Well it’s official, I am a Commercial Pilot! For multi-engine aircraft at least. How did the checkride go you ask? I’m glad you asked! The checkride is a pass or fail situation, so I am unable to give you a letter grade or percentage. But what I can give you is how I felt it went. The checkride consisted of two parts, the Oral quiz, and the Practical flight. The oral was about 2 hours long and I felt very comfortable answering all of the questions the examiner asked. Examiners tend to like to find an area that you seem to know the least about, and question you for more details on that subject. On this particular checkride, she found out my inexperience with crossing the U.S. border and what steps are needed in order to do so. I knew the basics. You must have a radio operators license, you must call ahead to Customs and let them know you are coming. However the examiner was also very practical, and I told her I would certainly not plan on crossing the border without first studying and questioning someone who has. From what I’ve heard, it’s not something you just go willy-nilly doing without first knowing what’s going on. She asked a lot of questions about VFR operations. I had no problem answering those. She also asked a lot of questions about performance in the Seminole, which I thought was weird, since I already had my Private Multi-Engine license and had already been drilled on a previous oral about that. But hey, I’m not complaining, I knew all the right answers!
Ok, onto the flight. When we started the Oral portion the clouds were reported at 3,500 feet broken and expected to continue like that for most of the day. I was really worried that we would only be able to knock out the oral portion of the practical test that day because I needed at least 4,000 feet AGL to do an Engine-Failure, which was required on this checkride. By the time we finished the oral to go flying the ceiling had raised to 7,000 feet. Sweet! Well, almost sweet. There was a 12 gusting to 17 knot 20 degree crosswind. Oh joy! Welcome to the start of fall. Now it’s important to note, I have not flown the Seminole in a crosswind of this caliber before. But again, the examiner was great and said, “lets just make our first trip around the pattern a normal takeoff and landing so you can get a feel for the crosswind”. Off we went, takeoff was great, immediately went into a crab on climb out. But man, the downwind leg went super fast with that tail wind. In a matter of seconds I was putting the gear back down, few more seconds later I was turning base to final and trying to slow her down. First landing was not terrible. A little bit harder of a touch down than I like, but within standards. Anyway in an effort not to make this blog post unnecessarily long, I will just say, the rest of the flight went very well, my best landing (which was honestly my main concern for the flight) was the short field landing, and it was beautiful.
Ok, so what are my plans now. What’s next on the list of accomplishments for my career? Well I need to get my Commercial Single-Engine addon. This will just add Single-Engine privileges to my existing Commercial license. It should be a faily short Oral (just questions about the performance of Single-Engine aircraft) and then the flight. The flight has some different maneuvers than the twin. So I need to get up and practice the maneuvers a bit before I take the checkride. I expect to take my checkride in the next few weeks. After that, I will start studying for my flight instructor ratings. I would like to get all three flight instructor ratings. The CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), CFI-I (Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument), and an MEI (Multi-Engine Instructor). In order to take those checkrides, I will need to knock out three knowledge tests. The CFI-A, the CFI-I, and the FOI (Fundamentals of Instructing). I will also need to start practicing the same maneuvers I did for my commercial rating from the right seat. And also practice teaching. I need to be able to explain to a non-pilot how to perform a maneuver. So my friends may be getting some free flights, provided they listen to my jibber-jabber for a bit and tell my how I did.
Thanks to everyone for their continued encouragement and support. It really helps having people interested and encouraging me to “keep it up”! So I thank you.
Until next time…