Pilot Proficiency Check. Flight test time. The examiner is a check pilot from another company. The ride is scheduled for Friday. I make sure all the right exams have been written and recurrent training signed off. The examiner calls on Thursday. "Let's do it today. The weather will be better than tomorrow." Why stress for another day when I don't have to?
The examiner doesn't enjoy sitting in an airplane watching people stress out. He just wants this over. After one turn in the hold my inbound leg is too short and I never really intercepted the inbound track completely. That's not abnormal for the first time around on a parallel entry. He asks me how I will correct for the wind, and when I tell him how long I will fly outbound for and on what heading, to try to make the next inbound a neat one minute line along the appropriate radial, he is satisfied and calls for the NDB approach.
I tell him I will fly two minutes outbound from the beacon before turning inbound, but he gets bored watching the scenery go by and tells me to turn in early. This puts me high on the approach. I know that is the main hazard of this step down approach, not being able to make the step down altitudes. It's why I chose the two minute outbound. Now I'm fighting to get down and not overspeed my flaps and gear. I don't make the MDA by the missed approach point. I'm too high to land. It wasn't a trick on his part, he was just impatient. He sees what he did, and says he won't fail me. Still I should have refused the early turn. I know my airplane. I'll take the low score there.
When I get the ride report back I grimace again that it's only good for a year. An instrument rating only has to be renewed every two years, and not too long ago PPCs were good for the same length of time, but they've now shortened it to one year. The first time that happened I called the examiner up to tell him he's made an error on the paperwork. But there's a good thing, too. He didn't even give me a 2, the lowest passing grade on that approach. It's a three, the "minor errors" rating. I don't know if he forgot, or felt badly for asking me to turn early. At any rate I'm licensed to commit aviation in this aircraft for another year.