by Darren Coomler
Hello EAA chapter 1541 Members and Friends,
Here we are at years end in the Christmas season; this will be a year that we are ready to close. A year with a great deal of restriction, but fortunately, flying GA aircraft has still allowed us to fly with minimal infection risks. Unfortunately, it’s been difficult to grab a $100 burger in nearby towns with everything closed!
Personal aviation during this time has given me opportunity to continue flying and reach new milestones. I want to share the story of my recent check ride. As we all know the traffic at Lincoln Airport can be unpredictable. Prior to my flight portion of my check ride, my CFI stated to the Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) that our air field is like the “Wild West”. The DPE is not from this area and had a puzzled look not knowing what he was referring to – as it was 6 am last Saturday morning. After the oral exam and pre-flight we were airborne. The DPE suggested that we do all the necessary landings before the pattern got busy. Upon taking off and taking my first cross wind leg it seems approximately five aircraft appeared in the pattern.
The DPE had ForeFlight open and began to assess the pattern traffic, became distracted and then looked concerned. Just then I called to his attention a Cessna that was in the between us and the runway, in the downwind leg, heading North, who never self-announced. At this point, we kept our eyes on the traffic in front of us and proceeded in for a short field landing. Staying in the pattern, back around, it seemed that even more planes were entering the pattern. After making my short field landing and going around he suggested we “get OUT of the area”. Once completing all my required flight maneuvers and returning to Lincoln the pattern was very full again. I managed to get myself in and get the plane landed, and taxied back to the hangar. At that point he congratulated me on becoming a private pilot.
It was only at this point during a de-brief that he complemented my ability to stay focused and calm during all the distractions of the additional traffic, at which point he then called it the “Wild West”.
I have to attribute my success in part to achieving this milestone to involvement with Chapter 1541. With all the many meetings we have had and stories that I have heard – all this collectively has helped me understand aviation more than any textbook could offer. I can truly attest to the value of our Chapter. As it looks like we have a vaccine on the horizon, hopefully we can be together again soon and helping other enthusiasts to attaining their goals of becoming pilots.
As we are all still sad that we can’t meet in this holiday season and have a year end party like we have had in the past. We are surely going to make up for it next year. Hope all of you stay safe, enjoy quality time with your family and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.