At one point many years ago I was really close to being able to get my commercial pilot license. But then I got distracted by life, moved to Alaska, and took a break from flying.
It wasn’t until years later that I would consider getting a commercial license with the inevitable goal of going for my certified flight instructor license.
So I started working on my commercial training about six months before I would attempt to take my commercial checkride. However, progress was slow and I wasn’t as dedicated to the flying component as I was to the written knowledge part of the test.
Because the winter is harsh in Alaska and not very conducive to flying, I decided to do my commercial flight training in Camarillo California.
A good friend of mine there, Michael Phillips, would act as my mentor and instructor. He is a master instructor and I knew that I could count on him to help me bump up to a new professional level.
Arriving in California it was clear that the weather wasn’t as good there as I had originally planned. It just so happens that the storm of the century was moving through the area in the one week that I was supposed to be working on my checkride. That meant that we couldn’t fly as often as we needed to which reduced the likelihood of success.
It’s also quite true that I was unprepared with the knowledge component of what I needed to know for the test. And doing ground work with Michael it turns out that I didn’t know as much as I thought I knew, or at least I have forgotten a lot of what I had once known.
Eventually we were able to fly the piper arrow, but I had a heckuva time getting used to the airplane. Michael really ran me through the ringer and required a much better performance than I was capable of doing in the initial hours.
On a subsequent flight, our hydraulic pump failed when we went to put the landing gear up. This was basically the nail in the coffin for the commercial checkride. Now that the airplane was down for maintenance, we couldn’t fly and therefore prepare for the checkride.
So while I wasn’t able to complete my commercial flight training on this visit to California, I still enjoyed the journey and got to do a lot of other fun things.
For example, I got to fly any Piper Meridian which is a turbine single engine airplane from Camarillo down to John Wayne airport.
Another flight I also got to fly as a passenger on an Epic LT single turbine aircraft.
I may not have been able to finish my commercial training the first time at the Camarillo Airport, but that just meant that my preparation would be much more thorough for the next chance that I got to do the checkride.
This video Chronicles many of these stories and more.