Commercial Pilot Check Ride Preparation Helicopter Online Ground School

Aug 14, 2018

Commercial Pilot Check Ride Preparation Helicopter Online Ground School

Gary's Commercial Pilot Helicopter Check Ride Preparation.

Kenny: We're doing a cold run here. Just going to start asking him some questions. We have done virtually no helicopter ground school yet for the commercial. We decided today instead of starting with the PTS, I’m just going to ask him some random questions, He did the private 3 or 4 years ago. He has been doing some studying. He has the commercial written test out of the way. We're going to take the infamous notebook and just leaf through it and start asking him some questions and just see how he answers so we can see where he's at, not to make fun of him. It's just to test his knowledge. Then, we'll start working through the PTS step by step.


Commercial Pilot Check Ride Preparation Helicopter Online Ground School

 As a commercial pilot, you're getting ready to go for your check ride, the examiner is going to tell you, "You came in for your private. That was for fun. That was for taking up your friends and your family. Now you're going to do it at the commercial level, so now it's a more serious check ride." It's going to be a lot of the same stuff, but he's going to expect you to answer sharper, more precise and be more smooth with the oral than at the private. The private level, they expect terminology to maybe get messed up, but as long as you get the general concept, you're okay. At the commercial level, they're going to want the verbiage to be more solid and clear and to a higher level than the private. First question. What is angle of attack? 

Gary: Angle of attack is the angle of the cord line in relationship to the relative wind.

Kenny: Pretty good. I like that one. That was pretty short and sweet. I have it as the angle between the chord line, the airfoil and the direction of the relative wind, basically what you just said. Pretty good. Let's go right into some meaty stuff, what is retreating blade stall?

Gary: Retreating blade stall is your retreating blade has maxed out to its 15 degrees, where it no longer can compensate for the dissymmetry of lift. The helicopter, as a result, will nose up and roll to the left causing vibrations.

Kenny: Too long of an answer because even at the commercial level, still play the same game we play at the private level. Don't give him any more than what he's asking. If he says, "What is retreating blade stall?", you should say, "When a retreating blade exceeds a critical angle of attack." Done. Then if he wants to dig more into it, let him ask those questions about advancing blade, retreating blade. When you start giving that answer like you did and you're right, you're giving him the right information, but that's the opportunity to dig. In the middle of that, he can go, "Tell me about that roll to the left," or, "Tell me about that ... " Don't give him that. Get in the mindset, answer short, answer sweet, only what the question that he asked. Let him dig if he needs to. That's good. There's 5 things that can contribute to a retreating blade stall. What are those 5 things?

Gary: High gross weight, high weight and humidity, sharp abrupt turns, maneuvers.

Kenny: We're using the VNE as a given. We know if we exceed VNE, we can get a retreating blade stall. We also know it can happen at a speed less than VNE when you have these other factors combined. VNE we're using as a given. Then there's 5 others, which you got: high gross weight, high density altitudes, you got steep or abrupt turns.

Gary: Low RPM.

Kenny: Low RPM. Then I don't know if you mentioned the other one.

Gary: Drawing a blank on this.

Kenny: Turbulent air.

Gary: Turbulent air I did not mention.

Kenny: Not bad. That's pretty good, but at the commercial level, you want to go high gross weight, high density altitude, low RPM, steep or abrupt turns, turbulent air. Boom, nice and snappy. Just boom, boom, boom. You got it. You just want to go over it so it's a little more smooth and able to answer quicker. What are you going to notice? You're going out as a commercial pilot. You're going to be operating in the summertime. You're going to be hot. You're going to be heavy. You're going to have some of these factors, especially in the warmer weather. You're out commercial pilot operating a high gross weight, high density altitude and you start to get into it. What are you going to notice?

Gary: Notice the vibrations and possibly the aircraft tipping up in the front and to the left if it's a counter rotating helicopter.

Kenny: Right. If it's counter-clockwise, it will role to the left. If it's clockwise, it will role to the right. Nice and smooth. Abnormal vibrations, pitch you up in the nose, roll to the left or role to the retreating side would probably be a better terminology now that lots of aircraft are both sides of the spectrum. That's good. Then what are you going to do to get out of it. If you start to get into this, you notice the abnormal vibrations pitch you up in the nose, roll to the left. What do you do to correct for it?

Gary: Gentle aft cyclic to slow the aircraft. Make sure your RPMs are at the high end of the green. Lower collective a little bit. Then correct your lateral to get the aircraft upright.

Kenny: Good. I have reduce collective, increase RPM, reduce speed, minimize maneuvering. Basically what you said. It's slow down and just don't do anything rash. Don't try to make any big maneuvers. Just slow down, get the RPM up. Minimize maneuvering, slow down and you should be out of it. You mentioned that it rolls to the left in a counter-clockwise, right?

Gary: Yes.

Kenny: Counter-clockwise, it rolls to the left. Why does it roll to the left?

Gary: Because of gyroscopic precession.

Kenny: What is gyroscopic precession?

Gary: In a spinning object, changes in the object will be felt 90 degrees later.

Kenny: Right. Spinning object felt 90 degrees later in a plane of rotation. What's happening in the aircraft then why it goes up? Gyroscopic is the right term. How does that term apply to what's going on with the rotor system so that the aircraft goes like this.

Gary: On the retreating side, it no longer can provide the lift that's necessary on the retreating side. Therefore, 90 degrees later would be the aft. Then that's where the aircraft then will fall.

Kenny: Cool. That's why it's going to go up because you're feeling the stall over here. The stall is happening over here, but you feel it back here and that's why the aircraft goes up.

Commercial Pilot Check Ride Preparation Helicopter Online Ground School

Let us help you with all of your ratings! We have four FAA certified courses, Private PilotCommercial PilotInstrument Pilot, and Certified Flight Instructor. We have a bundle pack called, Professional Pilot Lifetime Membership, that includes all this for life.

Check out our Podcast collection!


Helicopter Online Ground School was founded by Kenny Keller in 2012. He is the author of "Helicopter Check-Ride", which made Amazon #1 best seller upon release. His online video courses include Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor, and Instrument Pilot. Kenny recognized a lack of quality ground training within the industry and has created a video learning platform to compliment any part 61 or 141 flight school program.

All four of these courses are FAA approved for WINGS and appear on the FAA safety website as approved online courses.

The Certified Flight Instructor membership includes access to all of the Private Pilot and Commercial Pilot videos as well, giving the Certified Flight Instructor membership over 40 hours of video to watch. The courses include information on all subject areas, to include the fundamentals of instructing.

Each course includes both practice written test questions and oral check ride questions.

Members have access to a closed Facebook group to network.

Kenny Keller shares his experience and knowledge with aspiring Student Pilots all over the World

Helicopter Online Ground School customer service is staffed Monday-Friday 8am-4pm for email, text, or calling.

Complete Site Inventory