Updated: Dec 12, 2022
This is the Master Copy of the Commercial Pilot Workbook. It does not teach any topics in depth but provides tools for helping students to memorize important items needed to fly safely and to pass their FAA Written Test and Checkride Exams.
After studying this document, we suggest printing the Practice Copy of this Workbook at the link below:
WORKBOOK AUDIO READING
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Below you will find all of the applicable ACS Subject Areas. Clicking any of the links in this table of contents will jump you to the appropriate section of this document.
Types of Risk
Total Risk = The sum of identified and unidentified risks.
Identified Risk = Risk that has been identified and determined.
Unidentified Risk = Risk that has not yet been identified.
Acceptable Risk = Risk that can be allowed to persist.
Unacceptable Risk = Risk that cannot be allowed to persist.
Residual Risk = Risk remaining after safety efforts have been fully employed.
Checklists and Models
The 5P Model
Plan - Plane - Pilot - Passengers - Programming.
CERTIFICATES AND DOCUMENTS
18 Years Old.
Read, write, speak, and understand English.
Pass Written Test.
Pass Checkride Exam.
Hold a Private Pilot Certificate
250 hours Total Time that includes:
100 hours in Powered Aircraft, 50 in Airplanes
100 hours of PIC Time that includes:
50 in Airplanes
50 hours Cross Country, 10 in Airplanes
20 hours of Training that includes:
10 hours Instrument, 5 in ASEL
10 hours in Complex/TAA Airplane
2 hour Day Cross Country, straight line of 100 NM
2 hour Night Cross Country, straight line of 100 NM
10 hours of Solo Time or PDPIC that includes:
300 NM flight with 3 landings, one leg greater than 250 NM
5 hours Night VFR with 10 Takeoffs and Landings at a Towered Airport
To Act as PIC:
Flight Review every 24 Calendar Months.
To Act as PIC Carrying Passengers (Day):
3 Takeoffs and Landings in preceding 90 days in Category, Class, and Type.
To Act as PIC Carrying Passengers (Night):
3 Takeoffs and Landings in preceding 90 days in Category, Class, and Type. Landings must be at Night and to a Full Stop.
RUNWAY INCURSION AVOIDANCE
LAHSO - Land and Hold Short Operations
Must a pilot accept a LAHSO Clearance? = No.
Must a pilot adhere to an accepted LAHSO Clearance? = Yes.
Can a pilot still perform a Go-Around if needed? = Yes.
Sterile Cockpit Principle
Means no unnecessary conversations or duties during critical phases of flight:
Taxi, Takeoff, Approach, Landing.
Spots on the airport indicating congestion or confusion.
Always knowing your current position, future plan, and paying attention to what is going on around you.
VISUAL SCANNING AND COLLISION AVOIDANCE
Right of Way Rules
Aircraft in Distress
Aircraft towing another Aircraft
Airplane and Helicopter
Proper Scanning Technique
Aircraft Blind Spots
High Wing Aircraft = Blind spots above the pilot.
Low Wing Aircraft = Blind spots below the pilot.
14 CFR AND PUBLICATIONS
Types of Hypoxia
Symptoms of Hypoxia
Cyanosis (blue fingernails and lips)
Decreased Response Times
Tingling in Fingers and Toes
Hypoxia Corrective Actions
Descend to lower altitude
Put on an oxygen mask
Stop pulling G-forces
Too much oxygen. Not enough carbon dioxide to regulate the breathing rate.
Breathe into a paper bag
Talk or sing aloud
Reduce breathing rate
Middle Ear and Sinus Congestion
Traps air pressure in sinuses.
Pilots experience an ease of pain during the climb.
Pilots experience increased pain during descent.
Caused by the brain receiving conflicting messages about the state of the body.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning
Colorless and odorless gas.
Attaches to blood cells 200 times faster than oxygen.
Most commonly from the aircraft heater.
Loss of Muscle Power
Stress and Fatigue
8 hours from bottle to throttle.
.04% BAC max.
No flying while hungover or under the influence.
