Commercial rating tips?...

Over Christmas break I’m trying to pound out the single-engine commercial rating. I already passed the written, have the required 200hrs. PIC, and am now beginning to read through the oral exam guide. I will be doing the training in a PA-28-200R Piper Arrow.

Any advice in the way of what to expect or focus on is greatly appreciated. These “private carriage” “commercial operator” concepts seem kind of subjective. I guess I need to do more reading…

200 hours PIC? Did they change it? I had to have 250 when I got mine.

My advice is take the AC and go practice your maneuvers, and IFR air work. It’s an easy check-ride, the instrument check-ride was/is the hardest ride you’ll take.
Study your regs, I.E. Airspace, rest requirements, ALT airports and WX requirements etc etc.

But most of all don’t go out drinking with the buddies till you’re finished, put the ax to the grindstone and STUDY.

Goes to show even more how I need to go crack down and study…It is 250 total hours. FAR 61.129. As soon as my college semester ends then i’ll be working on it full time.

Good advice on the cracking down instead of going out drinking with the buddies. I remember putting the nail in the coffin on the social life when I had to get the instrument rating done. It’s was a good feeling when I finished though…makes it all worth the work.

The instrument rating was harder then my LR-Jet type rating.

The commercial check-ride is a piece of cake. the ATP is even easier. Just read the material and know the basics. KNOW YOUR AIRSPACE. like Special use, Prohibited and restricted. Know your Cloud clearances and and vis requirements for all airspace and know WHY things are different above 10,000ft MSL.

Runway signage, runway signage, runway signage. The Feds are quite particular about avoiding runway incursions, and with this in mind you can expect your examiner to ask you at least several questions on this topic. Your examiner will most likely expect you to have all the exact signage nomenclature memorized as well as being able to correctly interpret the information they convey.

Make certain you’ve read all of the FAA’s latest publications that have anything at all to say about each of the subject areas that were covered on the written.

Be aware that the best answer to the question “what should you do to get out of wind shear (or microbursts)?” is to avoid getting into it in the first place.

Runway signage, runway signage, runway signage.

Know the METARS codes for as many weather phenomena as possible off the top of your head.

“I’m not sure, but I know where to look” is NOT an acceptable answer.

Did I mention runway signage?

Keep in mind that aerodynamics and performance related questions are asked with typical GA aircraft in mind, so don’t haul out “heavy-specific” stuff.

Don’t automatically plan your assigned cross-country flight plan direct; that route may not be your best choice. Be prepared to explain precisely why you chose the route you did.

Runway signage again. Do you get the impression some examiners enjoy hammering that one? :smiling_imp:

Of all the things related to a commercial pilot, you really think airport markings/signs are the biggest concern??? Not performance maneuvers, ground reference, regulations, weather, aerodynamics, systems, etc, etc, etc… But freakin’ runway signs? :wink:

If it isn’t, I would agree it should be.

Seems that the biggest aviation PR mess outside of accidents come from runway incursions.

99% of the oral is about IFR operations and commercial ops. and how you can and can not hold out to the public.
Mind you I took my ride 8 years ago, but they if they want to hammer someone on signs they should do that to private pilots (even though 2 “professional” pilots took off from the wrong runway and killed some people and themselves in the process.) Private pilot with low time OR only fly a little each year are more of a problem when it comes to runway incursions. (open the flood gates- I’m sure everyone will pipe in on this comment)

I’m telling you if you study the GLIME, you will pass no problem. EASY CHECK-RIDE. EASY EASY EASY.
Plus if you can’t do steep turn, or a stall or a chandelle. then practice till you can, cause you’ll be doing the Steep turns and stalls FOREVER. it is part of every 135 check-ride and type ride.

Examiners tend to focus on whatever the FAA says is important this year. A decade (or so) ago the simulators were all loaded with data from real world windshear accidents, so we all got to practice full power, gear down, full flap go arounds. With the stall warning or stick shaker going off. In the clouds. At night. And the sim instructor laughing behind us.

If this years buzzword is runway incursions then you can bet you will get more than one question on that.

A good examiner will pick and choose questions, when he/she finds something you are weak on, well, expect more questions. On the other hand don’t try to dig your way out with BS. The good examiner doesn’t mind giving a bit of instruction. If you don’t know or are not sure ask him BEFORE you have dug the hole.

Since this is your commercial check ride expect questions on what you can and can’t do with that license. As you have already heard, the hardest ride is already behind you.

Good luck,
John in Saudi

**Or **complacent experienced pilots. Most of the publicized incursions happen at the busiest of busy airports and you don’t find that many low time or inexperienced GA pilots at these airports…

Incursions happen anytime anywhere, but you won’t be so quick to hear about the incursions at a national level at KJAN. You will hear about incursions at KORD, KLAX, KLGA yada yada yada.

That’s funny cause KTTD led the nation in runway incursions (according to the guys that worked in the tower, that I had beers with every wed for over a year) Don’t see big jets with experienced crew there

I completely agree that it is both a safety issue and a PR mess as well. I just found it really funny that the item that was stressed over and over was runway signage. There is so much information and skill required for the commercial that to narrow it down to just one is daunting. Just gotta study, study, practice, practice, practice. And ask the last couple of guys who took the checkride from that examiner what his hot buttons are!

Were most of those on Thu morning?

John (running and ducking)

HAHA! that was good

I don’t. The point I was making was that one’s examiner might think it terribly important; some of them do have favorite items they enjoy beating to death. With the examiner I had for mine, this seemed horrendously important to him.

Feedback re: the oral that I’ve gotten from other applicants who’d taken checkrides with this same examiner is consistent with my own experience with that particular DPE. Either the guy has a signage fetish, or that “fill in the nomenclature” quiz he hands out to all his applicants first thing (as if re-administering the written?) is merely his way of keeping the applicant occupied while he’s finishing his paperwork.

Something to keep in mind however is that a runway incursion will get your certificate suspended, so perhaps this signage and markings obsession may not be such a bad idea.

My point here is that if something is being said to seem inordinately crucial in the mind of the examiner who gives you your own checkride, it is.

If so, then it appears you got the point. I can almost guarantee that this will stand out in your subconscious so much (like an extremely bad, horribly stupid song you desperately want to forget — but you can’t because it’s so bad!) that you won’t have any trouble with that item. A presentational concept you may wish to keep in your instructional toolbox if you decide to go the CFI/CGI route (it works).

And ask the last couple of guys who took the checkride from that examiner what his hot buttons are!

Excellent idea! You should be picking the brains of everyone you meet who’s taken a checkride from your DPE. You should be able to discern a common pattern of what gets asked on the oral. If the same items keep popping up from applicants ranging all the way from sport pilot to ATP, whether they barely squeaked by on the written or scored 100%, expect to get asked about it, because you will.

I’m not going back to instructing, and you can’t make me !!!


I was supposed to have my first commercial lesson today… The weather is making it near impossible…

KMKE 191444Z 1915/2018 08020G30KT 1/4SM SN BLSN FG OVC001
FM191600 05020G30KT 1/2SM SN BLSN FG BKN002 OVC005
FM191700 03020G30KT 2SM -SN BLSN BR SCT007 OVC012
FM192200 02013KT 5SM -SN BR SCT007 OVC015
FM200400 02009KT P6SM OVC015
FM200600 07007KT P6SM OVC050
FM200900 09009KT P6SM OVC025
FM201600 12012KT P6SM OVC025

I just hope we have enough “good” days so I can get this done before my next college semester begins. Getting VFR weather round here in the winter seems like an anomaly.