The FAA last week committed to immediately address the industry’s growing shortage of designated pilot examiners available to give checkrides for all categories of pilot certificates. The Flight School Association of North America says some of the areas hardest hit by DPE shortages include “Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Texas, the Carolina’s and areas in the Northeast.”
In its most recent newsletter, the FSANA said, “As these changes are made with industry and FAA collaboration, FSANA is confident that safety will be ensured while also improving the ability to provide practical tests in a timely manner within the U.S.”
A few of the policy changes include eliminating the geographic boundaries for DPE’s that currently prevent them from traveling to areas where the need for examiners is great. When it comes time for a CFI practical test, the FSDO will no longer get in the middle of DPE scheduling as it does currently. Students will schedule their rides directly with their local examiner. The FAA’s National Examiner Board’s designation to select, train and deploy new DPEs will also be replaced with a National Appointment Process, expected to be more flexible. FSANA expects many of the changes to begin within the next 30 days.