Commercial Training Help

I am beginning to work on my commercial certificate in my 1979 Piper Dakota. The local instructor I am working with, who is great, doesn’t have a lot of experience in the Dakota. I am looking for any advice the group may have regarding power settings/speeds for maneuvers, things to do or avoid, and any general advice or input as I move forward with this training. Thanks for your help!


  • Hi Mitch,
    Four years ago I got my Commercial Multi in my Seneca 2. While totally different than the Dakota, I can tell you that I had my plane in the shop every week because something would break while doing all of the required maneuvers. eg: Alternator wires, microswitches, etc. I managed to get through it but it was anxiety producing. Were I to do it again, I would rent a plane.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Thanks Scott. I have had those thoughts and concerns as well. The maneuvers are certainly going to place a load on the aircraft. I am trying to weigh that with the fact that I would be going through the training in the plane I will be flying for some time.

  • Steep turns
    Lazy Eights
    Eights on Pylons
    entry speed all @110 kts
    Steep spiral entry speed @ 90 kts

    but of course always with a safety margin towards Va

  • I have not flown the Dakota but some points to consider perhaps also mentioned by your instructor:

    Check through the owners manual. It will sometimes offer recommended speeds for maneuvers and while you are in there, check the stall speeds for various angles of bank and aircraft configurations. Commercial maneuvers can take you to those limits so it is good to know where they are.

    There are some excellent video sources that demonstrate maneuvers in various aircraft from the pilots point of view. Check Sportys. I found these useful.

    Practice, practice, practice, and practice without your instructor once you can SAFELY execute the maneuver. This will save you some money but more importantly build your confidence to do these well with the instructor absent.

    Don't forget to clear the area and best of luck with your new certificate!


  • MitchT, one more comment regarding the commercial maneuvers after reading your thread again. The commercial maneuvers are not designed to be a test of your aircrafts strength or to shake loose problems that might be lurking in the aircraft. They are designed to hone your ability to control the aircrafts attitude, altitude, and airspeed with coordination and an awareness of keeping the aircraft from exceeding its safety limits, putting it where it needs to be, when it needs to be there. They are not designed to stress the aircraft, but it does stress the pilot😬.

    Have fun with the maneuvers! It is a challenge to do them well.


  • Thanks for all the comments on the commercial training. I decided to use the Dakota for the training since it is the aircraft I would be flying. I am closing in on the end of the training and am glad I chose to use it. I hope to take my check ride in another few weeks, once I polish up a couple of the maneuvers. It has definitely been a confidence enhancing certification to go through and has certainly ‘stressed’ and pushed me to new levels.

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