The Angle of Attack Show

What can go wrong, will go wrong

Subcribe and stay connected

[vc_video link=”″ align=”center”]

It’s back to California for my commercial training. I would have rather this entire process didn’t turn out this difficult, but that’s just life.

On the first stint in California I was unprepared for the task ahead. Coupled with weather and maintenance issues, it wasn’t going to be possible to finish my training. I simply needed more time.

Then to Utah, which was shown in the previous episode, where I really got comfortable with the airplane.

Now back in California, I had a lot of things going for me. First of all, the weather was markedly better than before. Next, I knew how to fly the Piper Arrow now, and was doing so well.

Unfortunately, a lot of my footage was lost when I dropped my hard drive containing all of my GoPro footage and a lot of other items in between. I was able to piece together this video to wrap up the story after finding out my hard drive couldn’t be recovered for a reasonable price.

Had I had that footage, you should have seen a moment where Michael was flying with me and said, “I don’t know what you did to that old pilot. This is who I thought you were.” It was a great moment!

More challenges lay ahead.

My DPE got food poisoning so bad that he was hospitalized. That delayed my checkride a week during good weather. Then, bad weather returned.

I did get the Oral Test done, which was actually a big relief. It was also nice to do it on a day that wasn’t on the practical test day.

Several days later I got a call out of the blue that Dennis (the DPE) could do the checkride a few hours north in Santa Maria. The winds were also gusting to 25 knots, and I hadn’t flown the Arrow in anything like that.

After some hum and hawing, I decided to go for it. There was plenty of time to get there, simmer down, and be prepared. I did some pattern work and things were looking good. The sight pictures were different, but I found I could accomplish all the maneuvers.

Then came the actual ride. We taxied out and everything was ok. We were sitting in the runup spot, after having completed the runup, and I see this dark wall of clouds coming for the airport. I look at Foreflight, I talk to tower, and sure enough… unforecast thunderstorms.

So I had a choice to make. I could go into it, and risk failing my checkride (almost a surety, it would have been stupid), or I could cancel it right there to be finished another day. I decided to call it, so we taxied back and I waited out the weather.

The very next day was the original date of the checkride, but the winds were forecast to be 50 knots, which was pretty much a no-go for me.

But, it ended up being calm and clear and beautiful.

I got my checkride done FINALLY and was not a Commercial Pilot. The semi-sad part, as I realized later, was that I wasn’t a private pilot anymore. I had ridden that pony for a long time. But now I was trading that in to be a Commercial Pilot.

Get email updates on future episodes

[contact-form-7-wrapper id=”1571″ _wpcf7_vsc_provider=”mailchimp” _wpcf7_vsc_mailchimp_list_id=”72457fb1c6″]


Chris Palmer

Chief Flight Instructor and President of Angle of Attack. Founded in 2006.


Crosswind Landings & Takeoff — Prep for PPL Checkride

Be a fly on the cockpit wall and watch as Leif and I go through some Crosswind Landings and Takeoffs flight training prior to his Private Pilot Checkride.

Read more

Operation Pumpkin Drop… from Airplanes

Broomsticks and bushwheels, witches and wings, pumpkins and props… it’s gettin’ spooky and festive, so watch your six! Halloween is here. What better way to celebrate than to drop perfectly plump and pretty pumpkins from a plane and try to nail a scarecrow. That’s right, it’s time for the annual pumpkin drop. Alaska pilots and …

Operation Pumpkin Drop… from Airplanes »

Read more

It all started HERE — First Flight Airport

[vc_video link=”” align=”center”] On December 17th, 1903, the Wright Brothers flew for the first time in the KillDevil Hills in North Carolina. This event would spark a new era of travel, exploration and discovery and would change the world forever. I’ve always wanted to go back to where it all began. So that’s exactly what …

It all started HERE — First Flight Airport »

Read more

BEST AirVenture EVER — Oshkosh 2018

[vc_video link=”″ align=”center”] Please support the D-Day Squadron on their journey to Normandy France next year. EAA AirVenture 2018 in Oshkosh. What a blast this year! It’s certainly a place for me to get work done and network, but it’s hard not to have a little fun along the way. This year I decided to …

BEST AirVenture EVER — Oshkosh 2018 »

Read more

Stay Connected

Be the very first to get notified when we publish new flying videos, free lessons, and special offers on our courses.