It is a cold and rainy day today but there was a spring in my step as I trundled down to the flight school.
The owner had called me to go down and sort out the paperwork we needed to do, slightly apologetic that it had taken so long but he’d got 6 different applications on his desk that week.
I realised that my perception of time passing was skewed by the sheer excitement I was feeling at the thought of flying as a proper pilot. There was no hurry really, the sky isn’t going anywhere.
Of course, there was the small matter of the English exam to be tackled.
No, I am not making this stuff up. In order to comply with ICAO language standards, I have to have an official language endorsement on my licence. Each Country was left to its own devices as to how they implemented this. Canada decided on the Aviation Language Proficiency Test, to be taken by all PPL candidates. The flight school owner was almost apologetic. For someone like me it is complete and utter BS! You can view the guide here for a rough idea of what is involved but suffice it to say that I informed Bob that I wouldn’t be studying for this one.
The test is a spoken one and badly written in true Transport Canada style, it isn’t timed per se but you have to note down the start and finish time. We managed it in just under 5 minutes, despite stopping for the odd giggle over my creative improvisation. I don’t think that March airport gets a Tyrannosaurus Rex roaming the runway too often.
Once that was over, there was more hand shaking, a few signatures from me and the all-important endorsement of my student permit. This counts as my temporary aviation document. It gives Transport Canada 90 days to issue the real deal.
“Congratulations , you are now officially a PPL”
My first response was to tell him that I wanted to book a plane on Sunday! Excited beyond belief. He leads me behind the dispatch desk “you’re one of the family now; let me show you the booking sheets.”
I’m awarded the amazing privilege of writing in my first ever plane booking as a PPL. Sunday is looking busy but I find an hour and a half gap and write my name in. I also flick ahead a week. I’ve promised a work colleague a flight as a wedding present for her and her husband. I write that one in too, But Sunday is all about me and RTH.
Our first flight together.