Things are much simpler when you’re flying by yourself. You already know all the rules and are comfortable in the cockpit, but when you invite a complete newbie along for the ride things get complicated. Not only from a regulatory standpoint — “do you know how your seatbelt works?” — but there’s now a second person who needs to be monitored to ensure that they are still A-OK medically. That’s a lot easier said than done, especially when your buddy conveniently forgets to remind you that he has motion sickness.
I finally did it. After eight months of training, I took and passed the Airplane Single Engine Land Private Pilot Practical Exam in one shot. Back when I started I shuddered with fear whenever I thought about the oral exam and the check ride, but as the day approached and I continued training that fear wore off. In the end it was actually a ton of fun, and for the benefit of those still sweating the check ride I wanted to talk about my experience and draw back the curtain of what’s going to happen.