PPL Check Ride & Conclusion to My American Adventure

Having not had much sleep, I woke up as early as I could, got ready and my Dad took me to Midwest, arriving at 9:15am.

My examiner, Van Wormer was due to arrive at 10am but he arrived soon after me at 9:30. I realised quickly that the destinations which Van chose for me to plan the check ride flight for were carefully chosen as when getting my weather and information briefing, it took half an hour on the phone because of so many taxi way closures and notices on the airports he wanted me to plan to land at!

Nevertheless, Van sat with me whilst I did my flight planning – I wanted to have it all done by the time he arrived but he knew the briefing was going to be long so he was very relaxed with me.

So I finished the flight plan and then the oral part of the exam began. I studied quiet hard for that part of the exam, going through everything in the syllabus with Brandon which took about 4 hours the previous day. Van was very relaxed about it and it was pretty easy and even when I wasn’t sure I openly said I don’t know but made an educated guess and every time I was right! He would perhaps elaborate and build a bigger picture of the theory he was asking about but I had a grasp of everything that was asked.

Van is a Boeing 757 test pilot. He has a several of his own aircraft, including gyrocopters and gliders. He has his own private runway at his house, so not only is he extremely experienced, but he is living the dream! His daughter is an airline pilot too, so aviation runs in his family. My check ride was the first time that anyone from Career Pilot School was using Van as an examiner and so I was the first student of CPS to receive an exam from him. We usually have our examinations from Mike Garrison but he went to Mongolia so we were all quite nervous using a new examiner!

Moving on, I preflighted the aircraft, talking through every check. Van had no questions and was happy with my checks.

We set off for the cross country.

When I was given the winds aloft from the weather brief, they were very strong. So throughout my flight plan the appropriate calculations for which heading to fly on were calculated. Unfortunately, we left earlier and it was almost completely still, so all my calculations were “wrong”. This means that instantly, I was going the wrong way and even though I knew I wasn’t flying on the right heading and I corrected as much as I could, I had gone really gone off course. I made my way back on course and during this, Van asked me to manually calculate my ground speed. Unfortunately, because I was off course, that meant that I wasn’t near any of the checkpoints which I had made. Additionally, because I was so focused on flying, I wasn’t timing my legs, so my timing was off too, which is another thing needed to calculate ground speed (essentially speed = distance/time). So whilst flying, I had to start drawing new checkpoints and figure out a new strategy for working out my ground speed. It took me quite a while and I was a little worried that I may be failed for this. But when I eventually got it, I was 1kt off (it’s shown on the gps – Van just turned it off whilst I was calculating it). So I think he was impressed by my calculations that he let me off for taking a while to calculate it.

Next, I was asked to tune into a local VOR and after I did that, I was asked some question on it regarding navigation and how I could use VOR with the DME to find my way if I got lost.

We moved on to unusual attitudes and Van was extremely abrupt with the aircraft so it was a tad scary having to recover from a spiralling dive, but I did good! :)

We did slow flight but without the flaps which was interesting because I have never done that before. But it’s essentially the same thing as with flaps but just a tad faster. Slow flight is where you fly the aircraft at the safest slowest speed just before stall. With the flaps, you can fly slower because you’re generating more lift, so with the flaps up, the minimum speed achievable is higher.

After being examined on steep turns which were perfect, I flew for a while under the hood. It was quite a while actually, not that it was a problem since this is one of my strongest abilities because of the hours I’ve spent on home flight simulators, however I knew why I was made to go under the hood for such a long time – so Van could take me into the middle of no where so I didn’t have a clue where we were!

Then came all the emergencies. So Van brought the engine back to a low rpm – not fully idle, just to a low rpm, to simulate a scenario where the engine is spluttering and struggling to run smoothly. After showing Van what I would do to troubleshoot that, we simulated a full engine failure. Both the emergencies went well. For the full engine failure, Van took us into the middle of nowhere in a forest so I would find it very difficult to find a place to land (ie. the place I’d choose to land for the emergency), but I still managed to find a field and lined up really well for it – he was like WHAT!!!!

