Took my Commercial check ride today (ASEL). Here are my thoughts. Oral: - He followed the ACS standards to the letter. Had them pulled up and was checking them off. - I was more prepared for the oral than I gave myself credit for. He did point me to the FARs a few times for more obscure stuff but overall, I was able to answer well into each string of questioning without having to look stuff up. Weak point was knowledge of the magnetos. I knew what they did, how they started, etc. but didn't really describe what they are very well. That was the only section he mentioned - Overall, the depth of knowledge was less than I expected and the oral took about 1.5 hours. Commercial private privileges, route, sectional, weather briefing (including surface analysis, identifying types of fronts, etc.), airplane systems, and a touch of E6-B work just to show him I sort of remembered how to do it. - Used my iPad. He was all for Foreflight and showed me how to do some stuff I didn't even know. That saved me a lot of headache as I was able to calculate everything in Foreflight and didn't have to do a navigation log the old fashioned way. Flying: - In the plane, dead reckoning to the first checkpoint (with a mix of pilotage as we had a road to follow). Diverted to an airport about 86NM away, found two or three landmarks along the route to ensure I knew what I was doing. He made me turn off location services in my Ipad and I couldn't use the onboard GPS so no cheating. After about 10NM, we headed to the practice area. - Started with slow flight, no problem. Stalls. He said the FAA permits one stall to the drop now, so we do the power off all the way. Power on stall to the stall warning. Accelerated stall to the warning. - He chose to do the lazy 8 and not the Chandelle as the ACS says he can pick one. I was well within standards the first time but he wanted to see more rudder usage. So we did it again and nailed it again. I was in an old 172H that is just a dog, so I made sure to let him know it wasn't going to actually do Va to enter the maneuver. He was fine with that. - No steep spiral. He chose the steep turns instead. No problems. Probably lost 50 feet on one but within standards. - Engine fire. Got to 140mph with a 30 degree turn, went through my flow and he called to level at 2000. Then I picked a field, did one spiral and lined up. Worked out fine. - Now that we were low, next was eights on pylons. Previously, I had used a highway to practice. He had me use a field, but I was able to find two points, put the wind behind me to start, and nailed it. Given that's the one I was probably out of standard the most during training, I was really happy with how I did it. - Headed back to the airport for the pattern work. I was nervous because he specifically said I could not do a go around on the power off 180. I know a lot of other DPE's allow it, but I wasn't going to argue with him. He helped me out though by letting me do my short field as a power off, so I basically got a practice run to get a feel for the winds. - Speaking of winds, they weren't ideal. 80 degrees off gusting up to 15 knots. That made everything more challenging than most of my training flights. But discontinuing for a crosswind probably wouldn't instill much confidence in the DPE given I was going for a higher rating. It was 90+ degrees and bumpy the whole way as well. Basically the kind of day I was praying it wouldn't be. - We did the short/soft field takeoffs + normal landing, short field landing, and soft field landing. The soft field was crap. Winds were everywhere and I bounced it. Managed to keep the nose up though after I came back down and he didn't say anything about it. - Power off 180, nailed it on the 1000 foot marker. Didn't even need the 200 foot buffer. With that said, a 172 is easy to manipulate and get down. Those who did this in slicker retracts were given much more of a challenge. - Taxied back, "you passed," and that was that. His only area of improvement in the debrief was using more rudder in my turns. Overall, the ride was easier than I had built up in my mind. There were a few times I could of let my nerves get the best of me, especially in the scorching heat and the gusty conditions, but I maintained throughout. Obviously, flying for money is cool, but as far as a learning experience, the commercial made me a much better pilot and much more comfortable flying at the edge of the envelope. I had gotten really comfortable flying straight lines IFR and this was a much needed boost in my ability to fly the airplane. I found the lazy eights and power off 180s to actually be a lot of fun to do. Now to go do a 3 day course and get my CMEL done. CFI? Who knows. EDIT: And for anyone interested, I put about 14 hours of dual in to get prepared. I had done the dual cross countries and solo work over the previous year.