This is an extract from my best selling Pilot Training Guide on Amazon for how to hour build to pass your CPL Course.

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With your PPL complete, the next step is to make a start on your hour building. Hour building is an incredible time for any pilot during their training.

There will not be many times in your life when you can simply jump into an aircraft and fly halfway across the country to get some fish and chips!

Enjoy your hour building, but do not lose sight of the reason why you are hour building. An excellent approach to hour building is to use it to prepare for your commercial pilot licence. Check out the PPL/CPL hour building app.

A great book to read early on during your hour building ?a guide to the EASA CPL test flight?.

This book shares how your CPL skills test will work, and in turn, it allows you to see the techniques you need to master beforehand.

It is a great advantage to arrive on your CPL course already proficient in the items that you can practice on your own, as that will free up capacity during the CPL course to focus on the things which are new or you are weak on.

The big difference between PPL and CPL flying is formality and captaincy. You do not have to wait until your CPL course to start working on these items. You can practice them and become proficient beforehand.

Are you hour building? Click here for the FREE Structured Hour Building Web App to help you get the most out of hour building and prepare for your CPL course!

From the formality perspective, the big difference between PPL and CPL is getting to grips with aircraft documentation. During PPL, the flying school would most likely have taken care of it for you.

Now, although you have a PPL, you need to start thinking like a commercial pilot undertaking public transport, the buck stops with you as the commander.

During your hour building, approach each day like you are conducting public transport flight and you will not have a problem during your CPL course.

Verify you have complete aircraft documents. Check the certificate of registration. The certificate of registration is non expiring.

The aircraft documents should also contain the following: certificate of airworthiness (valid unless revoked), airworthiness review certificate (1-year validity), noise certificate, aircraft radio licence, mass and balance and a certificate of insurance (valid for 1 year).

When you come to your CPL course and test, it is expected that your preflight prep includes actual flight planning with a marked map and plog. You will have calculated and completed mass and balance for all phases of flight.

The examiner will expect a weather brief too. The weather information has to come from the official sources (not SkyDemon). Your examiner will also expect to be briefed on pertinent NOTAMs.

You can use electronic tools to assist with your preflight planning, but that should not be at the expense of getting the information from official sources. Using electronic sources to assist you with your flight planning can be helpful and save time.

PA28 hour building

For example, it is much easier to see where a given NOTAM is when it is illustrated on a map rather than trying to visualise grid coordinates.

During my CPL test, I used SkyDemon to place temporary airspace restrictions on my map quickly but still printed off the NOTAMs from the official source.

The more time you spend practising and making a habit of conducting this level of preparation for each flight during hour building, the easier your life will be at CPL stage.

Get my best selling Pilot Training Guide on Amazon for the best information on how to hour build to pass your CPL Course.

Listen to the Pilot Training Guide FREE with Audible here

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Do you have any questions on hour building? Please leave me a comment in the section below as I would love to hear from you!

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  1. Very Useful Stuff , i will be using these on my hour building. What are your opinions on using skydemon during hour building. I am a slightly weary of losing dead reckoning skills.

  2. Hi @Peter Ahonsi – good question sir. I used to run each flight with a plog and map all marked out I would also have Skydemon in the background. When airspace is tight and there is a chance of infringing, use all the tools available. Skydemon is excellent and saved me a few time.

    That said, regularly practice your basic nav and diversions during hour building without Skydemon. I’d find areas that were free from airspace and then practice finding obscure places, diversions with time updates etc as this will all be important for CPL.

    Hope this help!


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