Thursday, February 23, 2006

Commercial Pilot Flight Experience Requirements

FAR 61.129 sets out the flight experience requirements for an applicant for a commercial pilot certificate, airplane, single-engine land (CP-ASEL). To make sure that the IFR Pilot doesn't miss anything, this will be an occasionally-updated posting in which milestones can be tracked and their completion noted. So, it's probably of not much interest to anyone but me. Since it's My Flying Blog, however, I can put whatever I want here, whether you like it or not.... If it's bold, it's done.

Current as of 5/28/2006:
  • At least 250 hours of flight time as a pilot that consists of at least:
    • 100 hours in powered aircraft, of which 50 hours must be in airplanes
    • 100 hours as pilot in command flight time, which includes at least:
      • 50 hours in airplanes
      • 50 hours in cross-country flight of which at least 10 hours must be in airplanes

  • 20 hours of training in the areas of operation listed below, including at least:
    • 10 hours of instrument training of which at least 5 hours must be in a single-engine airplane
    • 10 hours of training in an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and controllable pitch propeller, or is turbine-powered
      • One cross-country flight of at least 2 hours in a single-engine airplane in day-VFR conditions, consisting of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 NM from the original point of departure
      • One cross-country flight of at least 2 hours in a single-engine airplane in night-VFR conditions, consisting of a straight-line distance of more than 100 NM from the original point of departure
      • 3 hours in a single-engine airplane in preparation for the practical test within the 60 days preceding the test

    • 10 hours of solo flight in a single-engine airplane training in the areas of operation required for a single-engine rating, which includes at least:
      • One cross-country flight of not less than 300 NM total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is a straight-line distance of at least 250 NM from the original departure point
      • 5 hours in night-VFR conditions with 10 takeoffs and 10 landings (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower
        • Current total night solo hours: 2.5 hours
          • 1/26/06 - .4 hours
          • 3/29/06 - .7 hours
          • 4/10/06 - 1.4 hours
        • Current total night solo takeoffs and landings at controlled airport: 9
          • 3/29/06 - 3 takeoffs and landings at CAK
          • 4/10/05 - 3 takeoffs and landings at MFD and 3 at CAK
    None of these requirements really bother me, except for the cross-country requirements. Having flown to Alaska and back last year, 60 some-hours, almost all of which was VFR, I think it's pretty apparent that I can navigate my way in an airplane. That trip was thousands of miles; what more am I going to learn by flying 100 NM with a CFI, or 300 NM by myself?

    But here's a question: To satisfy the 300NM solo trip, let's say on day 1 I fly solo from the home base to KWST. That's well more than the 250 NM. Then, on day 2, I fly solo from KWST to another airport to make a pit stop. After that, I head back to the home base. Does this qualify as landings at a minimum of three points? Or does the regulation mean three points, not including the point of origin?

    In any event, the IFR Pilot doesn't argue with the FAA (except when representing clients in FAA enforcement actions -- yes, that was in fact a cheap, shameless plug to try and get you to use your AOPA Legal Services Plan benefit with me). I'll just plan a couple of $100 hamburger runs when the weather turns more predictable here in Ohio.


    Paul said...

    I hope to complete my commercial this year, all I have left of the pre-reqs is the night flight with the CFI. I totally don't get the point of it, and neither does my CFI. Like you say, with everything else what benefit is there to it?

    Good luck with the training!

    Neil said...

    If its anything like your regular PPL cross country requiremnt of 3 points for landing, then the point of origin counts....

    Brandi said...

    I am not sure I would ever want to go for commercial. I enjoy small birds way too much. I wish you luck!