Ground School Comes To An End…


Well tonight was technically the very last class of my Ground School, even though it was just Mr. Whipple and myself. At around 3.10 pm or so Mr. Whipple sent me an email asking me what time I was going to arrive at Twin Cities Aviation (my school) and that he could come at any time and I could start the test early. I replied that I could be there at about 5.00pm. He then replied asking if I was ready for the test or if I wanted to review anything first. This is what I wanted, and I replied back stating that yes I would like to review first. So with that our emails came to an end and I continued my studies until 4.30 pm when I left for school. Since last Wednesday I’ve been studying and writing down things I didn’t understand or found difficult so I could ask Mr. Whipple during the review before the test.

As I reached my school at 4.55 pm, I saw Mr. Whipple getting out of his truck. We both saw each other and waved as I continued driving to park my vehicle. As I walked to the door of the school building Mr. Whipple was already standing there and said, “Boy you’re going to make me work aren’t ya?” and we both laughed. I then thought to myself that perhaps Mr. Whipple said that because he was just expecting me to take the test and we would go home. But this wasn’t so, Mr. Whipple is a “real” teacher, he really enjoys teaching and is very patient and very helpful to his students.

Once we were in class, I took my books out of my pilot’s bag and Mr. Whipple seated himself next to me. I opened my book with the list of questions and immediately proceeded to tell Mr. Whipple the concerns I had. We went through each question one by one and Mr. Whipple showed me how to do the problems. Then I began the test at 5.55 pm and was finished in about an hour and ten minutes. As I handed the test to Mr. Whipple he asked, “Well what did you think of it?” “I thought it was a bit difficult” I replied. There were many questions about maps I said to him and one on weights and balances. After he finished marking the paper he said I had gotten 80%. In a way I was pleased to hear this, as I thought I had done a lot worse, and then I wasn’t pleased as I was expecting or at least I’m expecting to do much better in the actual final test. “You got 82% in the last test right?” said Mr. Whipple. “Yes” I said. “Well you’re consistently getting around 80% which is a good 10% margin over the pass mark. So if you take the test now, you’ll pass easily” said Mr. Whipple. Again although I was glad to hear this, but then I wasn’t, because I want to pass by a greater margin. It’s not only better, but a personal challenge to myself really. It was a 50 question test and I had gotten 10 wrong.

“So do you want to go through the one’s you got wrong?” asked Mr. Whipple? “Yes please!” I replied. We went through the 10 questions and as before the test, Mr. Whipple patiently explained everything slowly and clearly. At the end of it all, I was really glad I decided to take this final test as it was good practice and also because I learnt more things with the questions I got wrong. I also realised that some of the questions were pretty in-depth, requiring a number of steps. I didn’t think the FAA would give us such questions in a multiple choice test, but then it is a 2 hr and 30 min. test.

Once all the studying was finished Mr. Whipple and I sat and chatted for a while. He asked me if I was still flying or if I was taking a break due to the bad weather. “Oh no, just this Saturday I flew to Fleming with my instructor” I replied. I also explained to him, in quite some detail, how we flew around Class Bravo and requested a transition through Holman airport. He smiled and seemed quite pleased. I told him that we flew there to the Aviation store that allows you to borrow headsets before you purchase them. He was quite surprised to hear that and said he usually purchased his Aviation gear online as he knew what he wanted most of the time. He then asked me when I was planning to take the test, and I replied perhaps this Friday. “Well let me know how you do” he said with a smile. “Do you know of anyone else from the class who had taken it?” I asked. “I only know of Sander and Dr. Rehmann. Dr. Rehmann got 90%! He called me and told me” came the reply. Mr. Whipple removed his glasses and began rubbing his eyes and said, “I’m going to take a break until about mid February before I teach the Instrument Class, and that’s if enough students register”. “Oh yes, I want to take that one too. Do you know anyone else from our class that’s going to take it?” “Oh no, I think they want to learn to fly first” said Mr. Whipple. Why would they want to do that or couldn’t’ they take the class and fly as well? I thought to myself; but then who knows what priorities people have.

Mr. Whipple got up from his chair and began packing his bag, and I also did the same. We talked further as we went toward the exit and Mr. Whipple extended his hand for a handshake and said, “Well let me know how you do in the final, and I will give you a call if enough students register for the Instrument class so you can register also”. “That’s great, and thank you! I really enjoyed the entire class and I’m very grateful for your help and guidance” I said. “You’re welcome”. With that, we both said goodbye and walked to our vehicles. “What a nice man and what a great teacher!” I said to myself as I drove off home. 😀

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