• Eric Cooter

“Show me the Money” – Commercial Pilot Training


According to Federal Aviation Regulation Part 61.133, a person who holds a commercial pilot certificate may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying persons or property for compensation or hire, provided the person is qualified in accordance with this part and with the applicable parts of this chapter that apply to the operation. You might think the before-mentioned legal lingo allows the bearer of a commercial pilot certificate to just put himself or herself out for hire, and fly anything and anyone, anywhere. However, there are other parts of the regulations that stipulate additional requirements for air carrier operators so, the commercial pilot certificate alone has its limitations. The holder of the certificate is allowed to conduct (within aircraft and additional certification requirements) the following operations: flight instruction, nonstop sightseeing flights, ferry or training flights, crop dusting, seeding, spraying, and bird chasing, banner towing, aerial photography or survey, fire fighting and power line or pipeline patrol, to name a few.

All that being said, before I could ferry aircraft, crop dust, banner tow, or fire fight (none of which I planned on doing), I had to complete a lot of training, and I had to meet the minimum hour requirements:

  1. 250 hours total flight time

  2. 50 hours of cross country

  3. 3 10 hours instrument training (already completed)

  4. 10 hours of training in a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller or is turbine-powered

  5. One 2-hour cross country flight in a single engine in daytime conditions that consists of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles from the original point of departure;

  6. One 2-hour cross country flight in a single engine airplane in nighttime conditions that consists of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles from the original point of departure

  7. Ten hours of solo flight time in a single engine airplane: One cross-country flight of not less than 300 nautical miles total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is a straight-line distance of at least 250 nautical miles, and 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.


First, the variable pitch/constant speed prop is just that; variable and constant.Constant speed propellers work operationally, by varying the pitch of the propeller blades. As the blade angle is increased, it produces more lift (thrust). At the same time, more torque is required to spin the prop, and the engine slows down. The opposite is true when the blade angle is decreased: the torque required is decreased, and the engine speeds up. At higher altitudes when the air becomes less dense, the pilot can improve the efficiency of the aircraft engine, by increasing the pitch of the prop, and maintain the RPM of the engine, in order to “take a bigger bite” out of the air. That way when the air is thin, increasing its pitch can increase the propeller’s efficiency. It may sound complex (no pun intended), but it allows the airplane to be more fuel efficient at different flight phases.




Peace, Eric+

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