German Private Practical Exam

Friday, April 1st. Hugo and I arrived at the airfield at about 9am. The task was to fix the landing light, fuel up and head for Bienenfarm (EDOI) to meet Thomas Schütthoff, my examiner to take the German Private Practical Exam. Why? Well, because our holy European Union decided that they can not convert foreign pilot certificates that meet ICAO standards anymore. If you want to do this never the less, you need to pass a partial written exam and the full practical test. So even I have proven that I am capable of operating an airplane in America, I was expected to do it again.

After changing the landing light bulb which burned out during my Easter fire flight the week before I fueled up with 25 gal auto gas and went on to prepare my flight. Because it was an exam I wanted to do it especially thoroughly and after calculating wind vector and weight and balance Thomas called me. He needed to reschedule the exam to Saturday and Braunschweig (EDVE).

So on Saturday morning I did all course calculations and W&B again and departed for Braunschweig. The flight was uneventful but Braunschweig ATC identified himself as AFIS but directed me like he would have IFR traffic around. This is an interesting fact because in Germany AFIS is strictly prohibited to issue clearances and commands to pilots. At the pint the airfield expects IFR traffic the terminal airspace is activated and AFIS becomes Tower with all authorities. Anyway, landing took place on runway 08 behind a pretty fast single engine which looked like a TBM or a Malibu.

After picking up Thomas we departed south to Ballenstedt (EDCB) in former east Germany and close to the Harz mountain range. After three approaches we stopped for coffee and headed than back to Braunschweig.

Back on West German grounds Thomas got me threw the exercises as we closed in on Braunschweig. AFIS instructed us to enter right hand downwind for runway 08 which we did in about 1800ft MSL. After passing the terminal I got command to execute a “short final and long landing”, traffic would be behind us on final. Being almost 1500ft AGL at this point Thomas taught me the circling slip. It sounds strange? It isn’t. It’s just a badly performed straight slip. As you slip the airplane in the direction you want to turn to, you can steer it around the curve by adjusting the bank angle and maintaining a full deflected rudder. That’s it!

Back of the ground Thomas congratulated me for passing the exam and I took of again back home to Celle. At the end of the days I flew almost 4 hours and did 6 take-offs and landings at three different airports. Not bad for a Saturday.



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