Commercial Pilot

Scenario

I am hiring you to take me on a day VFR cross-country flight to one of the destinations provided or to one agreed upon. It will be just us for now. However, we also will be carrying a box full of sales materials in the aft cargo hold that weighs 100 lbs. We also have items in the back seat (flight kits, etc.) that weigh 20 lbs.

We are flying to the destination so I can attend a business meeting. The intent is to conduct this flight in VMC conditions under VFR.

This is the reason we are going on the trip. Be prepared to discuss the aspects of flight planning and variations to this plan as we progress through the oral portion of the practical test.

Practical Test Prep Details

To prepare for the practical test, prepare a VFR cross country flight using pilotage/dead reckoning to conduct the flight. It is preferred to do a direct line route. However, it is not a requirement.

Use of VORs, NDBs, or GPS is acceptable as long as all required calculations are included in the planning and the nav log. I normally conduct practical tests from the KAMW airport so I have put three options for a cross-country flight. Select one for the practical test.

On the day of the test, the flight plan discussion will be to the first fuel stop. Make sure you are using real-time weather for the day of the test and be ready to discuss destination or first fuel stop weather.

If you determine you will need to make a fuel stop prior to the destination, the nav log and flight plan can be just to the first fuel stop and not the destination. Use of either paper charts or digital charts is acceptable. Prepare a Weight and Balance with my weight at 210.

If the practical test will be conducted at another location, we’ll make an agreement on what the destination airport will be for that practical test.


KAMW→KEGE
KAMW→KHTS
KAMW→KAMA

Additional Testing Details

Make sure you bring your username and password for IACRA. This will be needed to have you sign your application once I have verified your identity in the program.

Have your FTN with you.

Don’t forget your government ID with photo, medical (3rd class minimum or Basic Med with online certificate), Pilot certificate, and SODA if you have one issued.


Logbooks—Be sure to total all pages using only ink. Pencil will not be accepted. The FAA considers your logbook a legal record. Putting tabs or markings in your logbook so the examiner can easily identify and validate the requirements of §61.129 will definitely speed things up. Marking or annotating all endorsements will also facilitate the process.

Ensure you have all aircraft maintenance logs or records with you. Bring the MEL/CDL if the aircraft has one approved by the FAA. This will be used during the oral portion in a scenario or may be used in real time if an unairworthy condition exists at the time of the practical flight portion.

Make sure you have real-time weather to brief the examiner with for the practical test. Electronic or printed briefing packets work best for efficient test discussion.

Pre-calculate all performance data available in the aircraft POH.  Base all calculations at the time of testing using the precalculated weight from the weight and balance.

Use my weight of 210 lbs. in your weight and balance calculations.

Don’t forget an E6B and charts to do the cross country portion of the practical test. The E6B does not have to be an old-style whiz wheel. It can be electronic.

Bring any course completion certificates if you attended a 14 CFR Part 141 school.

Many questions come up. Unfortunately I can’t answer all of them here, but I’ll try to help out by describing a couple items that are frequently asked.

The general conduct of the practical test will be to meet and go over all the admin aspects such as insuring you have all required personal and aircraft documents, AKTRs, etc. This normally takes some time so being extremely familiar with the aircraft records and having your logbook annotated will greatly increase the efficiency of the practical test.

Many times I’m asked if paper VFR charts are a requirement for the cross country nav portion. It is not, however, having paper backup is always a good thing. I’m testing on your ability to plan and conduct cross country navigation, I’m not really concerned what method you use. They are all acceptable. I routinely do turn off the “Own Ship” function on ForeFlight during the flight portion. I need to see that you can fly dead reckoning and pilotage so looking at your iPad and flying the magenta line won’t meet the requirements of the ACS. To summarize, you certainly may use your iPad for the VFR charting purposes but you can’t satisfy the ACS by looking at your iPad and flying the magenta line. You will need to be able to conduct actual pilotage and dead reckoning.

The use of electronic E6B’s is also acceptable. Many applicants still want to use the old whiz wheel E6B but I have no issue with either one.

Remember, you are the PIC during the flight. I’m just along enjoying the ride. If an actual emergency occurs, I’ll certainly help but I want to see you handle it. Try to always be the PIC. What examiners look for is your ability to make decisions and act on them. Don’t worry about whether or not your decision is what I would do or what you think I want you to do, I just want you to make decisions.

Summary

I’m sure you will still have questions so please do not hesitate to contact me at any time for clarification! My goal is to ensure you are as prepared as you can be so you will feel at ease during the practical test.