Scuba Diving Wait Times
Back and forth motion of the pistons.
Spark vs Compression Ignition
Spark - Provided by spark plugs
Compression - Provided by high compression in the cylinders
The 4 Stroke Cycle
Intake Stroke = Suck
Compression Stroke = Squeeze
Power Stroke = Bang
Exhaust Stroke = Blow
Types of Propellers
Fixed Pitch Prop:
Blade angles are set and do not vary.
Climb Prop = Good at climbing not at cruise.
Cruise Prop = Good at cruise not at climb.
Blade angles can be varied on the ground with the engine not running.
Constant Speed Prop:
Blade angles vary in flight to maintain a constant RPM.
High Blade Pitch = Lower RPM (more drag).
Low Blade Pitch = Higher RPM (less drag).
Types of Oil Systems
Wet Sump System = Oil is located in a sump that is integral with the engine.
Dry Sump System = Oil is contained in a separate tank not integral with the engine.
Cowl Flap Operation
Open = Releases hot air from engine cowling and cools the engine.
Closed = Traps hot air in engine cowling to keep the engine warmer.
Detonation = Uncontrolled/explosive ignition of fuel/air mixture (not a smooth burn).
Pre-Ignition = Fuel/air mixture detonates ahead of the ignition stroke.
Fuel System Types
Gravity Feed System = Gravity moves fuel from tanks to the engine (high wing aircraft).
Fuel Pump System = Fuel is transferred to the engine from fuel tanks via fuel pumps (low wing aircraft).
Fuel Grades and Colors
Generators vs Alternators
Generators = Produce DC power. May not produce enough power at low RPM settings.
Alternators = Produce AC power. Can output enough power through a large range of RPM settings.
Fuses vs Circuit Breakers
Fuses = When blown, must be replaced.
Circuit Breakers = When popped, may be reset.
Ammeter vs Loadmeter
Ammeter = Shows if the alternator/generator is producing an adequate supply of electrical power. Negative indications mean there is not enough power and that the system is drawing off the battery.
Loadmeter = Shows the electrical load being placed on the alternator/generator.
Types of Landing Gear
Anti-Ice and De-Ice Systems
De-Ice Boots = Inflatable boots on the leading edge of the wing to break ice.
Heated Wing = Wing is heated to melt ice. Typically from the engine bleed air.
Weeping Wing = Leaks TKS fluid over wing to prevent ice build up.
AIRPLANE FLIGHT CONTROLS
Control roll about the longitudinal axis.
Controls pitch about the lateral axis.
Controls yaw about the vertical axis.
Attached to the trailing edge of the wing and provides both lift and drag.
Leading Edge Devices
Creates lift at the leading edge of the wing.
78% Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen.
Global Circulation Pattern
Air at the Poles cools and sinks then flows toward the Equator.
Air at the Equator heats and rises and flows toward the Poles.
The spinning of the Earth deflects the airflow in the Global Circulation Pattern.
Northern Hemisphere = Air deflected to the Right.
Southern Hemisphere = Air deflected to the Left.
Within 2,000’ of the surface = Friction slows air speed and deflects its direction.
Standard Pressure at Sea Level = 29.92.
Decreases 1 inch per 1,000’ of altitude gain.
Standard Temperature at Sea Level = 15C.
Decreases 2C per 1,000’ of altitude gain.
Wind and Currents
Horizontally moving air = Wind.
Vertically moving air = Convection.
High Pressure Systems = Air flows clockwise, downward, and outward.
Low Pressure Systems = Air flows counterclockwise, inward, and upward.
Windshear and Microbursts
Windshear = A sudden drastic change in wind direction or velocity over a short distance.
Low Level Windshear (LLWS) = Windshear that occurs near the surface.
Microburst = The most severe type of Windshear.
Lifespan = 5-15 minutes.
Downdraft Strength = Up to 6,000 FPM.
Headwind Losses = 30-90 knots.
Occur when air temperature increases with an increase in altitude (up to a certain point, which is the top of the inversion layer).
