I was mentoring a young pilot this week and Ernie's name came up. It's been over twenty years since my experience with him but it would seem that little has changed. Then he played solitaire with real cards. I can't say it was during my oral, because as far as I recall, I didn't even have an oral.
Other pilots could've envied my experience at that point in my career because it came early and quickly. I was lectured up and down by him that I hadn't paid my dues and the instructors who spent a total of 1.7hrs with me, had better experience. Maybe they did. There were rumors that they were incentivized to sign applicants off with the least time possible.
I'd been warned at the time, but stepping back into a smaller. less complicated plane, can be intimidating. And he knew it. The screaming was non stop. I had read elsewhere that he had been an army interrogator during his time in Korea (no, not the war).
Anyhow, he had me do a stall. During the recovery, he pulled an engine. I responded, by treating it like a Vmca demo. Then he really started to scream. $#@% What are you %$# doing?!?!
Fearing that my checkride was in jeopardy, I said timidly: I'm not sure Mr. Strange what you're looking for.... ah but if you show me... ah... I'll give it another try.
He grabbed the controls and did it again; only this time he skillfully maintained directional control while applying full power to the operating engine while the stall warning screamed for what seemed like an eternity. Do you know why I did that?
Because, if you lose an engine close to the ground in a flare, you're not going to be able to chop the power.
It was the most cockamamie explanation I had ever heard since the Downwind Turn.
At that point, I grew a pair and said: Check ride is over and I let him fly me back to Craig.
He gave me a white sheet of paper that said I had failed (holding patterns, entire flight portion). The rest of the info was all screwed up, probably because he wasn't paying attention. Name was wrong and he had me applying with 4 times the actual flight time that I had..
I wouldn't get my ATP until I upgraded and got typed.
It was a low point in my career, but looking back, I'm a better person for having run up against a few people like this who let authority go to their heads. I'm a lot more understanding and when I hear about someone having a similar experience (as much as that's possible) I'll go back and speak to the examiner.
Question for Military pilots who went through AllATPs JAX: Is it true that they let you fly the plane as if it was a jet? That is, did the examiner operate the mixture, props, and carb heat?
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