How to become a Pilot #06: Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)

After the theory exams and the Private Pilot Licence exam, you will prepare with an instructor for the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). With a CPL you are allowed to fly commercially, which means that you are allowed to perform flights for a company and you can earn money working as a pilot. The CPL exam is quite similar to the PPL exam.

The main difference between CPL exam and PPL exam is that all the manoeuvres and practices that are done, need to be more precise. After all, you’re becoming a commercial pilot. This means that the maximum acceptable deviation of the desired heading, speed and altitude is decreased in comparison to the PPL exam.

Before the CPL exam, you have to prepare the flight (just as any other flight). The examiner will check how you planned the flight, if the documentation is correct, if you have made the mass and balance calculation correctly, if you have read and understood the NOTAMs (Notice to Airmen) and the weather charts.

During the whole exam, the examiner will be checking the use of checklist, your airmanship, your communications to air traffic control, your orientation (situational awareness), understanding and reading of the map and your control of the airplane using external visual reference.

Usually, the manoeuvres tested are climbs, descents, stalls (flying at critically low airspeed), stall recovery and steep turns of 45°. You may get asked oral questions about the airplane and about what you would do in case of certain equipment malfunctions.

Finally, you will be tested on various approaches such as a crosswind landing, a short field landing, approach and landing with idle power (simulated engine failure), landing with and without flaps.

It may seem like a lot, but the important thing is that you do the exam just how you would do any other flight. Stay calm, you got this!

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