The Commercial Gouge


New Member
After a strange and busy week, I passed my commercial single and multi checkride today! It all started with the oral about a week ago and, due to weather, just wrapped up today.

The oral was pretty mellow and nothing really caught me by surprise. The examiner asked me the normal questions about my VFR cross country (Fresno - KFAT to Boise - KBOI) and wanted justification and thought process for the route choice, altitudes, alternate plans, safety considerations, etc. We then went into the weather and I informed him of my 'no-go' decision due to icing and ifr conditions over portions of the route. Nonetheless, we still went over all of the information I had gathered and examined various weather scenarios that existed on the west coast for the day.

Things then moved toward airworthiness, inop equipment, certificates and documents, inspections, and commercial pilot privelages and limitations. I'd studied my behind off and answered appropriately in the scenarios given. I made sure I kept the "I am not comfortable enough with my knowledge in that area and would consult the FSDO or AOPAs legal services" reply ready in the wings but thankfully never needed to use it.

Next on the list was aircraft systems. He asked me which areas I felt weakest in and I, very stupidly, said "Electrical!" So, of course, that was where we started. Fortunately, my idea of weak was different than his. While I don't have the exact schematics memorized, I know the essentials and that was what he wanted. After fuel, hydraulic, gear, environmental, control surface, instrument, and other assorted aspects of the plane, we got to the most interesting part of the oral. He asked what kind of sound the gear warning horn made. I replied that it was an intermitent horn. He wanted more. (This is a good time to mention that one of our instructors who is preparing for stage VI check instructor status was video taping the oral for review.) He then asked me to stand up and make the sounds for the gear warning, stall, and inner, middle and outer markers. That's right, folks. Somewhere out there is a videotape of me saying, "buzz, buzz, buzz" "wheeeeeeeeeeee" "beeeep, beeeep, beeeep" "beeeep, beep, beeeeep, beep" and "beep, beep, beep".

After I stopped blushing and he stopped laughing, we continued with various scenarios, proceedures, and items from the POH. Overall, the oral was much less intense that I expected it to be. I think I actually over prepared and could have saved myself a lot of stress by not spending every waking moment thinking about my answers.

The Single engine flight was a few days later and went pretty well. There was some light turbulence and fairly strong up and down drafts due to light cumulus buildup, so I stopped and started over on a few maneuvers that were obviously not going to work out. We did the normal comm stuff : steep turns, chandelles, lazy-8s, simulated emergencies, 8s on pylons, slow flight, stalls, soft and short TO and LDGs, and power-off 180s. I restarted the steep turns (WAY strong updraft pushed me off my altitude) and lazy-8s (lost my bank angle due to turbulence) but he didn't seem to have a problem with it. I simply said, "This maneuver isn't correct, I'm aborting and starting over." I didn't finish it, but rather stopped in the middle when I realized it wasn't going to be pretty. Nothing really unusual happened and it was fairly routine.

The multiengine ride was this morning and it went well also. We started out on the first leg of my cross country from the oral. Just after the first check point, he gave me a diversion which was no problem thanks to a local VOR and we headed for one of the local practive areas. Once there, we did slow flight, stalls, steep turns, single engine work (full feather and restart), a Vmc demo, and an emergency descent before heading into KMAE for short field TO and LDG, single engine LDG, and ground cuts on the TO roll before heading home to FAT. I could have held my max speed a little longer on the emergency descent, I could have been a touch more stabilized on my Single Engine approach, and I lost about 50 feet on my right hand steep turn. Other than those things, it went off without a hitch.

Truthfully, the commercial exam was much less intense and difficult than I thought it would be. The examiner was great, I'd practiced the maneuvers until I knew them very well, and I went a little overboard in my oral preparations. I was certainly my own worst critic. Not to say I don't have a lot to learn and plenty of experience to build, but I went in feeling like I was underprepared and left feeling like I was quite solid in almost every area.

What a relief!
Congrats!! I must be a great feeling to get two more ratings out of the way!

I have my commercial checkride in a few days, so I have been hitting the books big time. Any tips!??


Simple: Do what you always do, don't change your habits just for the checkride, and don't let stress effect your actions.

At least that's what I try to do!

Good luck on your ride. I'm sure you'll do well!
You know it's funny... I "feel" like I am progressing quite well, but at the same time I feel as though I must be missing something. The commercial manuevers are coming together, and I have a pretty good understanding of the systems involved in my aircraft, but I feel like I am forgeting about something! I just hope I don't discover some something on checkride day! :) I have my final groundschool test tomorrow, so I guess that will be a good guage of my knowledge...

You know, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I always get this way when checkride time comes! I am 3 for 3, so I guess I am doing something right!
Hopefully that 'feeling' is your conscience telling you that there's still a lot to learn. I passed my commercial without any real trouble, and - while I was thrilled to have the new ticket - I couldn't believe that *I* was now a COMMERCIAL PILOT! I have so little experience and so much to learn. It will be a long, long time before that little feeling leaves my head. In fact, if you didn't have it, I'd worry.

You'll do great. Make sure you let us know when you pass.