Despite the day’s mischievous nature, I passed my CPL skill test on April Fools’ Day. It was a nice day for a change. The weather has caused us some delays during CPL training, because we’ve flown in VFR. Finally after three weeks of trying everyone has flown their skill tests and we’ve all gone commercial now!
The CPL (Commercial Pilot License) is in short a license to make money by flying. It allows you to act as co-pilot in commercial air transport (CAT). CAT is defined as the carriage of passengers, mail or cargo for remuneration. CPL also allows you to act as pilot-in-command in single-pilot aircraft or in other than CAT operations, often referred to as aerial work. Examples of aerial work are aerial photography, crop dusting (aerial application of pesticides), aerial advertising or reindeer counting flights (sounds exotic right?). To act as pilot-in-command, that is the captain, in CAT operations, you need the ATPL. This is why we studied the ATPL theory. We will graduate with a frozen ATPL and earn the full ATPL once we gather 1500 hours of specified experience. As you can see, CPL is a pretty big step regarding one’s flying career.
Since the last blog post, we have flown the CPL cross-country flights and one more general airwork flight before the skill test. All the cross-country flights were flown in VFR and the navigation was done mostly with a help of a map. This is what we had practiced before during those 100 hours of PIC flights. So in that respect there was nothing new. Of course by now we have to show a different level of professionalism and to take into consideration the customer we’re transporting. This includes passenger briefing and travelling comfort.
We flew most of the flights at minimum altitudes to make navigation a little harder. We did some diversions and practiced single-engine operation during cruise as well as approach, go-around and landing. We were allowed to plan all the flights by ourselves and we did manage to visit some nice airports. Also added a new one in my list, Lappeenranta (EFLP) in Eastern Finland. All in all the CPL flights have been very enjoyable and it’s been great to fly after the loooong ATPL theory period. Also I liked the DA42 very much.
The CPL skill test was flown in two parts. The cross-country part and general airwork was done in the real aircraft and the engine failures and other failures were done in the Frasca trainer. And there were a lot of failures. An engine was shut down three times, there was a landing gear malfunction, an alternator failure and finally both engines failed. Fortunately at that point we were by the airport already and managed to land on the runway. A sweaty hour once again, but fun in its’ own way!
Here’s a ton of pictures from the CPL flights. I hope you enjoy them too.
All in all the training hours for CPL training for me were 15 h 55 min of which just over 10 h was cross-country. We also earned a multi-engine class rating with the DA42.
Right now we’re on a little break from school, but next up…