Friday, January 8, 2016

On Checkups and Checkrides

 Watch for Ninja DC-3's

Since it's been a stressful week for folks in Blogville and their friends for so many people, the families of Ginger, Lilly, Schatzie, Sam, and Baby Rayne  - who have lost their beloved family members recently as well as Jessie  and Mona's Moms and others who have had sick furry friends in to see the vet for a check.  It's also been a very long work week for me, so tonight, Abby the Lab has given me back control of the computer and asked that I tell you a little bit about my former life as a pilot, specifically, taking checkrides to keep current.

As pilots, back in the day, we had numerous evaluations by senior officers and check pilots with the organization. I still have a few of the old forms, just for nostalgia. There were the usual performance parameters including "Uniform"  for getting caught out of uniform, especially your cap, was a serious breach of the dress code. I did well on that, actually on all areas except for one fellow who gave just an average rating on punctuality. I asked the guy "why the score? I was early!" He said "I never give anyone all top marks. I said (being stubborn and redheaded) "But I was EARLY, what would I have had to do to get a one"  He said "show up early with donuts". Now, just flying to keep basic currency up in case I win the lottery and can buy my own jet and no longer fly for a living, I can rate my own performance using the old form:

Punctuality: I was early. Did I tell you I was early?

Appearance and Grooming: Wearing both socks. Strawberry lip gloss. Trimmed bangs with nail clippers, relatively even.

Medical Fitness - Went through airport security earlier. X Ray and breast exam now current.

Uniform - Khakis have occupied same room as an iron.  T-shirt won't get me arrested.  Felt hat appears as if the dog had gotten a hold of it and there's one burned spot. Crown decorated with fake fur  that's supposed to look like some small creature, with two feathers stuck in brim.  Hat looks like a midair between a bird and Rocky J. Squirrel, however it covers the head .

Weather Briefing -Accu-Knee weather says front has passed.  Checked Temporary Flight Restriction information as no desire to fly formation with cute guy in F16 today.

SOP's: Aircraft had neither military or DOD sticker so did not salute. I did salute a 1986 Buick, obviously lacking turn signals, on the drive to the airport, but used proper finger.
System Knowledge: Can still draw out the entire electrical system of a 727 on a cocktail napkin, without alcohol.

Emergency System Knowledge:   They're beeping and they're flashing. They're flashing and they're beeping! I cant stand it anymore, they're blinking and they're flashing.

Preflight: Did not remove small layer of frost from the airplane with an old Lynyrd Skynyrd cassette case (not that anyone has ever done that or anything). Applied equal kicking pressure to all tires. Removed airport cat from wing without bodily injury. Aircraft is departing with same number of parts it landed with.

Use of Checklist: Performed all checklist items. Did NOT heat up metal ends of the shoulder harness with a Bic lighter for the copilot that kept shoving his seat back into the engineers knees HARD!

Takeoff:  Anti-Smash On. Verified  runway is fairly long as opposed to extraordinary wide, prior to adding power.

Risk Management and Judgement - I did not eat an airport burrito prior to takeoff.
Navigation: Pointy end was kept forward at all times. Both plane and pilot.

Lost Procedures - This isn't lost.  Lost is doing this at .82 Mach.

Emergency Procedures - What the dog! The survival kit is out of chocolate!

Approach and Arrival Procedures: Flew entire approach without once saying to Air Traffic Control "Watch this!".

Piloting Technique: Smooth as glass, everyone was comfortable.
Landing: The airplane may be reused.

Bravo Zulu!  All top scores.  I will reward myself with an entry in my logbook, a frosty beverage and TREATS for everyone in the house!


  1. OK, that was funny but how did you get that doggie picture BOL!?!?

    Keep Calm & Bark On!

    Murphy & Stanley

    1. A friend sent me the picture on New Year's Day once. It's not her dog so I'm not sure where it came from but it always makes me laugh.

  2. I would feel totally safe flying with you as pilot AS LONG as you got your emergency chocolate supply refilled. I do NOT want to fly with a pilot who does not have her chocolate!!

  3. Hari OM
    ....weeelllll, maybe not Lyn-Skyn... but definitely a JT CD case once. On an ancient Vauxhall Chevette in which I had pretty much reconditioned the entire engine but never managed to get the window heater operational. Electrics were dad's department and he wasn't coming near that bomb....eeeeemmmmmmmm, I mean gem...

    ...I'll supply the chocolate as long as I can get ride in that Dakota!!! YAM xx

  4. As a retired USAF Flight Examiner, I simply have to interject that most of the stresses during a check ride are self-induced. But I did like the donut and coffee offerings to the Gods of Stan/Eval, usually within seconds of me intercepting them at Base Ops and telling them it was their lucky day for a check ride. (Why they acted all surprised when they'd known they were in the window for their 18 month recurring, I'll never know) I still remember the litany well - "I won't interrupt you unless I consider it to be a safety of flight issue..."


Welcome to The Book of Barkley. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on Abby the Senior rescue Lab,who we adopted in 2014.

Stop in and say hello. 100% of book sales are donated to animal rescue organizations across the U.S. and Canada and Search Dog Foundation. If you have a non-profit animal organization and would like autographed copies of any of my three books for auction fundraisers or a blog post featuring your organization please contact me at