ATP Total CFI Program Day 3

I haven’t used dial-up since the mid 1990s, and now I remember why.

I’m 99% sure this is a problem with the ISP (Netscape Internet), because I have no problems connecting, it just says my password is incorrect. Which is, in itself, incorrect. I even had Netscape’s tech support confirm it, after spending half an hour on hold. Why do tech support people always assume the problem is that the customer is too stupid to operate a computer? Sheesh.

My hotel room here at Texas Station has high speed internet available for an extra fee. You don’t even need a computer — they let you access it through the television. Or you can hook into an ethernet connection with your laptop (again, for a fee). Pretty slick. I’m tempted, but honestly don’t need it. Being away from the ‘net will be good. That’s what I keep telling myself.

I’m not totally cut off, though. ATP’s Cheyenne facility at the airport has high speed access, which’ll come in handy for checking weather, filling out my 8710, and keeping the email spam at bay so I don’t come home to a thousand virus-laden messages.

Speaking of weather, it was another scuzzy day. We managed to get in an hour of pattern work with me “instructing” my CFI on multi engine operations, cutting the engine on him in the air and on the ground, and so on. What I really feel the need for is some time to run through the checkride maneuvers in sequence. If those are down cold, the instructing part will come easy. Can’t do that, though, until the weather clears enough to fly in the practice area.

The good news is that I’m getting a lot more comfortable with the airplane and flying from the right seat. Today I learned that the DPE checkride schedule is full until the end of the year, so if anyone flunks the flight portion of a practical test, there’s no way for them to get a re-test before the program ends. Which is no problem as long as everything goes… perfectly. On all three checkrides.

I inadvertently made a shrewd move in choosing to go through this program before the end of the year. The FAA has notified ATP that as of January 1st, they are reserving the right to have an FAA inspector perform any and/or all initial CFI practical tests. The good news: FAA inspectors are free. The bad news: the pass rate is historically pretty low. I’m not sure how the FAA will even be able to handle the quantity of applicants ATP turns out. But what do I know? I’m just a guy trying not to ring in the holidays with a “notice of disapproval”.

Hey, here’s a neat fact: I found out that my instructor, Dan, is a classical pianist by trade. He got into film scoring and is good friends with the guys who wrote the Broadway musical Avenue Q, which opens here in Las Vegas pretty soon. I think he said he studied at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Dan’s father is a corporate pilot and that’s how he got into aviation.

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