Long overdue part 1
Long time between posts, huh?
Apologies for this and some form of explanation is in order. Perhaps some silly superstition on my part, but I have been training for my Commercial Pilot Licence, and posting about it made me feel like I would jinx it or something? Seems a bit unnecessary now it is all over.
My commercial flight test had to be completed in 3 stages, for reasons I will now go into.
The test was originally booked for the end of April. I met with the testing officer, who gave me a set of waypoints to fly to south of Sydney and told to get to work. I plotted a flight plan, completed weight and balance, takeoff and landing calculations, fuel plan and got all my cockpit resources sorted and performed a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft in under an hour. The testing officer then quizzed me on my KDRs, which are the bits I got wrong from my CPL theory tests. There are a couple of items which also have to be covered, AOCs, flight and duty time limitations, privileges of the licence and so forth. Then it was time to fly.
The flight is be to conducted as if it was a commercial charter, although as Mike has pointed out, in a commercial charter nowadays there would be a computer prepared flight plan and more reliance on GPS navigation. So it's more like a commercial charter circa 1975. The necessary passenger briefings were delivered and we taxied out to the holding point. All the necessary pre-flight checks were carried out from memory then verified against a written checklist. Takeoff safety briefing given then clearance obtained and line up checks then full power for takeoff. All going very well so far. Unfortunately my favourite Piper Arrow SFJ was unavailable so we had to take LSG instead. She is reluctant to climb, old LSG, for reasons no LAME or pilot can discover. Possibly she's just a tired old girl who needs to go out to pasture. With full fuel and two pax on board we clawed our way into the air at 300-400 feet per minute.
We left the Bankstown control zone and headed south for Mittagong. El Nino still in full swing and the skies were grey and gloomy, occasional showers and a lowish ceiling. The weather was not good, but not so bad as any respectable commercial pilot would cancel the flight. Legal, in other words, so there was nothing for it but to launch and do my best. By the time we got to Bowral it was clear that although we could continue, there was no guarantee we would get home again as rain showers paraded towards us from the Tasman Sea. The testing officer gave me every hint he could that he didn't feel like staying overnight in Goulburn so I turned the bus around and we headed home. Overall very pleased with the flight although pretty disappointed we couldn't get everything finished first time. Back to Bankstown and arranged a retest in 3 weeks time.