Proper Prior Planning – Capt Peter shares his flight preparation techniques during his CPL training
After I passed the PPL exam and started to work towards my Commercial rating the flight exercises really did not change that much. The biggest thing that changed was the precision of each manoeuvre – the instructor is expecting you to be on point with all the exercises and every flight is a steep learning curve.
The key to a good flight is very often about being well prepared. You want to show up well in advance so you can pre-flight the helicopter, check for NOTAMs, weather, etc. You want to know what to expect. It can be fairly busy at times in the cockpit of a helicopter so if, for example, your kneeboard is not set-up the way you wanted it to be, you will lose valuable time scrolling through the pages while flying which is not easy. Another example might be if you are on a navigation exercise and you realise you folded your map incorrectly, which would be an easy fix if you had both hands available, but can be quite tricky when flying because you only have one hand free. It all comes down to preparation and cockpit management.
The final stage towards the last set of exams went fairly fast – we were scheduled to do our flight exam before the last written exams.
I passed all of them. Everyone of course wants to pass first time and there was a little bit of a competition going on between fellow students in the class but when it all comes to it in the end it does not matter if you had an average of 80%, 90% or 100% as long as you continue to learn and become a safe pilot.