Well, after 269.4 hours of flying experience, I can be paid as a pilot. I officially have a Commercial Pilots License. This is the final chapter before becoming an instructor.
The checkride had already been delayed a few weeks earlier due to bad weather and snow. The commercial rating is not an instrument rating so we needed good visibility to complete the test. Saturday was forecast to be bad to worsening weather but the examiner called me at 5AM to let me know that the weather was holding off a little bit and if I could start early, he could too. I picked up the airplane, a Cessna 172RG (has a retractable landing gear and a constant-speed propeller) and arrived at Raleigh Executive Jetport (KTTA) at 9AM. We immediately started on the oral portion of the exam. This exam covers a lot of the same material as the Private Pilot Rating but in much more detail since this is for the “professional” level.
Satisfied with my answers, the DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner) told me to get the plane ready to fly. We took off quickly and went through the required maneuvers before the weather worsened. After completing all of the maneuvers, the final maneuver is the 180 degree power-off spot landing. This is one of the commercial maneuvers that worries every candidate. You get one shot to pull the power at the “abeam” point of your landing spot on the runway and then judge the airplane’s glide to land on your “spot.” You fail the maneuver if you land 1 inch short of your spot or further than 200 feet beyond. That is not much room on a 6,000 foot runway. I made the prettiest landing I have ever performed on that maneuver landing within 20 feet of my spot. The DPE complemented my abilities, I credit luck and the Lord above.
After giving me a temporary certificate, I flew the plane back to North Triangle Aiport (KLHZ) before the weather got nasty for the rest of the weekend.
Meanwhile, while preparing for the Commercial Checkride, I have been able to take up a couple of Great Commission Aviation students for demo flights. Both Stephen and Patrick have gone up for an hour or so each to see if they actually like flying in little airplanes. Both had the chance to take the controls for a bit and both seemed to really like the experience. Now, on for me to finish the CFI and CFII instructor ratings so these guys can start their journey!