Lack Of Examiners Creates Major Checkride Delays

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Flight training providers across the country are reporting that they are having trouble getting their flight students scheduled for practical tests in a timely fashion, according to reports received by the Flight School Association of North America (FSANA). The organization says the decrease in the number of examiners in recent years and a lack of examiner availability in some locations has led to training delays and extra costs for both applicants and businesses.

Now, schools are telling FSANA that they are having to schedule practical tests an average of five to six weeks in advance in many locations, with reports of wait times as long as four to six months. FSANA has also heard from applicants who have had to call FSDOs to schedule initial CFI practical tests multiple times and received no return calls. In some cases, some larger training operators have told FSANA that they have resorted to purchasing airline tickets so that their students can to take tests in other FSDO regions where an examiner is available.

FSANA says it has been working with the FAA and industry partners for nearly two years to determine how extensive the problem is. FAA Deputy Director for GA Safety Assurance James Viola recently told FSANA that the FAA is working to achieve the 10 business day/14 calendar day goal for practical test scheduling. FSANA CEO Bob Rockmaker applauded the FAA for “recognizing the serious nature of the airman testing issues” and thanked them for their attention to the problem.

“While some progress has been made, more is needed,” FSANA said. “We stand ready to work actively on this, but it must be done quickly. This industry is not in a position to wait another two years to address this clear and present concern that is negatively affecting flight training businesses and slowing the pilot training pipeline.”

The FAA has set up an email address so that anyone having difficulties finding an examiner for a practical test, having tests administrated properly or coordinating with the local FSDO can contact them directly. Additionally, FSANA has said anyone not comfortable bringing these issues to the FAA can contact them instead at info@fsana.com. Emails sent to either address should include the subject line “Pilot Testing Issues.”

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