DPEs are advised to review the recent FAA Notice 8900.485 that has just been issued that removes geographic limitations and changes the number of tests allowed per day for FAA DPEs.
The highlights of this notice are that:
- DPES may conduct the tests for which they are authorized without restriction as was previously typically established on a basis of their FSDO boundaries;
- DPEs are now authorized to give up to 3 full practical tests and an unlimited number of “retests” in a day;
- DPEs must provide a minimum of 24 hours notice of any practical test activity to their managing office.
DPEs who find themselves within areas where they would previously not been able to provide practical tests without going through a somewhat cumbersome request and approval process to act outside their previous geographically restricted limitations can now conduct tests without such requirements. This is expected to be especially helpful for DPEs who live close to previously applicable FSDO boundaries or who travel regularly and may be able to help provide tests at locations other than their home office in any downtime they may have. DPEs will still be required to notify their managing office of their testing activity as previously required.
The increase in allowable number of practical tests in a day is intended to allow DPEs to “fit in” more testing activities that are short time footprints such as retesting only partial flight portions of practical tests (think 3 students who may have to do short field landings only) or shorter practical tests such as a commercial-single-engine add-on or a sea-plane add-on practical test. These tests do not require as long of times to complete and could legitimately allow a DPE to conduct more tests in a day. It is not expected that a DPE might fit in 3 full initial private pilot or commercial multi-engine initial practical tests that have much longer time requirements in a single day.
This notice is the result of input received by the FAA from the flight training community to allow for more testing to take place in each day by each DPE to help alleviate shortage issues relating to the securing of practical tests.
DPEs should note that these changes in no way change the requirements of the tests, authorize examiners to give shorter tests than required, or combine any testing efforts to get more tests done in a day.
It is advised that DPEs use these expanded policies only when scheduling legitimately allows additional tests to be completed in a given day.
The FAA will surely be monitoring DPE activity and will continue to trigger additional oversight of DPEs based a risk-based analysis of activity quantity, types of tests given and the time it takes them to be administered, and a variety of other factors they monitor when evaluating DPEs and how or if they are conducting their work within the scope of testing guidance and FAA order requirements.
The full test of the notice can be seen by clicking here.