CPL theory and exams

In 2019 Sigi persuaded me to do my Commercial Pilot Licence. I had been wondering what the next step in my flying journey should be and she reasoned anything that would improve my skills and make me a safer pilot would be good for her so I decided to give it a go. My aim was not to become a paid commercial pilot, but to improve my skills and knowledge so that I could be a better pilot for private flights and Angel flights, keeping family, friends and patients safe. The first step was to complete the seven theory subjects and exams. The exams, run by a company on behalf of CASA, need to be passed within a 24 month period otherwise you have to start at the beginning again. They vary in length between 90 minutes and 3.5 hours. I decided to go back to Bob Tait again for the face to face courses so that I would learn more quickly and also so that I would learn more. It wasn’t just about passing exams for me, it was about learning as much as practically possible. As with PPL and PIFR, the courses with Bob were really good. The photos below are the covers of the books published by Bob’s flying theory school. Bob (high school teacher turned aviator and aerobatics champion) is a bit of a legend in Australian aviation circles and just happens to have his school at Redcliffe, only a few hundred metres from the aero club. He’s still teaching with passion in his 70s after teaching thousands of pilots over the decades including quite a few Qantas captains and is now building up an online presence for training the pilots of the future. You can hear all about his life on ABC Conversations: https://www.abc.net.au/…/conversations-bob-tait/8622762

The first subject was General Knowledge, completed in January.

The second subject was Meteorology. I completed that in early February.

The third subject was Performance, completed in late February. It was the most difficult of all of them. I doubt I’d have passed this exam first time or even second time without going to the Bob Tait course.

My fourth subject was Air Law. This course was held in July. Bob Tait let one of his legal mates take it and although it was valuable it was not the high standard we had in the other courses. Nevertheless, I passed the exam so it can’t have been too bad.

After a bit of a break and some travel I passed the fifth exam in October 2019. This one was Navigation.

In late October I passed exam number 6 – Human Performance and Limitations. This was one of the more challenging ones, with some theoretical concepts that seemed difficult to convert to real life experience.

Finally, on 7th January 2020, I passed my seventh and final CPL theory exam. This one was aerodynamics. I was done. Now it was time for the practical side of the CPL.

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