“Good bye, I’ll be praying for you,” Angeline said with a nervous smile.
“Thanks, I’ll need it,” Trevor said equally nervous. He slowly closed the door and walked out onto the front porch towards the car in the driveway. The sun shone brightly as what you would expect for the middle of July. As Trevor opened the car door, a wave of humid heat engulfed him. He then started the car and eased in onto the road heading for Wakatoon Regional Airport.
As he drove down the road, his mind reflected on the past year. “I’ve
been trying hard.” Trevor thought. “My performance today will definitely
decide my future. Flying an airplane is not an easy.”
Trevor was a middle-aged guy who seemed to get himself into everything.
First is was swimming, then biking, then skiing, then parachuting, and now
flying! He had dreamt of being a pilot from his very first years of childhood.
Now his dad had given him the money to prove himself worthy of such a feat. He
was about to embark on his final airborne test with an instructor. If he
succeeded, this was his chance to become a real air pilot!
The faint roar of an overhead plane taking off could be heard as Trevor opened the car door and headed for the field of Wakatoon airport. The airport was quite small, and hosted only a few dozen light aircraft of some of the local residents. As he headed for the rental planes, he noticed a large man inspecting one of the Cessna 172’s. Assuming he was his instructor, he walked up to him. Turning around the instructor noticed him.
“Hi!” he said quite friendly. “You must be Trevor McCarten.”
“I am,” Trevor responded, shaking his hand. “Your Ed Hathort, correct?”
“Yep,” Ed responded. “I’ve done some pre-inspection of the plane; the rest is up to you.”
“Here’s where all that studying makes a difference,” Trevor thought as he carefully went over to the plane, trying not to notice the watchful eye of the instructor. In a few minutes he finished. “She’s looking great, he said, let’s go!”
Pleased, Trevor and the instructor stepped up into the small cockpit and put on the headgear. Turning the key, the plane rocked as the engine roared to life. “This wild beast is now under my complete control,” Trevor thought as he fiddled with the controls. Soon they had their Cessna at the end of the runway. Trevor was sweating with nervousness, every move counted from now on.
“All set?” Trevor asked into his headgear.
“Roger,” his instructor replied.
Trevor slowly applied full throttle, steering the plane with his feet. The plane launched itself down the runway, pushing Trevor into the seat. He glanced around in swift movements. The gray pavement became a blur and the plane shook. Glancing at the speedometer as it hit 60 knots, he eased back on the yoke as the ground went still. He was airborne! Keeping the plane at 53 knots of ascent he glanced back at the tiny airstrip behind him. Ed gave him the thumbs up. “I’ve done well do far, I hope I can keep it up.” Trevor thought tensely.
“Ok,” The instructor said, “let’s head right to 280 degrees and then return to our circuit.”
Trevor slowly banked the plane into a tight 30-degree turn.
“Watch it! Your losing altitude!” yelled Ed, his words like a fist hitting Trevor’s head.
Trevor almost to quickly pulled up. He could feel himself being pushed down into the seat as the G increased. “How could I be so stupid,” he thought. “I totally forgot to pull up as well as bank.”
“Alright lets head back,” Ed said seriously. The way he said it almost sounded to Trevor as is he had just failed Trevor and Ed had given up on him. Trevor banked the plane to the left past the west end of the airport. Once south of the airport, he could see his house far below, like a little irrelevant toy about to be crushed. Tiny cars ran along the nearby highway and bright blue pools dotted the landscape. Glancing to his left, he noticed he was just past the end of the runway. “This is the hardest part,” Trevor thought as he prepared for descent. He slightly lowered the throttle and applied low flaps. They dropped down about 100 feet and slowed down to 90 knots. Once his bootleg was completed, the runway stood below in front of him.
“Your too high!” Ed yelled out from above the engine. Trevor suddenly realized he had turned in too early. He knew he would have to do what all pilots feared – A slip landing while being evaluated! Idling the engine, he banked left and applied hard right rudder. The whole plane swung right and quickly dropped down at an angle. Suddenly every thing seemed to be moving so fast. Sweat poured down his face and he shook with nervousness. The trees rose above the horizon as the grass in the field whipped just feet below the wheels at incredible speed. He undid the slip, and the plane swung back to normal. Leveling out, he pulled up just five feet from the pavement, which had just passed the front of the plane. The plane slowed and there was a buzz of the stall indicator. With a slight jolt, the plane hit the pavement. Trevor quickly pushed the yoke forward and the nose hit wheel hit. Applying the brakes, he slowed the plane to a halt at the end of the runway. “I made it so far!” he thought. Slowly, he drove the plane into the hanger for refueling. Trevor then reached over and shut off the engine. There was an eerie silence, as he got accustomed to the quietness.
A sudden fear swept over him as he waited for a response from Ed. He waited for what seemed like hours of torture to his mind. Finally, Ed responded.
“You passed,” Ed said simply.
“Yes! I made it, I made it!” Trevor yelled with glee.
“It was extremely close too,” Ed said.
Soon Trevor was out of the plane and heading for his car in the parking lot. He had finally finished his last flight in which he was required to fly with someone else. Tomorrow, he could fly on his own.