So after that, he asked me to take us back to Midwest National. So by this time, I had about 10/15 minutes of under the hood time, unusual attitudes, steep turns, slow flight and emergencies. So I had absolutely no idea where we were and I was only a couple of hundred feet above the ground so I couldn’t really see that far into the distance either. No GPS either – Van turned it off!

Nevertheless, as I climbed and circled, I could see Kansas City downtown in the distance and the Sibley Stack too and I so I knew which direction to head in. He said good that’s what he wanted to hear – that sense of direction then figure out the details after.

Using VOR and DME, I worked out exactly where I was and headed back for Midwest.

We did a few landings – normal, soft, short and then an emergency landing. We also did a go around, which I was expecting because Brandon asked me to do one the previous day to make sure I knew what I was doing.

For the emergency landing, because there was an aircraft in front of us, unfortunately, I had to extend my downwind leg and so I was further away from the runway that Van expected. Once I got to a short final, I told Van that I knew we weren’t going to make the runway. And he said okay, I trust you would have landed safely on the grass just before the runway but you can apply power so we can land on the runway just now.

All the other landings went well, landing on the centre line at the right speed and generally soon after the threshold.

After the emergency landing, we went around once more for one last normal landing. After I landed and was taxing off the runway, Van said, “All right! We’ll do your paper work quickly and then you can take your dad out for a flight!”

YAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!! This is how I was given the great news!!!

So after we parked up, we sat in the aircraft for 15-20 minutes and Van gave me some advice on the check ride, kind of like a debrief of the check ride. He has tens of thousands of hours of experience and so I took notes of everything the shared with me. Ultimately, I flew in a way such that Van felt safe, although as a 50 hour pilot, I would never be as experienced as Van would be if we were to encounter an emergency. Hence, it was important for me to listen to his advice and comments.

We did the paperwork which took a while. This was for Van to put in the online FAA database that he’s passed me and for my pilots licence to be sent to me.

Rahul was there to greet me and gave me a big hug to congratulate me. I didn’t even need to tell him that I passed – I just had a massive grin on my face!

I got a picture with Van. After that, Rahul and I headed for a quick lunch with my Dad who also gave me a hug and congratulated me as we met.

After lunch, we went back to Midwest together with my new shiny wings in a lovely box and waited for Brandon and Onon who were flying together in the 172.

We took photographs of Brandon putting the wings on me. Then, I took my Dad up for my first flight as a private pilot! I took him for two circuits – one of them my Dad filmed a video of and the other, he took still photographs. See below! I dropped my Dad off and then took Rahul up for two circuits since he hadn’t been flying for a while!

After landing, I filled the tanks up with fuel and taxied the Cherokee to our hanger. Since we wouldn’t be flying the aircraft, we were storing it away and it was important to have the tanks filled with fuel otherwise moisture can develop inside the tanks meaning that when fuel was put in, there would be water in there too. We took a final video (see below) and then headed back to the school.

We went out pretty soon after that to celebrate, although we didn’t stay out late because I had to get organised and pack, ready to leave back to Scotland the next day!
Didn’t half leave my flight training till the last minute, eh?!

My feelings? Relief I guess – but again like the solo, almost a non event…

I was feeling extremely nervous in the morning as anyone would but we all knew it’d take a lot for me to screw up since Brandon, Rachel and everyone around me was confident for me.

So I got packed but because I was so happy and relieved, I stayed up the whole night, watched a film and stayed on Skype and just chilled for my last night in the USA.

I got up at 7 and got ready for my flight. I was connecting through Philadelphia. On the flight there, I slept the whole way so the flight felt like 5 minutes, which was amazing. I was flying on a CRJ-200 which is the same aircraft that we have a simulator for, which was pretty cool!

When I got to Philadelphia, it took me an hour and a half to walk from one side of the airport to the other to the gate I needed to be at. I slept at the airport for a while, uncomfortable and cold as it was.

