|On a gliding day, this temperature profile would be good|
news, but today I could have done without that 5000'
layer of unstable air causing strong thermals.
I expressed my concerns to the examiner, with evidence, and he told me to take five minutes to consider. My instructor (as usual) thought I should go, so I decided to give it my best shot. It was just as I expected, but I think expressing my concern was a good idea as I earned myself a little leeway on the tight accuracy limits.
The IR is a strange test really, because it ultimately comes down to the examiner's discretion. It's very unlikely that a pilot with our experience could complete the whole test within the limits and without significant errors, so technically they could fail almost everyone. Certain dangerous errors will guarantee a fail on that section, but outside of that the examiner takes an overall view of the flight. They want to see someone who is ahead of the aeroplane demonstrating they know exactly what they are doing — situational awareness.
The flight was far from my best effort. I know I missed radio calls, wandered off altitudes and speeds and other misdemeanours, some of which I was lucky to get away with. But I always knew where I was, what I was doing and what was happening next. I reckon that's what pulled me through.
Anyway that's the last big hurdle between me and my airline pilot's licence successfully cleared. The next 'real' aeroplane I fly professionally is likely to be the Airbus A320 on the base training day. No more plastic screens hiding the view, no more ancient analogue instruments and no longer as a single pilot.
|Friends in one of the school's 737 simulators|
After that, a short holiday (remember them?!) and onto the type rating course, where I will need to learn everything there is to know about the Airbus A320 family, not least how to fly the beasts. If all goes to plan, I could be flying passengers on their holidays as early as July.