October 18, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
AOPA is seeking feedback from members on whether a new scheduling policy set by flight standards district offices (FDSOs) in Las Vegas, Nev., and Scottsdale, Ariz., has curtailed pilot access to designated pilot examiners (DPEs) for practical tests, or driven up checkride costs.
The new policy limits DPEs supervised by the two FSDOs to 50 practical tests per calendar quarter (not including rechecks and checkrides designated by the FSDO). The policy differs from the national policy that limits DPEs to two checkrides per day, not including rechecks, and brings high-activity DPEs under closer oversight.
“According the FAA, when an examiner has high activity—more than 50 checkrides per quarter and/or 200 per year—they increase their oversight. Approximately three to five percent of DPEs are deemed as ‘high activity,’” said David Oord, AOPA manager of regulatory affairs.
AOPA is working to ensure that the new regional limitation of DPE activity does not adversely affect pilots in need of scheduling practical tests, or cause an increase in testing fees, Oord said.
He encouraged members who have encountered difficulties associated with the new policy to share their experience with AOPA.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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