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6 Answers

Commercial, Single Engine Multi add-on or Multi engine Single add-on?

Asked by: 31893 views Commercial Pilot

My Instructor sagest his way and the flight school owner sagest his way I am a little confused.

What is the best and cheaper way to do it? Commercial Pilot single complexes (C172RG) airplane
and then Multi add-on, Or Commercial Pilot Multi Engine (PA-34) and standard Cessna 172?

I have completed the requirement for the longest cross country - More than 300 NM, 250 straight line with three landing.

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6 Answers

  1. Lucas on Oct 12, 2012

    Dear Ami

    The Single commercial is always going to be the cheaper way to go unless you have already mastered the Multi Engine Airplane and meet the requirements of FAR 61.129 (b)(i). So for example the long X-C needs to be in a Multi Engine airplane (and I assume you did that on a Single Engine, which would mean you need to do it again).

    When you do the add on for the Multi there is no minimum time required on that aircraft, meaning if you are proficient it could be done in as little as 3-4 hours rather that 50+ (multiengine rate is going to probably be nearly twice as much as single engine rate).


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  2. Ami on Oct 12, 2012

    Thank you very much for your quick answer Lucas

    to make sure I understand you correctly I’d like to ask few questions

    Single (C-172RG) Commercial pilot Multi (PA-34) add on, would be the right way to do it?
    I did not touch the Multi yet, do I have to repeat this Cross country again?

    If I will start my training on the multi which is complex, and then standard Cessna 172 as add on (since I already completed the long cross country) do you thing that will be better?

    Thank you very much,


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  3. Sam Dawson on Oct 12, 2012

    “Cheaper” depends on your goals. While it is cheaper to go the route of getting your CSEL first if your goal is to become a CMEL pilot then getting your CSEL first is not money well spent and I agree with those recommending you go the route of getting the CMEL first.

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  4. Best Answer

    Matthew Waugh on Oct 13, 2012

    What Lucas is saying is that if you want to do the initial Commercial in a multi you must re-read the requirements for a commercial rating with that in mind – and you will have to meet many of those requirements IN a multi-engine plane. That will be expensive – and as he says, one of those expenses is ensuring you meet the cross-country requirements IN a multi-engine plane.

    But – if you do the single engine commercial first – then the multi-engine add-on is a “train to proficiency” event – and will require a lot less money spent in multi-engine time.

    I disagree with Sam – if the end goal is a CMEL then it’s STILL important (or it may be important, it was to me) how expensive it is to reach that goal. If obtaining the CSEL first is the cheaper route then it IS money well spent.

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  5. Wes Beard on Oct 13, 2012

    If we are talking about end goals here, we also need to discuss the hiring requirements of many pilot jobs. In a multi-engine airplane, there are some jobs that require a minimum of 50 hours of multi-engine (ME) time. There are a whole lot more airlines that require a minimum of 100 hours ME time.

    They all care about total time but do not set a minimum amount of time needed in a single engine airplane. If you need 1000 hours total time and a minimum of 100 hours ME time. It may be cheaper to finish your commercial certificate (20 hours dual and 10 hours solo) in a ME aircraft and then eventually earn your MEI certificate and teach in the ME. Most companies value multi-engine time far greater than single engine time.

    I agree with others that the cheapest way to get your certificates and ratings is by getting your single engine first and then add on the multi engine.

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  6. Sam Dawson on Oct 16, 2012

    A few problems with going the CSEL route is that the pilot (if a MEL job is the goal), must still go out and get MEL time. Most insurance policies are now requiring a minimum amount of MEL time in excess of what a pilot will get during a MEL add-on rating, especially at a “quickie” school (normally somewhere between 15-25 hours in type). Someone also mentioned that those hiring care about MEL, not really SEL time.

    So a pilot going the SEL route first must STILL go out and get the dual MEL time required for insurance purposes if the desire is to rent an airplane in order to build up flight time and must still somehow get that MEL time required for the first job. So will the cost be cheaper up to the point where the pilot gets their certificate going the SEL route first? Yes. But… then what? They must still build up that MEL time.

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