Oral Prep for the Commercial Ride

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Skydreamer2015, May 3, 2017.

  1. Skydreamer2015

    Skydreamer2015 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2015
    Messages:
    59
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skydreamer2015
    Hey everyone! What have some of you used to prepare for the oral portion of your commercial checkride? There isn't as much prep aids out there for the commercial as there was for the instrument so I was just seeing how you prepped for it. Thanks!
     
  2. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,529
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Know aircraft systems especially the gear and prop system, priveliges of a commercial pilot, then the rest of the stuff is basically the same as private.
     
  3. SethV

    SethV Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    88
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SethV
    Like Jordan said, know your systems. More than just what the POH says. Be able to draw the complete prop and landing gear systems. I was asked to sketch the prop control valve and describe what happens if each part breaks (springs, fly weights, piston). He asked if I had a nitrogen charge in my prop hub? If I did have it, what would it be used for? Deep details.

    Understand common carriage and holding out.

    Otherwise, not much new beyond what you already know.
     
  4. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    4,389
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MauleSkinner
    If that stuff helps you to understand what you're doing, great, but if an examiner asked me those questions I'd probably take a discontinuance and find another examiner to start over with. They're certainly not operationally-oriented questions, and as an instructor/examiner, I see enough pilots trying to treat malfunctions as mechanics or engineers instead of pilots that I think the negative training aspects are greater than any potential benefit.

    It's definitely in your best interest to know prop malfunctions, for example, to the point of which ones the AFM checklists do or don't address, and what to do for the ones that aren't addressed. If you don't preflight springs, flyweights, pistons, or nitrogen charge, the specifics of those items aren't extremely relevant beyond what you should see when you test the system or how you deal with malfunctions.

    Be able to identify the symptoms you will see, not the components that you can't. This will also make it easier to explain to mechanics what's wrong.

    But maybe I'm just getting more cantankerous in my old age.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
    midlifeflyer likes this.
  5. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,529
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    I wasn't asked that much in detail but I had a picture of the prop system with counterweights, speeder springs, oil hub, etc and had to explain what each one did when I moved the prop control. I also had to explain, using the landing gear hydraulic schematic, how the gear worked. The examiner wasn't looking for A&P level knowledge but still wanted a pretty good idea of what actually goes on when you move the blue lever.
     
    TRocket likes this.
  6. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    7,091
    Location:
    PA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PAFlyer
    "Declare emergency"

    Do OTR drivers have to be able to diagram a diesel engine?
     
  7. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    7,091
    Location:
    PA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PAFlyer
    Can anyone explain why that kind of depth is needed to fly commercially? You're not going to fix the damned thing...
     
  8. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,529
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Systems knowledge is important. The DPE is an A&P and AA pilot so he always put emphasis on systems. It's not a big deal. Just caused me to do a little more studying! I didn't mind it.
     
  9. SethV

    SethV Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    88
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SethV
    This is a nice simple description
    http://www.mccauley.textron.com/von_klip_tip_cs_propeller.pdf

    Print a couple pages and bring it with you just in case. I think the examiner just wanted to keep pushing me until I had to say "I don't know" - partly to see how I would react. I felt he was fair with me - and I passed so all is good.

    For example, he asked "so, you lose engine oil pressure. what happens? engine might keep running for a few minutes - but what about the prop? what can you expect it to do? and why (to prove I wasn't guessing, but understood the system)"
     
  10. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,529
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    I used the same print out!
     
  11. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    4,389
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MauleSkinner
    That's pilot level knowledge...you have a cockpit indication, you know the results, and hopefully you showed him the appropriate checklist(s). No need to draw the system, and most airplanes built since the 1970s have had that information in the AFM if you need references.

    On the other hand, "what would happen if the dome lost its nitrogen charge?" is something of a waste. What indication would you have in the cockpit? Probably a failed prop check. Do you have to be able to identify HOW the prop check failed? Yes. Do you know or care WHY it failed? No...You just need to get it fixed before flight.
     
