Despite already being a fully qualified commercial helicopter pilot under EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) and the UK CAA, Callum has advanced his qualifications by undertaking the required training, written exams, and checkride to become an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) commercial pilot.
As US base manager and working towards his FAA CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) certificate, this is a requirement for Callum. He has taken on home study to learn the regulations and operating differences that would not typically be known to a UK pilot before undergoing the single written exam. He also flew with CFI Simon Wiles to meet the recency and training requirements for the certificate. This included several night flights routing across central Florida. After all the pre-requisites for the certificate were met, the final stage was the checkride.
An FAA checkride takes on a slightly different format to those in the UK with more emphasis placed on the pre-flight oral exam which involves a two hour face to face question and answer session with the examiner. The point of this is to exercise the pilot’s working knowledge of regulations, airspace, flight planning, weather and weather services, as well as aircraft and airport operational procedures. A practical knowledge and applciation of commercial course content is what should be displayed before the pilot can move on to the flight portion of the test.
There are also slight differences in the content of the flight portion of the test with a demonstration of settling-with-power required as well as a pinnicle approach and departure, two manoeuvres not conducted in an EASA CPL skill test. The 180 degree autorotation to power recovery also features.
Having completed all of these sections of the checkride to a satisfactory standard, and answering some more questions throughout the flight, Callum passed and became a certified commercial pilot.
The next steps for Callum will include sitting the two exams for flight instructor, Fundamentals of Instruction, and Flight Instructor Rotorcraft Helicopter. After this, he will take the CFI checkride.
We will keep you up to date on Callum’s progress throughout so look out for the latest updates.