Stages of a Thunderstorm
Types of Icing
Can be obtained by calling 1(800) WX-BRIEF.
METARs and TAFs
METAR stands for: Aviation Routine Weather Report.
Current surface weather observations.
TAF stands for: Terminal Aerodrome Forecast.
Forecasted weather for a 5 NM radius around airport.
Issued 4 times per day at: 0000Z, 0600Z, 1200Z, 1800Z.
Stands for: Pilot Reports.
Weather conditions reported by pilots in flight.
AIRMETs and SIGMETs
AIRMETs = Significant weather reports pertinent to smaller aircraft.
SIGMETs = Significant weather reports pertinent to all aircraft.
Winds and Temperatures Aloft
Give wind directions, velocities, and temperature for particular altitudes.
Any code beginning with a 6 or higher indicates winds are > 100 knots at that altitude.
Low Level Prognostic Charts
Forecasted weather covering the 48 Contiguous United States from the Surface to 48,000’ MSL.
They are issued 4 times daily at: 0000Z, 0600Z, 1200Z, 1800Z.
Radar Summary vs Satellite Imagery Charts
AIRPLANE WEIGHT AND BALANCE
Terms and Definitions
Arm = The horizontal distance from the reference datum to the CG of an item.
Ballast = Weight carried in the aircraft to shift the CG within allowable limits.
Center of Gravity (CG) = The point at which an airplane would balance if suspended.
Center of Lift (CL) = The point at which the lift is concentrated on the wing.
CG Limits = The extreme locations within which the CG must land.
Datum = An imaginary vertical plane from which all measurements of Arms are taken.
Moment = The product of the weight of an item multiplied by its Arm.
Station = A location along the airplane fuselage usually given in terms of distance.
Effects of Being Overweight
Longer takeoff run.
Reduced rate and angle of climb.
Service ceiling lowered.
Cruise speed reduced.
Cruise range shortened.
Maneuverability is decreased.
Longer landing roll.
Excessive loads on landing gear.
Effects of CG Locations
The Weight Shift Formula
Weight Shifted/Total Weight = Change of CG/Distance Weight is Shifted
The Weight and Balance Formula
Weight X Arm = Moment
PERFORMANCE AND LIMITATIONS
Types of Altitude
Effects on Density Altitude
Types of Airspeed
NATIONAL AIRSPACE SYSTEM
Class A Airspace
Class B Airspace
Class C Airspace
Class D Airspace
Class E Airspace
Class G Airspace
Class G VFR Weather Minimums
Special VFR Rules
Must have an ATC Clearance (pilot requested, cannot be assigned by ATC).
Must remain clear of clouds.
Flight visibility must be at least 1 SM.
To takeoff, ground visibility must be at least 1 SM.
Special VFR at Night = Pilot and plane must be Instrument Rated and Equipped.
Aircraft Speed Limits
Other Airspace Areas
NAVIGATION AIDS: VOR
Types of VORs
VOR = Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range
VOR/DME = VOR with Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)
VORTAC = VOR with TACAN (military use only)
VOR Service Volumes
Line of sight.
OBS = Omnibearing Selector
CDI = Course Deflection Indicator
Cone of Confusion = Area near the VOR where the signal is unreliable
Reverse Sensing = Pilot induced error giving erroneous information
Time and Distance Calculations
Time in Seconds between Bearings/Degrees of Bearing Change = Minutes to the Station
Types of VOR Checks
Signing off a VOR Check
Use the acronym “SLED.”
Can be signed off by a pilot.
S = Signature
L = Location
E = Error Amount
D = Date
NAVIGATION AIDS: DME
DME = Distance Measuring Equipment
Slant Range Distance
Less accurate when close to the VOR and at Higher Altitudes.
More accurate when further from VOR and at Lower Altitudes.
Straight Line Distance
GPS distance is given in “Straight Line Distance” and does not have the inherent errors of “Slant Range Distance.”
NAVIGATION AIDS: GPS
24 (or more) Satellites in Orbit.
