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Earning my commercial without owning a complex airplane

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Commercial Pilot

Can a fixed gear airplane be used for obtaining a commercial rating (and for the exam), if the pilot already has a complex endorsement and hits the other wickets?  I have my Instrument rating and maybe 300 hours, looking at maybe going for a CFI.  Was considering upgrading my plane to a DA40 from the Piper Cherokee...  was wondering if I could use it to get my commercial and CFI?  Can I just get my complex time separately as an endorsement on a rental?  Four place retract gear airplanes seem to offer minimal advantage over fixed these days...

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2 Answers



  1. Russ Roslewski on Aug 11, 2016

    Short answer to the main question is no.

    In addition to the 10 hours of training in a complex airplane (61.129), you need to have a complex airplane for the checkride. You can do part of the checkride in a fixed gear and part in a complex airplane if you want, but certain tasks require a complex airplane. No way around it.

    Sure, you can rent one for that purpose.

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  2. Russ Roslewski on Aug 11, 2016

    I should add that I assumed you were talking about the Commercial Airplane Single Engine Land checkride.

    The only way “around” this requirement for the Commercial ASEL is to obtain a Commercial Multi certificate first. Then adding a Single-engine rating onto that certificate does NOT require a complex airplane for the checkride, since you’ve already shown proficiency with complex aircraft operations (reference is the Commercial PTS).

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