Nevertheless, I managed to pass the time and I hopped on my flight to Glasgow! I also sat beside someone friendly so I talked to them on the whole way home, which passed the time really quickly! It’s kinda funny looking back on the flight – I took out my mac and made them look at all my pictures and videos of my whole flight training experience hehe! …and before I knew it I was back in Glasgow!

Thus ending my American Adventure.

Click HERE for Fullscreen! :)

Colorado to Liberty

Yo yo yo!

Apologies for not updating the blog for a few of days now.

I am actually in Liberty now but this post is about the last day of driving from Colorado to Liberty.

So, as a running theme, we woke up early at Singh Sabha Colorado, got ready and did Keertan, then had prontay, dahee and masalaa cha! :)

This trip was the furthest over the other days of travelling – around 620miles it was.

Before setting off for Liberty, we thought we’d check out Denver since we’d been around the area but not ventured into the capital. Since it was Saturday morning, we seemed to have the city to ourselves! We had a stroll around downtown and took some pictures.

Because of the distance we had to cover, we didn’t spend too much time. We set off for Liberty and that was it really.

We arrived around 12:30am hence why I didn’t blog after arriving. It was still 35 degrees celsius when we arrived, so it was a matter of taking everything up and going to sleep because we were both so exhausted from the travelling.

On Sunday, we had a bit of lie in and then headed for the local Gurdwara (30miles away). I enjoyed the Gurdwara – there seemed to be some discipline during the divaan (service) – everyone was sitting in rows and was quiet and it was nice to experience that. Other Gurdwaras on Sundays can be quite noisy and chaotic! Langar was lovely and again there was a structured way to serve it so that was also an enjoyable experience.

Suffering from an unbearable 40 degrees celsius mid afternoon, both my Dad and I went home and back to sleep for the afternoon. I seemed to have suffered more, feeling quite ill during the evening. My dad kindly made dhaal and prontay and that gave me some energy. I went straight back to sleep after and slept all night, hence not touching my blog.

Yesterday morning, we woke up for a 9am start at the office. I went to get my finger prints taken at the police station for part of being able to fly in the US. I also had my first class medical earlier at 2pm and passed that with no problems! Rahul, also known as Mr Dependable, who is my flatmate and works for the school too, took me to the police station and also to the medical practice.

I had my first flying lesson at 5/6pm yesterday evening and I have actually had another lesson this morning but I will talk about that in my next blog post. I had written down some of my feelings before my first time flying: I felt so excited I couldn’t wait. I did feel a little low on energy but I went home after my medical, had a nap and then freshened up, had some fruit and got changed into my uniform and I was excited as ever! I’ll share more about my lessons shortly. For now, here are some pictures from Denver, Colorado

Click HERE for Fullscreen! :)


After having a lovely evening at the Gurdwara yesterday and enjoying our stay, we were undecided whether to stay in Colorado for another day and night or head for Liberty. It turns out we stayed.

We woke up early with the intention of leaving for Liberty. We did Keertan with the Giani first thing in the morning and that was lovely and then had prontay and tea again! (Tasted even better – they made me eat three – I can barely manage one usually!)

Giani Ji offered to take us out to the Red Rocks & Amphitheatre and so we went there with his son and another Singh. He showed us around the Red Rocks which had some lovely view(shows in slideshow) and we also saw what used to be the old Gurdwara before this new one was built recently.

