As it can take a while to get a booking, I had persuaded Neill to ask for a test booking and then we could dot the i's and cross the t's in the meantime, but last night Neill said the words I have almost given up hope of hearing,
"you are ready"
Well, you can imagine what a high I came home on!
We flew one hour dual in which he pulled two things out of the hat which are reserved for students about to be tested: he asked what I would do if cloud was descending, making minimum height operation hazardous and I said I would have to find a field, land and re-assess the situation from the ground. He agreed and said, "let's see you do it". This is different from an emergency landing in that you fly down alongside a promising field and size it up, look for obstacles etc. Then you fly along the intended landing track at about 5' checking the surface before climbing up, going round and finally putting down. Just before the wheels touched we climbed out again and headed home.
I love that low-level stuff....the discipline of keeping just airborne....with precise throttle control and the surge as you power out! I can be a bit reticent in banking at low level on the climb-out, forever afraid of doing a Bader and touching the ground with my wingtip, but Neill has encouraged me to be firmer with this. Earlier on I'd done a powered, shallow approach at a few hundred feet to Pitsford and because there was negligible wind it felt very fast indeed and I got a bit spooked by the speed and hit the throttle just before touch down; I needn't have. Neill says it always feels a lot faster with no wind. But it was good to see Pitsford again and I then demonstrated a short-field take-off.
Then, right near the end of my dual hour, Neill pulled the most exciting exercise yet...he completely stopped the engine and I did a perfect emergency landing on runway 05 before he sent me off to do some solo engine failure exercises over the runway.
55 mins Dual; 40 mins Solo......late in a day on which it hadn't looked flyable all day. It was well worth the wait.
I am ready.