Training for My Commercial Certificate ('license')

Below are pictured the two different aircraft I am using for my Commercial Certificate training:  A fixed gear, fixed pitch prop Cessna 172N which is a high-wing airplane that I do the maneuvers training in and just below that picture is the Piper Arrow III with retractable landing gear and variable pitch (constant speed) propeller - the Arrow III is a low-wing aircraft (which 'till my Commercial Certificate training - I had only flown high-wing aircraft ((specifically Cessnas)) before).













Pictured Above:  PilotGuy pausing for a picture (taken with me squinting at the sun) while my CFII captures the moment immediately before one of my Commercial maneuvers training sessions in the Cessna 172.

Pictured Above: PilotGuy in a Piper Arrow III which he is flying for the 'complex' requirement of the Commercial Certificate (i.e., a 'complex' plane - retractable landing gear with variable pitch ((constant speed)) prop).  Since I'm headed for my CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor) after the Commercial Certificate, my CFII has me flying from the right side (in both the Arrow III and the Cessna 172N that I am doing the Commercial maneuvers part of the Commercial training, in).  This is a relatively recent photo taken 12/24/2004, just a few days after my birthday (12/21).


September 10, 2004

After passing my Instrument Checkride, one of the first things the FAA Designated Examiner said to me was that I had just passed the hardest rating in General Aviation and that what lay ahead wouldn't be anywhere as hard (at least NOT in the same way or intensity).

So, I start my first day of Commercial training, September 15th and am looking forward to looking out that windscreen again.  I'm going to try to incorporate at least a few photos into this phase (as there will be more opportunities to do so). 

Just so it is clear; the Commercial Certificate isn't the last step for someone who was interested in an airline job (which I'm not) THAT is the ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) Certificate.

While certainly not a 'cake walk' working on my Commercial (and later my CFI) will be a lot more fun and less intense that the instrument rating.

The BIG perk is that I will be able to see out the windscreen again (won't have to wear those annoying view-limiting Foggles glasses on beautiful clear days, like I had to do while working on my instrument rating). Though there is fair amount of book knowledge (still, nothing like the Instrument <jeesh>) for the Commercial, most of it is learning to demonstrate approximately 8 maneuvers and be able to demonstrate flight in a 'complex' aircraft (I will do this part of my flying in a Piper Arrow III since it meets the 'complex' requirement as it has retractable landing gear and constant speed prop (essentially a variable pitch prop)) . The maneuvers I will practice in the planes I normally fly; Cessna 172's.

The maneuvers I will learn will consist of the Chandelle, Lazy Eights, Steep Turns ( up to  ((typically only 50 in the plane I'm doing the maneuvers in)) 60 degrees of bank), Steep Spirals to a point, Turns ON pylons (in short, keeping the wing tip center reference fixed on the 'pylon' that is being turned around - basically, this involves knowledge/understanding of a concept called Pivotal altitude ((a specific altitude based on ground speed that allows one to demonstrate this 'illusion', for lack of a better word))). Most of the work in the 'complex' plane will be learning to use the extra control that will be in the cabin to control prop pitch (in the planes I normally fly the prop pitch is fixed) and being able to demonstrate emergency manual landing gear extensions). There is a more study into the intricacies of systems - but despite how the latter might seem to you like a 'full plate' - it is an easily manageable challenge which isn't anywhere as difficult as the Instrument rating was.

Surprisingly, once I finish my Commercial (which won't take anywhere as long as the Instrument Rating) and am working on my CFI; most of the work will involve ground study of the 'how-to's' of creating a lesson plan,,, etc. The flying portion involves getting used to flying from the RIGHT side of the plane (since that is where the instructor sits). Most CFI's have told me that the adjustment is minimal and not that hard with some training. The only other catch, besides the written exams that are required for both the Commercial and CFI is that during my CFI checkride I will not only have to demonstrate the maneuvers I did in the Commercial training and fly them from the RIGHT side - I will ALSO have to explain the maneuvers as I'm executing them. May sound easy, but there can be an initial brain 'disconnect' to the speech center <grin> when performing a 'high performance maneuver like a Chandelle or Lazy Eight. The only other thing I will have to do for the CFI is get a spin endorsement from my instructor. Basically one enters spins with the instructor and demonstrates ability to recover from a spin (I'm really curious about my first experience at the spins - I've heard different stories about spin 'first-times' from reverting to the 'fetal position' at the bottom of the cabin <wink> all the way to just enjoying the maneuver. If I were to guess what my first spin will be like, I would guess that it will be a mix of fear and sheer exhilaration - I really don't know... But most of what I've heard is that by the time one goes through the second and third spin recovery it gets to be fun. Curious part is that the Spin Endorsement is required to take the CFI checkride BUT the Designated Examiner is NOT to ask the candidate to demonstrate the proficiency.

New learning,,,, more things to see and know!  I can hardly wait 'till next week!

First day of Commercial Maneuvers - Pitchin' and Bankin' and Grinnin'!!!

Second day of Commercial Training and "Hey, things look a little different sitting in the right seat!" :0)

..... And the adventure continues!!!!

Someone hasn't been very good at keeping their online journal <GRIN>!

Dad comes for a visit and comes along with me for my lesson (My first GPS Approaches)

Yippee!  The Arrow III was available for my lesson today!

It IS just a plane, after all - Thursday's Commercial lesson in the Arrow III

Took my Commercial Written Exam........

Back-off, man!  I'm 'complex' !  <grin/wink>

Heard the word, "Checkride", today!

Into the night.... the Commercial Dual Night Cross-Country

The 'LONG' Solo Commercial Cross-Country (MANY PICTURES AND TEXT!)  Important Note:  Be sure to use the Back Arrow on your browser to return to THIS page!

Dad rides along while I practice my Commercial maneuvers

Practice, Practice and Practice..... <GRIN>

They Arrow III is a lot more quiet without that gabby instructor in the plane

Did a Dual Session today; Checkride is getting closer and I'm LOOKING GOOD!

Needed 5 more night landings at a towered airport...

Polishing up for the checkride with my CFI:  180 degree power-off precision landings!

Checkride gets rescheduled for Monday August 22nd - Examiner had to cancel due to Sulfuric Acid Spill..

Monday August 22nd - The Adventure of the Cancelled Commercial Checkride - Continues.......  :0(

FlyKid Comes Along for Commercial Maneuvers

A Spin 'Virgin', no more!!!  :0)

Some days are just too SWEET!  What a great day!!! (got my spin endorsement AND a CHECKRIDE DATE!)

Thoughts about the upcoming Commercial Checkride and other flying thoughts.....

More 'adventures of the Arrow III'.....  :0/

Can checkrides have a 'curse' on them?  <grin>....

Beginning the 'get acquainted' time with the Arrow II (that's right,, not the III) on Monday!

A Saturday afternoon practicing all the Commercial Maneuvers with FlyKid, on board!!!

First day flying the 'temporary replacement Arrow' in prep for next week's CHECKRIDE:  Flying the Arrow II !

Second day flying the Arrow II, checkride 5 days away.....

Never have two 'letters' been so hard-fought for <grin>:  The Commercial Checkride, at last.....

What a glorious thing we do; still basking in the post-checkride, 'afterglow'.....

Below graphic designed by: Jeff Bucchino,
"The Wizard of Draws" (copyright owner)

Click PilotGuy to return to previous screen