After that, we set off on our day out. We were heading for the Rocky Mountains and saw that a city called Boulder was on the way so we thought we’d stop by and check it out. Probably the best thing we did! In fact probably the highlight of the day! The city is so beautiful! It had such an impact, we even went to an estate agent to try to find some information on property and we started discussing about what it’d be like to live here! It was actually my Dad who wanted to go to Boulder. When he was around 8 when he moved to the UK from India, he used to watch this American Sitcom called “Mork & Mindy” (Yeah I hadn’t heard of it either) and it was set in Boulder so my Dad wanted to see the place since it reminded him of this show! There were a lot of new age/hippy kind of shops. The city seemed to have a lot of people from Nepal and so with this diversity, the city felt very welcoming. The main high street had such a nice relaxed atmosphere – In summary, we just pottered about and enjoyed the scene, the interesting shops and the people. A guy from Kashmir shouted to us “Sat Siri Akaal!” We responded thinking that he was someone who’d travelled to India because he was fair skinned and learnt a bit of Hindi and some greeting since he started to talk to us in Hindi but he then he shouted a Jaigara! So we had a bit of a chat and he told us a bit about the community. Later on, we bumped into this guy (Picture in my slideshow) and he was sitting there with a typewriter with a little sign that said, “A Poem for you”. He was so sweetly spoken and happily let us take a photograph and have a little chat! He bid us fair well by saying, “One Love!”. What a dude! The world needs more people like that!

So, we headed off for the Rocky Mountains. It was a lovely drive. We stopped at the national park, had a little picnic and chilled for a bit then headed back, going through a different city and through a few neighbourhoods (by accident because of the satnav but we still followed it). After coming back to the Gurdwara, we ate and did Keertan and here I am now blogging about my day!

I’m enjoying writing about my day – when I’m writing this I have already forgotten about my day! I need to look at the pictures to see what I did, so I look forward to reading this over in a year or two and remembering my road trip. :)

Tomorrow – up early, Keertan with the Giani, breakfast, then foot down to Liberty! :)

One Love!

Click HERE for Fullscreen! :)

Salt Lake City (Utah) to Denver (Colorado)

Good evening all!

What another absolutely perfect day! :)

I forgot to mention, but at Reno before we left, Dad and I did Keertan together and we also did Keertan this morning before leaving. It was magical. :)

The Giani at Salt Lake City was a lovely man and was very kind to us. We were fed well and in morning before we left, we got prontay like we did in San Fran. They were SO yummy. And for the road, two cups of masala cha. Perfect start to the day.

My Dad asked the Giani about the Mormon community. For those of you who don’t know, Salt Lake City is the equivalent of the Vatican for them, with their head quarters based in downtown Salt Lake City.

The Giani shared with us that they are a very respectful and peaceful community. This had confirmed our experiences of them knocking on our door, but to hear that the city where perhaps the community is most concentrated gave us some perspective. In fact, the Giani told us that once a year, the Sangat go the Mormon Temple and do Keertan! Also, when the Gurdwara was about to be built, the Mormon were the first community to donate for the funding of the project. Straight away they gave like $10,000 (I think that’s the number he said!)

Anyway – we decided that instead of just disappearing off onto the freeway to head to Colorado, we should take a drive into downtown and check out the main temple. We ended up parking, getting out and having a walk. It was spectacular. I could go on forever how amazing it was! We didn’t even see much since we were short for time. I have it in mind to go back for a few days and spend some time at the Temple and around the beautiful grounds. To summarise though, the serene atmosphere, the attention to detail in the gardens, the ponds and grounds, the cleanliness, and the few happy people we met, we left with a very good impression of the community and the city too. Pictures to follow.

So with a nine hour journey ahead, it was important to press on. We stopped at a beautiful lake for some pics, vids and a drink. Few pics to follow. :)

Our journey today was wonderful. Yesterday, we were entering more and more into the desert and as we approached Salt Lake City, we obviously saw the Salt Lake and that in itself has it’s own beauty. Today – as we left Salt Lake City eastward, the terrain became greener and the mountains in the distance allowed us to experience a vast landscape filled with all sorts of interesting shaped rocks, mountains and hills.

We thought we’d arrive in Denver (Colorado) for around 9/10pm but we got here for 7pm which was great! The Gurdwara here again is absolutely beautiful. It’s in the middle of nowhere surrounded by farmland. It’s also massive! We will take photographs tomorrow and I’ll share them either in my blog tomorrow or when I upload all my pics and vids. :)

We arrived to the Giani doing Rehraas and as I heard his sweet voice, I just melted. After Rehraas, we met and he is the most kind and sweet man ever! Turns out he knows the Sangat in South Shields and also a Keertani Singh (Surinder Singh) from Glasgow that I am close to. So that was pretty awesome!

