I have been trying to take the final test in my Private Pilot’s license, known as a “check ride”, for nearly a month now. The first delay was due to thunderstorms. The next delay had to do with the airplane I had been using this whole time breaking down and being retired instead of fixed. After an hour of two of familiarity training in the replacement plane, a Cessna 172 m, it went in for repairs for over a week. In the meantime, the company also reorganized, so red tape slowed everything down. A week ago, my scheduled check ride was in process: oral interview went fine; computer problems were being overcome with a printer I yanked out of storage; a 1/4 inch splinter that jabbed itself under my right thumbnail was painful, but still workable; even the weather was turning from crappy to nice… and then came the pre-flight check of the airplane. The alternator belt had snapped in two. Wonderful. On the bright side, a new belt was already strapped in place just for an occasion like this so that the propeller need not be taken off in order to fix it. A mechanic is called out and we can hopefully finish my test. Unfortunately, after waiting for a mechanic to check things out, he declared the alternator bearings shot and nothing would get fixed for 3 or 4 days anyway. Test postponed… again.
Which brings us to today. I prepare yet again for a check ride, staying up late and waking up early to go over the flight plan, weather information, map checkpoints, fuel calculations, etc. I drive out to the airport early to fly out to some other airport where the test will take place… and… the keys to the plane are not on their normal hook. In fact, they are nowhere to be found in the office nor in the airplane itself. I don’t really panic about that since the weather is not cooperating anyway. I wait at the airport for 5 hours hoping the weather will clear up enough for me to fly out and take my test. I wait in vain as I see the sun for 5 minutes during that whole time and by afternoon, it is raining and we postpone everything until Monday. The keys are still missing, but I found out one of the resident mechanics has a spare and I can borrow it if need be if the missing keys are not found by Monday.
On a side note, I really like Jack Johnson.