Tommy Condon is a student at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. He has been sharing his Success Stories with Flight Training’s Facebook page since his very first solo in 2013. We’re proud to bring you Tommy’s latest achievement.—Ed.
Ever since I first started my ever-expanding career in aviation, I never figured myself to be sitting in a special aerobatic Bonanza E33C on my commercial checkride only two years into my training.
With that comes the special phrase from air traffic control that will frighten many. For me, that was, “Rocky 79 short approach approved, cleared to land Runway 10L.”
At this point we had already completed the maneuvers and precision landings. I made it this far with no complaints and now all that is left is the dreaded, heart-pounding power-off 180.
This is when my examiner said, “Alright, let’s see the money maker.” (Pun intended.) As we came abeam the intended landing point, the power went to idle. Did I mention the Bonanza is no Cessna when it comes to gliding?
I pushed the nose over, watching the VSI near -1,000 fpm! As I turned onto my final approach, I noticed I was low. I thought, This is it, I’ll see if I can get in ground effect and burn this drag off.
We were in ground effect at the beginning of the runway. As I aimed for the 1,000′ footers, my back-pressure was gradually increasing almost nearing full aft! It was time, the airplane wanted to be on the ground.
Chirp, chirp! Right on the mark! That day, I truly realized how much of a pal ground effect is!
Every day I am thankful to be in this industry and the challenges it offers, which are well worth the effort to accomplish. It is important to remember that some may burn out of the industry, but those who stay will truly understand the emotion and fulfillment behind to see the sights we see, the satisfaction, and the connections we build among each other.
Name: Tommy Condon
Event: Commercial pilot checkride
Where: Rocky Mountain College, Billings Logan International (BIL), Billings, Montana
Airplane: Beechcraft E33C Bonanza
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