FAA Addresses Exam Delays


The FAA will be making some major changes to address delays in pilot practical test scheduling reported by flight training providers across the country, according to the Flight School Association of North America (FSANA). A group led by FSANA met with senior FAA staff in Oklahoma City to discuss solutions to the testing delays last week. After the meeting, FSANA says it is confident that the policy and process changes discussed “will have immediate and future positive effects on airman practical test scheduling shortages.”

Reports gathered by the organization point to delays stemming from a decrease in the number of Designated Pilot Examiners (DPEs) in recent years and a lack of examiner availability in some locations. To address this, FSANA says changes to be implemented include removing geographic boundaries for DPEs, switching CFI practical test scheduling from Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) to DPEs authorized to give CFI exams, and replacing the National Examiner Board with a new National Appointment Process.

The changes also call for the development of a safety assurance system and FAA reviews of all delegation programs with some of these policy and process shifts scheduled to go into effect as early as September 2018. Furthermore, FSANA says that the FAA will be rolling out a new Designee Management System to be completed by April 2019 and will begin work on a FAR Part 183 rewrite. Part 183 covers “the requirements for designating private persons to act as representatives of the Administrator in examining, inspecting, and testing persons and aircraft for the purpose of issuing airman, operating, and aircraft certificates.”

FSANA has been gathering reports and working with the FAA, flight training providers and other industry partners on improving practical test scheduling delays for the last two years.