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What to do during commercial?


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Hello, all!

 

I just passed my instrument check ride today under 40 hours. I have something like 50 PIC before I am eligible for the commercial check. If you had a bunch of hours to burn what would you concentrate on? Autos, x-c, confined areas, solos? I am looking for some insight from more experienced pilots on what they think is really important. Thanks!

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If I could go back, and had a bunch of time to burn, I would focus on getting experience in different aircraft. There is a place in LA (no doubt several other places also) where you can get 206 time for $190 an hour. If you fly robbies, get some 300 time also.

 

In terms of what type of flying - I would be doing a lot of off airport ops, confined areas and mountain time. Remember that night hours are always favorable so I'd be doing a lot of night flying too.

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If you're going the CFI route, you could have your instructor, if he's able to teach CFI students, work on talk throughs with you too. You're still doing the same maneuvers, but one of the hardest things for people to pick up is how to efficiently talk about what they are doing while they are flying.

 

Z

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If you're going the CFI route, you could have your instructor, if he's able to teach CFI students, work on talk throughs with you too. You're still doing the same maneuvers, but one of the hardest things for people to pick up is how to efficiently talk about what they are doing while they are flying.

 

Z

 

I agree, the left seat and talking through everything takes a little to get used to. I couldn't believe the garbage that came out of my mouth the first few times I tried to talk through maneuvers! I might have known how to DO a particular maneuver, but I sure couldn't explain it!

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While it could certinly be good to get some time in other aircraft I would spend more time elsewhere.

 

I would review all items in the Commercial PTS and make sure you can do them at the Commercial level. It's not the same as the Private level.

 

I would also ask your CFI to give you some real world senarios during your Commercial training.

 

Have him pick an LZ but not tell you where it is until he gives you the Lat and Long for the GPS. Then you can go from there and see what airspace you have, fuel, time and if you can put the Lat/Long in the GPS. Have him divert you randomly to another airport or LZ and do it all over again while you are flying. This is simular to what you do in EMS.

 

Do some photo flights with your CFI. Have him give you a flight request. Then leave it up to you to determine if you can do it under Part 91 or would it be considered a Part 135 flight?

 

Then I would do some autos at night, both stright in and 180 but not full downs. Then I would put them in the other seat and start having them talk through everything they were doing as though teaching me. It's important though that you stay on the controls, don't let you CFI fly to much as a "student" in role play. You can't log that time as PIC.

 

Sit down with your CFI and come up with a good plan to use that time. Don't just waste it. Try to get your Commercial right at 150hrs. Then you will have plenty of time to work on the CFI and CFII as those can be difficult sometimes.

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Good suggestions so far. I would like to re-emphasize the night hours. They are very valuable if you plan on getting ATP ever and many jobs require "unassisted night" hrs. The more you can get now the better. Also the left seat thing wouldn't hurt.

 

Practicing off airport, pinnacle and confined areas and getting some more time in controlled airspace (B&C) all help. Dial in 180's and straight in's. Commercial check ride was my favorite. I finally felt confident in my abilities and it all came together. Learn the GPS like the back of your hand.

 

Maybe one X-C if you get a discounted rate but hours of S&L doesn't do anything for you. Don't waste your time doing more xc time just to build hours.

 

You can also do your solo xc at night if your school is ok with it. That can save you some hrs too.

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Yeah, I meant to add night time but had to run.

 

The ATP wants 100hrs night. EMS no less than 100 but perfer 150-300 hours night. So, if you plan on doing a lot of XC flights try to do them at night. The more night time the better. When I did my XC and solo hours for my Commercial I did them all at night except for the required day XC. Worked out well.

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The reason I suggest getting some time in other aircraft is mostly to increase your appeal to employers when you are looking for work as a CFI. An instructor who has experience (even if its only a few hours) in different aircraft may well be more appealing to an employer, and can offer a lot of insight to a student. It is easy to make assumptions that all other aircraft are the same as whatever you fly, if you have never flown anything else. It's also easy to get a little lazy or complacent when you are only ever flying one aircraft.

 

Some great suggestions have been made here - particularly having your CFI present you with some real life scenarios and diversions in flight.

 

For your commercial certificate your autos should be at a point where you can manipulate your glide to extend it or shorten it (and turn as required) in order to accurately hit your spot. Don't get in the habit of practicing them from the same altitude and airspeed and entering over the same location over and over. Mix it up and force yourself to get acquainted with flying the aircraft in the auto. You're not likely to be 65kts, 500agl, aligned into the wind, and over a runway when your engine quits for real! If you are... go buy a lottery ticket... and buy one for me too!

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As stated night is great. Also too many people aren't familier with the ATC system. If you're not already get familier with all types of airspace and using the system, "flight following." Also, if you fly Robbies, you ought to head somewhere for 10 T/O and Landings at or above 5000' DA to meet the robbie ferry requirements. It'll come in handy later down the road. Pick some good pinacles, make sure to log the Lat/Long, P.A. and OAT just to make it legit.

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If you are going to go the CFI route, keep in mind that the FAA normally does initial CFI rides. Plus most FAA inspectors like to see the candidate have some sort of CFI guide that they have made themselves. This would be a good time to do that. When I did mine, I started with the PTS and just kept expanding the information in each paragraph. Pictures, drawings, graphs, etc. are good additions. Have your instructor work with you on drawing up lesson plans. This is a must do item for the CFI checkride.

 

The suggestion for flying other types is an excellent one. Way too many instructors have only flown one type of helicopter. While a couple of hours in a Bell 47, H300 or Enstrom will not enable you to instruct in one (you need a minimum of 5 hours) it will give you some knowledge of other helicopters.

 

Get very sharp on your maneuvers and do your CFI right after you finish your commercial. It will be quicker and cheaper that way. Also study Part 135 regs and what you can and can't do as a commercial pilot. (Hint; scenic rides) Also study Parts 119 and 136.

 

Good luck.

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I would have to agree on not building cross-country hours.... at least more than you have to. Cross-country time will come and you can spend your time now on honing your other skills. Have your CFI think of a spot to fly to, but not tell you where it is at until you are either about to take off or in the air. This will help prepare you for those photo flights, etc that you are likely to do as a newly certificated commercial pilot. When you have the instructor aboard, try and have them give you lots of scenarios, simulated engine failures, etc. As well, try and calculate how long it is going to take you to get somewhere, without having it pre-planned. It's the little things that you have to sharpen, and this is what distinguishes a private pilot from a professional pilot.

 

I'll second this one to. Get lots of night PIC while you can.

 

Good luck and good job on the instrument ticket.

Edited by Fidelis
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A lot of what I did was night X-C or day X-C where we went straight to the destination picked up some fuel then on the return trip divert to an off airport site for pinnacle, confined, etc.

 

Another example would be scenarios where my instructor would pretend to be a customer such as he would give me an address and say he wanted to take pictures there. I would look it up on Google Maps, get the coordinates, figure out the route, get a briefing and take him there.

 

During this training my instructor would down instruments or give me simulated engine failures as he saw fit.

 

Days where conditions where not great for X-C we stayed at the airport and did autos, autos, and more autos.

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