They orbit around 6 Orbital Planes.
Information Relayed by GPS Satellites
Number of Satellites Required
RAIM and FDE
RAIM = Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring
FDE = Fault Detection and Exclusion
GPS Sensitivity Modes
WAAS and LAAS
WAAS = Wide Area Augmentation System
LAAS = Local Area Augmentation System
VFR FLIGHT PLANNING
Terminology and Definitions
Pilotage = Navigation by reference to landmark checkpoints.
Dead Reckoning = Navigation by means of time and distance calculations.
True Course = The course measured on the chart (in reference to True North).
Wind Correction Angle = Adjusting heading for wind direction and velocity.
Magnetic Variation = The angular difference between True and Magnetic North.
Magnetic Heading = Correcting the True Heading for Magnetic Variation.
Magnetic Deviation = Electromagnetic fields that cause erroneous compass indications.
VFR Cruising Altitudes
VFR Fuel Requirements
Remember the 5 C’s
C = Climb
C = Conserve
C = Call
C = Confess
C = Comply
Anatomy of the Eye
The Night Blind Spot
Located in the Center of the Field of Vision at Night.
Take the eyes 30 minutes to fully adjust to night lighting.
White Light = Used for preflighting the aircraft.
Red Light = Used for in-flight chart reading (considered “non-glaring”).
Airport Beacon Lights
PAPI Light Indications
HIGH ALTITUDE OPERATIONS
A High Altitude Endorsement is needed to PIC an aircraft with a Service Ceiling or Maximum Operating Altitude above 25,000’ MSL.
Supplemental Oxygen Use Requirements
Types of Supplemental Oxygen
Types of Decompression
Times of Useful Consciousness
PRINCIPLES OF FLIGHT
The 4 Forces of Flight
The 4 Left Turning Tendencies
The Production of Lift
Bernoulli’s Principle = An increase in the speed of a fluid (air) is accompanied by a decrease in its pressure.
Downwash Principle = Air deflected downward off the trailing edge of the wing.
Types of Drag
Caused by the surface of the Earth upsetting the flow of Wingtip Vortices. Results in:
Increase in Lift and Airspeed
Decrease in Drag
Wake Turbulence Avoidance
An airplane Pitches about its Lateral Axis.
Wingtip to wingtip.
An airplane Rolls about its Longitudinal Axis.
Nose to tail.
An airplane Yaws about its Vertical Axis.
Top to bottom.
Slipping Vs Skidding Turns
Slipping Turn = Ball goes to the inside of the turn.
Skidding Turn = Ball goes to outside of the turn.
Coordinated Turn = Ball stays centered in the cage.
Va - Maneuvering Speed
Below Va Speed = The aircraft will stall.
Above Va Speed = The aircraft may suffer structural damage.
Heavier Aircraft = Get a Higher Maneuvering Speed.
Lighter Aircraft = Get a Lower Maneuvering Speed.
Required Aircraft Documents
Remember the acronym “ARROW.”
A = Airworthiness Certificate
R = Registration Certificate
R = Radio Station License (outside the US)
O = Operating Handbook
W = Weight and Balance
Required Aircraft Inspections
Airworthiness Directives (ADs)
Required to be complied with and may not be overflown.
Major Alterations or Repairs.
Any change not on the Aircraft Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS).
Required VFR Day Equipment
Remember the acronym “ATOMATOFLAMES.”
A = Airspeed Indicator
T = Tachometer
O = Oil Pressure Gauge
M = Manifold Pressure Gauge
A = Altimeter
T = Temperature Gauge
O = Oil Temperature Gauge
F = Fuel Quantity Indicators
L = Landing Gear Position Indicators
A = Anti-Collision Lights
M = Magnetic Compass
E = Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)
S = Safety Belts
Required VFR Night Equipment
Remember the acronym “FLAPS.”
All Day VFR Equipment plus the following:
F = Fuses (spares)
L = Landing Light (if the aircraft is for hire)
A = Anti-Collision Lights
P = Position Indicator Lights
S = Source of Electricity