A panel of experts will advise AOPA in developing recommendations for the FAA on how to improve the designated pilot examiner system, which faces a range of challenges from lapses in examiner availability to conduct pilot testing to the inadequate oversight of some individual examiners.
AOPA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Christopher Cooper will head the six-member AOPA Designated Pilot Examiner Advisory Board, which held a virtual orientation session in December and will get down to business in January 2021.
Cooper likened the advisory board’s role to that of the recently reconvened AOPA Board of Aviation Medical Advisors that helped AOPA achieve major advocacy goals in the past and was reactivated to work on proposals to modernize and streamline the pilot medical certification process.
Before the DPE advisory board was created, AOPA strongly advocated for the FAA to address bottlenecks in pilots’ access to DPEs to administer their practical tests during a period of strong demand, resulting in a 2019 nationwide FAA policy allowing examiners to operate outside their regular geographic areas.
The advisory board will provide guidance for AOPA’s work with the FAA’s Designated Pilot Examiner Reforms Working Group, which was formed under a mandate from Congress in 2018 to review “all regulations and policies related to designated pilot examiners” and focus on “the processes and requirements by which the FAA selects, trains, and deploys individuals as DPEs.”
The other members of the AOPA Designated Pilot Examiner Advisory Board include Catherine Cavagnaro, an aerobatics instructor and professor of mathematics at Sewanee: The University of the South; David St. George, a master flight instructor, working charter pilot, and executive director of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators; Alan Miller, an Airbus A320 pilot with Delta Air Lines; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Adjunct Assistant Professor Dr. Janeen Kochan, who holds a Ph.D. in applied experimental and human factors psychology from the University of Central Florida in Orlando and is a former Boeing 767 captain and human-factors instructor for a major U.S. airline; and Doug Rozendaal, a veteran warbird and aerobatic pilot.