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Commercial Pilot Course, Single and Multi Engine: VFR $ 2850.00, IFR $ 3195.00. 10 to 12 days, 4 hours Cessna 150 dual, 10 hours Piper Arrow dual, 6 hours (VFR) or 8 hours (IFR) Piper Apache dual, 9 hours ground school and briefings, airplanes for single and multi engine commercial pilot flight tests. 2 Examiners’ fees additional.


Pre-requisites: Private pilot airplane single engine land, 236 hours flying experience including a minimum of 10 hours instrument dual (or instrument rating), and solo requirements as per FAR 61.129(a)(4). Must be instrument current and competent in complex singles for IFR program. Completion of knowledge exam. Note: Please review the commercial solo requirements and FAR 61.129 which follow the description of the training program.


You will first receive training for the initial commercial pilot certificate, airplane single engine land, in the Piper Arrow. After the single engine commercial pilot flight test has been passed, the training continues with the multi engine rating (VFR or IFR as described below).


Phase 1: Commercial Pilot, Airplane Single Engine Land. This phase includes the day and night VFR dual cross country training flights as per FAR 61.129 (a)(3)(iii) & (iv), which will be conducted in a Cessna 150, and the 10 hours of complex training as per FAR 61.129 (a)(3)(ii), which will be conducted in the Piper Arrow. It usually takes about 10 hours in the Arrow to prepare a student for all of the tasks and maneuvers required during the flight test.  For this reason the dual cross country flights are flown separately from the maneuvers training, using a Cessna 150 to help minimize training cost. At the completion of this phase you will take the commercial pilot, airplane single engine land flight test.


Phase 2: Multi Engine Rating, VFR or IFR. The VFR multi engine training will consist of the following maneuvers and procedures: Steep turns, stalls, slow flight, Vmc demonstration, emergency descent, engine out emergency procedures (enroute and in the traffic pattern), engine feathering and restart, normal and crosswind take-offs and landings, aborted take-offs and simulated single engine landings.


If you hold an instrument rating, an additional 2 hours will be  dedicated for instrument approaches to prepare you for the engine out instrument approach required on the flight test. This will cover engine out procedures under the hood, and usually about 7 IFR approaches (typically one (1) twin engine and three (3) simulated engine out ILS and three (3) simulated engine out VOR approaches) in order to prepare you for the instrument portion of the flight test. Familiarity with both procedure turns and radar vectors is required.


Multi Engine Instrument Competency: You must arrive with a high level of instrument proficiency, not just current as per FAR 61.57(c). If you have no instrument experience in complex singles, you will probably require an additional 2 hours of multi engine instrument training at $ 155.00/hour. If you are not IFR proficient it may take considerably more instrument training in the Apache.


The latest editions of the private and commercial pilot PTS (dated August 1, 2002) no longer allow an instrument rated private or commercial pilot the option of a “VFR Only” flight test. An instrument rated pilot has to demonstrate the ability to perform a simulated engine out instrument approach on the multi engine flight test. This can at times be very challenging for a pilot who may have received his instrument rating several years ago and who did not maintain instrument proficiency. If you are rusty on instrument procedures you will have to allow for the necessary time and expense to get proficient again. In order to reduce your cost we can use the ATC-610 flight training device if necessary to refresh some basic instrument skills and also familiarize you with complex airplane instrument procedures and procedural drills.


