As you might understand from the entry I made yesterday, it was a big day for me as I successfully completed my PPL checkride for the inspector. However, it did not turn out quite as it was planned. After spending the night in Uppsala I woke up seeing a very low cloud base over the whole city and albeit higher than the evening before it was way below the minimum requirements for flying. But remaining positive, I said farewell to the person who had taken care of the nerve wreck so well and headed out to Sundbro with the fog becoming even thicker and thicker the closer to the field I come.
At Sundbro I decided to prepare the aircraft, SE-GON and the last bits and pieces of my paperwork just in case and it should turn out to be a good decision meanwhile the fog became even thicker and soon I could not see the tank station from the club house, a distance of less than 100m. By now I had realized that my checkride was bound not to happen and rigged my computer and my cell phone to run my office from here as I saw no reason arriving to work 45 min before I had to leave anyway.
The LFS inspector arrived just before noon and we agreed to wait until 1400 to see what would happen and if nothing else, complete the required paperwork so that we could “just” fly the next time. The clouds had somewhat lifted but were still right on the limit. At 1300, weather was good enough at Sundbro but Västerås was still covered in thick fog. After checking the METAR the inspector says, “Have you ever been to Bromma” and the answer was no, I had never been there but after some consideration I decided to give it a shot as I knew I would be a very unhappy person if I hadn’t at least tried. Said and done, we wandered out to SE-GON where I did my pre-flight inspection describing to him what I was checking. Jumped in to the plane and ran through the checklist before taxiing out to holding at runway 21.Called up Uppsala Tower with “SE-GON, C172 at Sundbro requesting to leave the control zone via Uppsala-Näs”. A quick response later we were cleared to head south and when I moved the throttle forward, any anxiety left in me vanished. From Uppsala-Näs, I set course towards Uppsala and requested from Arlanda to pass through their control zone down Lake Mälaren towards Stäket. I do think that the reply from the controller surprised the inspector slightly:”S-ON, cleared in to the control zone via Vassunda then proceed via Sigtuna and the waterway towards Masten, R16 A-C is active” Flew over my house and out over the lake and just before reaching the boundary of Arlanda TWR we received a “cleared to leave my frequency have a good weekend”. Continued towards Sävsjö before contacting Bromma tower to receive clearance for a low approach to runway 12 and at 300 ft we started our climb again and turned towards Älvnäs avoiding Drottningholms Slott. From there we turned towards Lena NDB and just before reaching the inspector says with a surprised voice ”ooops the engine died” and I performed the necessary points on the emergency checklist and the engine magically restarted. 🙂 Turned towards Sundbro and as Uppsala tower was now closed I maintained the Sundbro frequency and climbed to 1600 ft where it was now time for some air work. Started with an “almost stall” i.e. the alarm sounded and we went just passed this, no problems there, 45 degree turns, no problems there either, turns at 60-65 kts, best ones I’ve ever done and was then asked to return to Sundbro maintaining 1500ft. I was then asked to do a power-off landing and keeping full concentration not to set the wheels before the threshold, I suddenly heard the inspector say “that was 2 meters after the threshold, can you do a similar one from 1000ft”. Surely enough, even if I came in a bit to high on final I gave 40 degrees of flap and sunk like a stone making an ok one 20m in. Finally, when thinking I was due for a normal landing he calls says “let me take 10 degrees of flaps for you, ooooops they do not seem to be working” I mumbled something about “poor American handicraft” and maintained 5kts more than normal on the various stages and performed a landing, 1 h 35min after off block, that left me wondering if the wheels were really on the ground. Vacated the runway and taxied towards the hangar. I didn’t believe my ears when he said “if you do not crash in to anything now I can only congratulate you to your PPL.” Didn’t quite believe this until we were back in the club house and I received the following piece of paper in my hand:
When I came back to my car, I sat wondering if I had really achieved this, had I obtained my PPL and considering the “minor” obstacle with my eyesight that I thought would stop me the whole way until just last year, I smiled to myself and had an enormous ego boost.Read more about it here.
Drove via Uppsala city for a cup of tea before heading down the 255 that I have driven so many times before and took a quick shower before heading over to Anders and Josefin for a fantastic dinner and a generally good time with both of them and their children. Before I end this entry with some pictures from last night, there are many people I would like to thank for supporting me along this journey that started in September 2006. However, to mention everyone would take longer than writing this entry so instead I hope you know who you are and take the credit you deserve.
Now to the pictures