Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

License Next Step: Commercial Certificate

AFIT’s accelerated Commercial Pilot program adds finesse, control and the ability to get paid

Preparation Tips and Tricks

Accelerated programs aren't for everybody. They demand a lot out of the student, but yield a confidence that traditional FBO programs can't match. The consistency that everyday repetition of maneuvers provides is astonishing. The key to success in an accelerated program is preparation. The student must arrive on training day fully immersed in knowledge. Having earned ratings through traditional and accelerated methods, here are some tips on what works:

1. Take the written first. Passing the test first assures you that you'll have the knowledge necessary to pass the oral exam and answer questions about why you're flying a particular maneuver.

2. Use a good home-study course. I recommend the King Schools courses. There's a certain something in their style of teaching that makes the material stick. There are other good courses out there, but King Schools remains the gold standard for a reason.

3. Travel elsewhere to train. Being away from home and the distractions of your day job makes an enormous difference in how much you absorb during training and how well it sticks.

4. Practice the basics before you start. Become reacquainted with basic skills, such as using checklists, making callouts ("Airspeed alive," etc.), and the difference between short-field and soft-field landings and takeoffs, etc.

5. Supplement with current test questions. In addition to the King Schools course, I augmented with ASA's written test preparation guide. It's excellent.

6. Study what the FAA says. Get a copy of the FAA's Airplane Flying Handbook, Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook, Aviation Weather Services, and Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

7. Prepare for the oral exam.
The best oral exam guide available is the ASA Commercial Oral Exam Guide. Start reading it long before your checkride. Know it, and you'll breeze through the oral.


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