After having langar, doing Keertan and getting comfortable in our large air conditioned room, I have had a bit more time this evening since we arrived early to write a nice blog post. :)

The original plan was to end up in Liberty tomorrow evening however we like it here so much we might stay another night. Perhaps we could head into Denver in the morning then explore around a little bit then relax here in the evening to break up the long drives then head back on Saturday.

My flight training starts on Monday so a day of rest to get comfortable and organised is fine. I can’t wait to start flying! Although I keep being reminded how disciplined I am going to need to be and how it’s not going to be easy, especially with the fact I only have 6 weeks to complete all the training and go home with my PPL. I’m more than up for the challenge! :)

Right I think I’ve shared everything I wanted to! I’m going to try something different and have one thumbnail picture but hopefully a bunch of pictures in a slideshow for you to see. Hope it works.

Peace x

Click HERE for Fullscreen! :)

Reno to Salt Lake City

Good evening/Good morning!

It’s 23:30pm here and just about to head to sleep after a tiring but yet another fantastic day!

This blog post will be super short and sweet.

We made our first proper trek today which was around 500miles from Reno to Salt Lake City. We were on the I80 pretty much the whole way and it was an incredible drive. With the sun soaring down on us in the Nevada desert, we were both struggling to stay awake but mid afternoon, after putting the top down, we pressed on and had an amazing drive, catching some amazing views of the sunset as we drove through the desert. The pictures and videos I took won’t put anything into perspective, however I’ll still share them! I got to drive for the first time too! It was so so awesome! :)

Again, all the pics and vids will come another time when I’ve arrived in Liberty and have some time. Here’s just a teaser!

Peace x

Where the land speed record was set

Greetings from San Francisco

Good morning!

I met my Dad outside the airport with no problems and we drove for about 20 or so miles to the Gurdwara. The Jag is so awesome! The Gurdwara is massive and it’s at the top of a valley! it’s absolutely beautiful!

There weren’t any cars in any of the car parks when we were driving up to the Gurdwara. You kind of have to drive up these stupidly steep hills and then it twists 180 degrees and you go it again and then people park on any of these roads!!! I’ll try to show how steep the roads are on a video soon – it’s mad! Anyway – there was one car leaving the Gurdwara as we entered and apparently he called someone inside to come down and meet us. A Singh came (Didar Singh), offered some langar and gave us a room. :)

After a night’s sleep, we had langar this morning(prontay and dahee) out on the balcony looking over the valley!

With wifi here, Dad is just doing some work and then we’re going to head into downtown!

I wrote this post just before heading into downtown but I don’t think I’ll get to make it live until later on (I’m not posting this in Reno).

YES! All up to date! Phew! :)

Quick Update

As I thought, I haven’t had the time to sit down and write a blog post. :(

I wish I could have kept up with it so my posts had the time stamp during the journey!

I have a blog post ready for when I arrived in California so hopefully I’ll add it from my phone as soon as I can!

My day in San Francisco was fantastic! We went for a stroll around downtown, walked to the pier and spent some time there, went back into downtown, did some shopping and headed back for the Gurdwara. We had a bit of a rest, ate and left for Reno.

Now it’s first thing in the morning and we’re about to head off for our first proper drive to Salt Lake City which will take around 8 hours.

I’ve taken A LOT of pictures on the SLR of San Francisco, the Gurdwaray and the journey to Reno. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I share. :)



Shot with some prettyful roses

...is San Francisco having an effect on me? Or did I already arrive this way? mmm...

Philadelphia to San Francisco

Good morning/Good evening! (5:15pm California Time)

I’m writing to my blog from about 26,000ft, San Francisco bound from Philadelphia.

