Another crazy two months of flight training have passed and with it another section of training is finished! On Friday I sat my CPL skills test and passed so I am now a qualified commercial pilot. This milestone see’s the end of my foundation flight training as I now move on to advanced flight training, more commonly known as the Instrument Rating.
July started with me sitting my single engine class rating, which is an ‘add on’ to my final license that will allow me to fly any single engine piston aircraft. The test was pretty straight forward and covered all of the basics of flying the C182. The test only lasted an hour and I was told I had passed before we had even landed! This concluded my single engine training and now it was time to move on to the much bigger Piper Seneca II.
With the new aircraft came a new instructor who i met straight away and we briefed on the first flight. The multi-engine phase of the foundation flight training is really short with only 10 missions (7 flights and 3 sims) to get used to the aircraft and ready for the test. The lessons cover everything from general handling, navigation, instrument flying and asymmetric flight (flying with one engine). Due to aircraft availability and weather these flights actually took longer to complete than I would have liked, however i still got through them and my instructor and I were happy with the progress I was making after each flight.
After a successful practice CPL flight I was put in for my test with the head of training (who is also a CAA examiner). Unfortunately the weather turned bad so I had to wait 5 days before I could actually sit the test.
On the morning of the exam I met with the examiner and was given my route of the navigation part of the flight. We also briefed on the weather for the day, our alternate airfields for the flight and all of the speeds I will be using throughout the exam. The route I was given was to a town called Cleobury Mortimer which is around 30 miles north of the Malvern Hiils.
For the test, after a swift departure, I headed towards Cleobury Mortimer. Unfortunately the town sits very close to several other towns all of a similar size so I actually identified the wrong town initially. After stopping and thinking things through I managed to navigate to the correct town. One the way to Cleobury Mortimer i was given my diversion, which would be to a round-a-bout roughly 15 miles south of Gloucestershire. With a little bit of recalculation enrolee I managed to find the diversion with little problems, which completed the first section of the test. Next we moved on to instrument flying which was all conducted under the hood. This section was mainly made up of basic flying including climbing, descending and rate 1 turns. I was also asked to track to the Daventry VOR. Next we moved onto general handling, emergancy procedures and upset recovery, all of which went without a problem. Finally we returned to Oxford for circuits which included normal and flapless landings as well as asymmetric circuits, go-around and landing.
Once we had taxied back to the ramp I was told that the whole flight was very good, however due to the mistakes in the initial navigation the test was a partial pass.
After a few days I was back in the aircraft to resit the navigation part of the CPL skills test. This time the flight was much better and I passed! Once I had landed I was able to go ad collect my wings and gold epaulettes as well as the SOP’s and checklist for the Seneca V which i will be flying for the instrument rating.