The Scoop

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I thought I’d give you the scoop on what happened with the eval. After Duane told us we all passed, we whooped, we hollered, and then our instructor gave us a break, since we clearly had no attention for flight plans at that moment!! We did have to go back to class, but just knowing that we passed made it so much easier! I know people usually say they feel like a “weight is lifted” but I felt about 3 inches taller!

This morning, after a couple classes, I had my de-brief with one of my instructors, which was not very brief at all, actually. It takes awhile to do through the details of 4 days-worth of planes, helicopters and ground vehicles, not to mention electronic equipment that failed or runway surface conditions that needed reporting. There are lots of areas they test on, and everything you say and/or do is broken down into points, including if you look up at a certain time, to look for a plane, or if you reach over to click the mouse on the computer which turns the simulated airport lights on or off. It’s pretty neat/wild. And the whole thing is divided into 4 areas:
– Airport Advisory (which I really needed to pass)
– Vehicle Control (controlling ground traffic)
– ATC Support (which involves passing info and requests back and forth between planes and the IFR air traffic controllers who work in a room with no windows hundreds of kilometers away from the airports)
– Fixed Communications, which is a miscellaneous group, including some weather-related tasks, computer data entry (like pilot weather reports) and other stuff.
I did really well in ATC Support and pretty good in Fixed Com, not so great in Vehicle Control, mostly due to one mistake I made on the last day of eval, and just barely passed the Airport Advisory. And it’s hard to put a finger on why – it’s not like I consistently didn’t know how to do things, I just made little mistakes here and there that added up. Some mistakes were certainly due to nerves, even though I felt quite calm and good while in the runs. (Imagine the mistakes if I had felt nervous!!) I made a few bigger mistakes in the last 10 minutes of the last day, when there were so many planes calling, I must’ve been a bit overwhelmed (although I don’t remember feeling terribly overwhelmed at the time). There are so many ways that you can make mistakes!! But, I am just *so glad* I passed, and I don’t have to do a re-eval, and I am sure that I will get better when I have some more experience!! I’ve only been doing this since October, don’t forget (actually, more like November) and there were lots of parts we only just learned at the end of December, or in January! It’s a pretty steep learning curve!

So, that’s the scoop, my friends! Slightly mixed emotions, from having passed (yay!), but by the skin on my teeth (yikes!). And I still feel like I’m not ready for real planes, but that will come in time! Have a great weekend, everybody!

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