Almost missed my connecting flight because I was being spoken to by customs for like two hours or something! It was one of those cheese end of film scenes where you hear,”last call for flight 769 for San Francisco”…then it jumps to a slow motion shot of me sprinting with my bag screaming,”noooooo….”. Turns out the gate that was on my boarding card had changed. So after running all the way to one end of a terminal, I had to run all the way back then down another terminal! And look up Philidelphia airport. It’s MASSIVE! Thankfully the plane was delayed so I got there just in time!

Anyway! Just glad I’m here now and no more customs when I arrive – I can get my stuff and leave to meet my Daddy! Yaaay!!!

I’m not feeling tired or weird about the time difference yet. I guess it’s because I stay up late as it is anyway!

Anyhoo not sure the next time I’ll be able to blog – might be a big post after I’ve had a day in San Fran and done some travelling and got some piccies!

Don’t miss you guys back home at all!! Okay maybe I do miss one or two of you and wish you could come along too! Nevertheless, Can’t wait for my adventure to begin! Peace out!



Rising Early

6:30am - sitting at my window preparing for my 15 and a half hour journey...

Good Morning all!

Didn’t get much sleep. Kept waking up checking the time making sure I hadn’t slept in for my flight! I’m glad I’m up early though – means I can take my time and make sure I have everything!

Even though my flights have been booked for a couple of weeks now, I’m only starting to properly believe I’m going to be in California by the end of the day!!!

I am pretty much packed. I just need to get ready, have a nice breakfast, pack the last couple of things and ready to leave at around 9:30/10:00am. :)

I installed WordPress on my BlackBerry a few nights ago. I’ll give that a shot on my way to the Glasgow International or perhaps even whilst I’m there waiting around.

Peace out!

The Day Before…

Vaheguru Jee Kaa Khalsa Vaheguru Jee Kee Fateh!

Good afternoon all!

My adventure begins tomorrow and I thought I’d share my plans with you all, with regards to my trip and the idea behind this blog.

I recently bought www.preetcharan.com so that I can use that as my new business website for web hosting & design. The domain home page is blank because I’ve yet to build that website – this blog is the only thing I’ll be updating and designing and on my return, I’ll have a few blogs and a home page up and running. :)

So, I thought I’d start a specific blog for this adventure I’m about to start tomorrow. The blog, “CPS” stands for Career Pilot School and this is where I will be doing my flight training. It also happens to be the flying school which my father bought this summer.

I plan to efficiently and hopefully with a bit of style too, share my experiences for this adventure, for me to remember but also so that my friends and family can see what I’m up to during my travels.

I am travelling to San Francisco tomorrow. My Dad bought a Jaguar XK8 Convertible (Pictures to follow) and it’s currently waiting to be picked up in San Fran. I will be staying in San Fran on Monday evening and will get to explore on Tuesday morning. From then on, we’ll be having a little road trip across the US to Liberty (Missouri) where our flying school is. We plan to stop by Reno (Nevada), Salt Lake City (Utah) and Denver (Colorado).

As you can probably guess, covering about 2000miles, there will be so many pictures, videos and stories to share and what better way to do it than using a WordPress Blog. :)

I have about seven weeks in Liberty. I have shared this with my friends and family already but I will share it again – the plan is to return with my PPL (Private Pilots Licence). It’s going to be tough and it’s going to require a lot of focus and I will need to fly maybe twice a day for me to build up my hours and experience in time. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen but that’s the plan anyway. :)

I imagine that I’m going to be super busy during my ‘holiday’ – I really do hope I can find the time to blog and share my experiences so I have something to look back on and also for everyone to have something to read/see/watch!

I think that’ll be all for now. I’m about to do the online check-in thing (I saw that there may be wifi on the plane so I maybe can do some blogging up in the sky! :D )

I’ll finish packing, maybe try to build a theme for this website since I’m just using the generic template. Gonna have a nice meal and watch a couple of movies with my flatmate, Andrew. Then hopefully be in my room, winding down and relaxing around 10pm so I have some energy and I’m ready for my 15 and a half hour journey tomorrow!

Peace Out!