6-Day Commercial Training

We did it!  That’s right, I’m now a commercially rated pilot.  My relationship with Ruben and AFIT began over two years ago when he helped me earn my instrument rating in 2021.  After a year of trying to complete my commercial rating locally, I became bogged down and frustrated with my inability to cross the finish line.  I had been in a similar predicament two years ago when working on my instrument rating.  I have a unique life schedule with my work, family, and volunteer activities. When I found time to work on my commercial rating, my local CFI was unavailable, the weather was not conducive for flying, or my aircraft was down for maintenance. I had kept in touch with Ruben and AFIT over the past few years and was praying they would be able to help.  

In August I was able to schedule time to complete my commercial pilot training. My story begins back in March 2023.  I called Ruben and asked if he would be available. Without hesitation he stated, “absolutely!” I was relieved, to say the least!  Now all I had to do was locate a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE). As most people in the business can attest, this might be the hardest challenge to overcome. I called every DPE I could find, and I mean everyone. No one was available and August was five months away! I called Ruben in a panic. “Ruben, how am I going to get this done,” I asked.  I can’t find a DPE. Ruben is at his best when the stress levels are high, and the pressure is even higher.  Ruben put my fears to rest and told me he would make some calls. Within a few minutes, he texted me several leads on possible DPEs. We eventually were able to schedule a check ride with the same DPE who I tested for my instrument rating with.  Sounds like the end of the story right?  Not quite.   

Fast-forward to August, I flew to KLHM (Lincoln Regional), in Northern California from southern California.  During the flight there I was excited to be working with Ruben again. I was confident that with his training and mentorship I could meet and exceed the standards of the ACS to become a commercial pilot. When we arrived at KLHM, Ruben was finishing up with another student. He came over and greeted my dad and I.  I was overjoyed to be back in Lincoln again with my friend and brother Ruben. Anyone who has been part of this amazing aviation community, for more than a few minutes, can testify that the people you meet and build relationships with are what make aviation what it is. Because of the camaraderie in the aviation community, I’ve built a lifelong relationship with Ruben.  Enough sentimentality-let’s get to work!  That is just what Ruben, and I did. We discussed the aircraft I was going to fly during the training, and my training to this point.  He asked detailed questions to ascertain whether my aircraft and I were ready for the next 6 days.  By this time, I was tired and hot. Ruben asked, “Do you want to go fly” I paused, then began to answer, “Yes.” Ruben looked at me and I knew I had answered incorrectly. I had been up before sunrise already, flown over 5 hours and the weather was still over 30 degrees Celsius. Ruben saw I was in no condition to start flying any rigorous maneuvers. He suggested I take it easy the rest of the afternoon, get a good night’s sleep, and we would begin in the morning. Ruben understood my commitment to this training, but he was not going to let that get in the way of what I really needed – a break.   

Over the next 6 days, Ruben put me through a fast paced and focused flying routine. One of the days included completing over 30 power off 180 landings to commercial standards along with many hours of flying. Many other instructors would have continued on to a new skill after 5, maybe 10 landings. Not Ruben, he was going to make sure I had mastered the maneuver. On each landing he would give me feedback on how to improve until I could critique my own landings and make proper adjustments to my technique.  This continued until both Ruben and I were satisfied that I was consistently flying to commercial standards.  Due to Ruben’s daily regimen of flying and debriefing and flying and debriefing, plus studying in the evenings, I was able to successfully earn my commercial pilot. If you need an experienced, professional, dedicated, conscientious hard charging, do anything for you, flight instructor Ruben is the man you want for your next flight training needs.