AOPA has been named a member of an FAA working group that will study ways to fix shortcomings of the designated pilot examiner (DPE) system that created bottlenecks in airman testing and exacerbated the industrywide pilot shortage.
Christopher J. Cooper, AOPA director of regulatory affairs, will represent AOPA on the Designated Pilot Examiner Reforms Working Group, which will have its first meeting October 29 to 31 in Washington, D.C.
The group’s approximately 25 members will include representatives of the FAA, flight schools, other aviation-industry associations, and individuals selected from a pool of volunteers to serve.
A June notice that assigned the review to the advisory committee stressed the importance of giving DPEs flexibility to conduct practical tests “to meet the growing need of the public.”
“The Committee also shall make recommendations with respect to the regulatory and policy changes if necessary to allow a designated pilot examiner perform a daily limit of 3 new check rides with no limit for partial check rides and to serve as a designed pilot examiner without regard to any individual managing office,” it said.
The working group will be required to report its recommendations to the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee no later than 12 months after its first meeting. Congress also directed that the FAA “take such action as the Administrator considers appropriate” not later than one year after receiving the recommendations.
AOPA has strongly advocated for DPE-system reform, noting in June that the review could go a long way toward bringing about “much needed, long-lasting improvements.”
Some reforms are already taking effect: On October 2, the FAA notified the aviation community that it had extended a year-old policy allowing examiners to practice outside the territories in which they had been originally authorized to conduct practical tests.