Upon an afternoon wet and dreary, while I pondered annoyed and weary "Will a check-ride ever be in store?"
I arrived at the flight school and knew flying would not be from the airport upon the lake's shore.
"Tis only to be a ground session" I muttered "Only this and nothing more."
For quoth the weather-Raven: "IFR".
Sorry it was such a Poe imitation of a fine poem there but it suits the mood.
Weather was rainy with a low mist for a quality depressing IFR day. However, this flight school wants you to show up and not cancel even on non-flying days.
I was somewhat wary and apprehensive of this, for if asked if I want more private pilot ground instruction my response would be:
I swear, anymore VFR ground and I'll turn into a frickin' tree. Multiple instructors have already tested me extensively and said I have sufficient knowledge and am ready for the oral portion of the check-ride. Not to mention I know what to study and how to study for it on my own by now, and have. Repeatedly. Lots. But I digress.
So I walked in out of the rain and it turns out my normal instructor was out and I had Hunter instead. Apparently unlike Flight 101, DCT does keep some progress notes on students so he seemed to know pretty much where I was in things, for the most part. He stated while we can't fly we can use the simulator.
And so we did, with a bit of trepidation on my part.
The simulator is a nice moving box with multiple large screen with about a 270 degree view and full flight controls and all switches. Unfortunately it doesn't exactly duplicate an Archer and is setup really for a more advanced aircraft but it was close enough. Controls were a bit more sensitive. The Garmin 430 acted exactly like a Garmin 430 with switches and knobs that did their thing. It ran the commercial version of X-Plane, and was in a fashion realistic-ish. The entire box with you sitting in it does move around pretty convincingly with actual bank and pitch angles and it is an FAA approved training simulator.
We did a takeoff and then slow flight, which he thought I did very well, stalls power on and off and I figured out how to improve the power on stall (in short I need to yank back on the yoke a lot more than I typically would do), and steep turns. He did help me improve my steep turns quite a bit and we'll see if that translates over to the actual aircraft.
We also did my first emergency descent on an Archer - 30 degree bank, throttle idle, flaps full down and descend at the top of the white arc. Basically the same as a 172 emergency descent but I had only seen one of those done and not actually done one, so it was nice to actually "do" an emergency descent maneuver.
Landings felt weird in the simulator but were ok for getting the right descent angle and did help somewhat, but the feel and look in the transition stage to touchdown was not working for me.
We talked about engine out landings and he said we're not going to do one on the simulator but we talked through it and he was satisfied that I knew what I was talking about. He also briefly quizzed me, while I was "flying" the simulator, on the Archer's electrical system and engine and I knew the answer to those easily enough.
That's 1.7 simulated hours. Unfortunately, I can't pay for it with simulated money.