  12. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    4,389
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MauleSkinner
    To directly address the OP's original question, however, I would suggest being quite comfortable with how to use 91.213 to determine whether or not you can fly with a given piece of equipment inop.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
    denverpilot likes this.
  13. Sam D

    Sam D Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,329
    Location:
    Petaluma, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Sam D
    My commercial CFI was mostly a stick and rudder guy. Before the checkride, I paid another, much more technically oriented, CFI for an hour of mock oral time. It was money very well spent and highlighted my weak areas. And this was after I was thoroughly familiar with the ASA oral exam guide.
     
  14. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    48,653
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    This. It's a hot button item for the FSDOs right now. Too many airplanes that aren't airworthy causing discontinued rides, is what I heard triggered it. There's also a good Advisory Circular on it.

    I also liked the ASA Oral guide, but it's not comprehensive... it makes you think about other things that could be asked. I like the format.

    One of my DPEs was a systems trainer. He likes systems. At the Commercial level he'll ask about failures and a generic system overview of how it all works and what you can do about it from the cockpit. At the CFI level, you'd best be ready to teach all that detail.

    Commercial privs is always a hot button during the regulatory questions. You'll also plan a longish XC and then be asked bigger picture questions than a Private candidate about why you chose that route, airspace is always fair game, and probably a scenario that touches on weather, diversion, and maybe some off-loading of one passenger and loading another at an intermediate stop. In other words, an abbreviated long XC discussion about stuff you might see that's different than a typical private flight.

    Speaking of Advisory Circulars, that's a topic that often gets little love in Private checkrides, but Commercial examiners might ask things that pulling out an AC might be an excellent way to answer them. Browse the AC catalog and print off some common ones or have them available on the iPad, whatever.

    Know WHERE to find stuff in the FAR and AIM. Spend some time in each. If a question is really "out there" but you know it's covered in the AIM, say so, and that you'll look it up. Sometimes all they're looking for is that you know the topic is there, other times they're having you look it up to set up a scenario or question.

    There's SO much information available from FAA, if you're well versed in what's out there in it all, and can flip to the generally right area and find it, that's often part of the "stretch" type questions in the Commercial ride. Mastery of knowing where to find stuff shows you really studied and it often helps the oral go very smoothly. The examiner can tell in five minutes if you've really put in the time with the books. That becomes more important and detailed at the CFI ride, but it never hurts at the Commercial ride.

    One of my questions was an electrical system fault that required knowing exactly how the busses were separated on one aircraft. It was real-world enough that you needed to not be cold reading the electrical systems part of the AFM, but also had a feel of "looking for the practical answer from the cockpit and appropriate judgement" besides being about knowing that particular system.

    Props are always seemingly on the list, too. Again, the examiner can tell if you really read and understood the prop system in only a couple of questions.

    In aircraft with any kind of "interesting" systems, expect a question or two there, too. In the twin, I got a few questions about proper operation of the Janitrol heater in cold weather.

    How do you use it? Are there limitations on using it? How much fuel does it burn per hour? Did you factor that into your fuel reserves for this flight? How do you reset it, if it overheats?"

    These were all quick Q&A that took about as long as it took you to read them here.

    But also expect scenarios.

    Annnnd of course, whatver changes the new Commercial ACS brings as FAA retires the PTS this summer, supposedly.
     
  15. rk911

    rk911 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    502
    Location:
    Wheaton IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rk911
    I asked a the chief pilot at the flight school to run me through a simulated oral and as it turned out he was much tougher on me than the DPE.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  16. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,729
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    BrianATL
    Will they let you know this in advance and you already have the XC planned, or does he give you the destination and you do this in front of him from scratch?
     
  17. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    48,653
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    Most DPEs will give the destination to you beforehand but will want details on why you chose the route you did, and weather prep based on the day of, etc.
     
    BrianNC likes this.
  18. mtuomi

    mtuomi En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2013
    Messages:
    2,951
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dera
    This will be an interesting change. I'm taking my checkride on the 13th, second day of ACS...
     
  19. KA550

    KA550 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2012
    Messages:
    320
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    KA550
    Just remember the option exists of telling the examiner you want to quit because he is asking hard questions that are making you feel uncomfortable