major had changed. I didn't have to do the heavyweight pattern delay again, so we headed straight to the MOA. Overall I flew okay, but not my best. My patterns and landings weren't the greatest either. Overall I wasn't feeling the greatest with how I did; it was one of those flights where despite your best efforts, things just kind of turned out bad.

We resumed the ground evaluation, having started it the day prior, mostly doing a couple of Emergency Procedures. You have to talk through an EP, saying what you would do in the case of it happening for real. There is a very specific way you do this, and there's always a couple "gotchas" that can screw you over. My first one was a fire warning on takeoff, and I talked my way through that one just fine.

The second EP was my last thing I had to do on the check ride. It was a specific type of engine malfunction where you have to shut down the engine, but before doing so, the emergency checklist tells you to check the AC generator crossover (which allows one generator to power the entire electrical system). If the test goes bad, you can simply turn the generator back on to perform a couple of important actions before you lose electrical power to those items. So it's vital to do this step.

What ended up happening was I read through every step in the checklist (like you're supposed to) and thought to myself, "OK, I will definitely check crossover like the checklist says and then shut down the engine." But right after I thought that, I immediately read off the engine shutdown steps and said out loud that I would do those. So basically I completely ignored the checking crossover step. Immediately after saying I'd shut the engine down, I realized what I'd done, but from that point there's really nothing you can do. I felt sick to my stomach that I'd literally just thought, "Hey I'm going to do this," and then completely lose that thought for some god-awful reason. I still can explain to myself or anyone else how that happened. I just spaced it. And it cost me big time.

I ended up hooking the check ride for Emergency Procedures. He said my checklist discipline was unsatisfactory, and for that reason I would receive a U for the individual EP grade and for the overall flight grade. The silver lining is that I wouldn't have to fly, but I'd need to redo the ground eval the next day. He also debriefed me on various other things that went wrong, but none of them were complete deal-breakers. Meaning that had I just said five words: "I will check the crossover," I wouldn't have gotten into this mess.

Anyway, the next day I had the repeat ground eval, and it went fine. So yeah, that was my first hooked flight of T-38s, my Transition check ride. Not happy with it, especially since now I have burned my 88 ride (which is a progress check ride and there's only one). Anyway, it's over now and I'm done with Transition. We'll be doing our cross country next weekend, so this week will be full of prep for that. Formation is also not too far away, which will be awesome.

That's about it, a longer post for a busy week. Hope yours was better than mine.

Take it easy,

~ Dakota

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