Commercial Pilot Solo Flight Experience Requirements: Frequently our commercial pilot students do not meet all of the commercial pilot solo flight requirements as per FAR 61.129 (a)(4) when they arrive at Prairie Air Service. This can increase the cost of the training by as much as $ 450.00. The items found missing usually are the “long” solo cross country flight or the solo night time take-offs and landings at an airport with an operating control tower. The FAA requires these flights to be solo flights, which means that you can not count any training flights or flights carrying passengers toward these requirements. The long solo cross country requires three (3) (or more) landings, one of them at a point more than 250 nautical miles from the original point of departure. A commercial student may think that he or she meets this requirement, but a further review of his or her logbook by our instructors or the pilot examiner unfortunately reveals that the final destination was less than 250 nm from the original departure point. Usually this happens when the pilot plans a 250 nm route that follows VORs or favorable terrain such as valleys or highways, and is not direct. If you plan to fly the “long” solo cross country before coming to Prairie Air Service we recommend that you use a GPS, Loran or Duats flight planning software to confirm that your final destination is indeed more than 250 nm direct (straight line or great circle) distance from your original point of departure. If you plan the flight without electronic aids, using only a sectional chart, you may want to choose a destination which measures at least 260 nm on the chart to allow for some margin of error. We have also had some students who accidentally used the “wrong” side of the plotter (the one in statute miles) which caused them to plan and fly a cross country which was too short. You may also want to fly part of the long cross country at night to help with the 5 hour night VFR solo requirement of FAR 61.129 (a)(4)(ii).


Incidentally, all of the commercial pilot training requirements as per FAR 61.129(a) (20 hours of dual instruction and 10 hours of solo practice) have to be met after completion of the applicant's private pilot flight test.  Some of them can be met during check out in different airplane types and during instrument training. Incidentally, nothing in the regulations states that the specified training has to be conducted after the private pilot training; that is an FAA interpretation that was published during the summer of 1999.


Possible Cost Savings: If you already meet the 4 hours of day and night VFR cross country training, it will reduce the cost of your training by about $ 310.00.


Guaranteed Pricing: Prairie Air Service does not offer guaranteed pricing for any flight training programs. Neither do most other flight schools, even those who advertise guaranteed prices. Usually their advertised “guaranteed” price will only entitle the student to a limited number of flight hours, and the student will have to pay extra for any additional training he or she may need. The lower priced “guaranteed ratings” offered by some of our competitors include considerably less flying hours than our training programs. The training packages described above have been developed over 25 years of instructing experience, are based on average student aptitude and progress, are realistic and work for about 90% of our customers. Students with above average flying skill and aptitude may be able to complete their training at a cost lower than the advertised package price.

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The following reprint of FAR 61.129 has been edited to list only those items that specifically apply to the initial commercial pilot certification in a single engine land airplane.


(a) For an airplane single-engine rating. Except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section, a person who applies for a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane category and single-engine class rating must log at least 250 hours of flight time as a pilot that consists of at least:

(1) 100 hours in powered aircraft, of which 50 hours must be in airplanes.

(2) 100 hours of pilot-in-command flight time, which includes at least -

           (i)         50 hours in airplanes; and

           (ii)        50 hours in cross-country flight of which at least 10 hours must be in airplanes.

(3) 20 hours of training on the areas of operation listed in §61.127(b)(1) of this part that includes at least -

(i)         10 hours of instrument training of which at least 5 hours must be in a single-engine airplane;

(ii)        10 hours of training in an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller, or is turbine-powered;

(iii)       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 nautical miles from the original point of departure;

(iv)       One cross-country flight of at least 2 hours in a single-engine airplane in night VFR conditions, consisting of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles from the original point of departure; and

(v)        3 hours in a single-engine airplane in preparation for the practical test within the 60-day period preceding the date of the test.

(4) 10 hours of solo flight in a single-engine airplane on the areas of operation listed in       §61.127(b)(1) of this part, which includes at least -

(i)         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 from the original departure point; and

(ii)        5 hours in night VFR conditions with 10 take- offs and 10 landings (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower.


 (i)        Permitted credit for use of a flight simulator or flight training device.

(1) An applicant may:

(i)         Credit a maximum of 50 hours toward the total aeronautical experience requirements for an airplane or powered-lift rating, provided the aeronautical experience was obtained from an authorized instructor in a flight simulator or flight training device that represents that class of airplane or powered-lift category and type, if applicable, appropriate to the rating sought.


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