Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Finally, a place for sport pilot instructors and/or wannabees to talk about instructing.

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RTK
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby RTK » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:29 pm

comperini wrote:I have no idea how much it would cost, since I'm located in the Los Angeles CA area ;)


Bob! Good to see you on the forum! You were my DPE last year at KFUL! Thanks again for the great experience!

I’m fortunate that Bob was available, but I have read about students in other parts of the country who have to drive hours to find a DPE available for a Sport Pilot checkride.

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drseti
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:24 pm

CHAPTER 4:

Welcome back, viewers. In the last episode, our hero had hired and trained an adjunct flight instructor to finish training and then endorse his students, so he could administer checkrides
He then applied to AFS-610 to become a Sport Pilot DPE.

Application filed, his qualifications and eligibility were confirmed, and his name was placed in the hopper. It turns out that nothing else happens until a FSDO requests that an SP DPE be appointed for their district. If this doesn't occur within 3 years, the applicant must reapply, and the whole process starts anew.

Well, those three years passed, and the call from FSDO never came. During that interim, my FSDO chose to enlist another DPE, who had applied for the full-blown designation (that is, to give checkrides for all ratings, SP through PP, Commercial, Instrument, and Multi). My FSDO wasn't about to appoint someone who was restricted only to SP (which is all Yours Truly wanted to do).

Well, since my goal was not to secure a new job, just checkrides for my students, I was actually OK with this decision. After all, our new DPE was willing and able to provide SP checkrides, so my services as an examiner weren't really needed.

Or so I thought. For a couple of years, he gave all my students their checkrides. But not without some problems. Since he lived 100 miles away, and my students wanted to do checkrides from their home field, they had to pay extra. Our DPE decided to charge both mileage and an hourly rate for his travel time. (But nobody ever told my students this was going to be cheap...)

BTW, a DPE is an independent contractor, free to set his or her own rates as he or she sees fit. In other words, they are allowed to charge mileage, or travel time, or even both. That doesn't mean my students have to like it.

Then, just over a year ago, the Big Wait started for my students. Two of them were ready for checkrides, and suddenly my only available DPE's day job was interfering with his checkride scheduling. My two students found themselves getting rusty while waiting, spent hundreds of dollars extra on solo flight time to try to stay current, saw their solo endorsements and checkride eligibility expire, and then had to spend hundreds more on additional dual in order to get signed off again. And when our DPE was actually able to give checkrides, somehow it appeared that his Private, Commercial, Instrument, and Multi applicants seemed to take priority.

I decided it was time to take action. So, I met with my local FSDO Manager, and convinced him that we had a need for a Sport Pilot only DPE, and that I was his guy. He agreed to back me, and specifically request me from AFS-610. With that, I was ready to re-apply.

But, it was not to be smooth sailing, as Chapter 5 will reveal. Stay tuned.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

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Half Fast
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby Half Fast » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:57 am

drseti wrote:CHAPTER 4:
But, it was not to be smooth sailing, as Chapter 5 will reveal. Stay tuned.


Sailing? Sailing?!

Now you have to learn how to sail as well as fly to become a DPE? My word. The FAR just becomes more ridiculous all the time. Will you be qualified to examine and certify skippers as well? What's a sailboat checkride like?

This whole aviation thing keeps getting stranger and stranger....
1/2
----------------
I dream of a world where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.

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drseti
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:09 am

Half Fast wrote:Sailing? Sailing?!

<snip>
This whole aviation thing keeps getting stranger and stranger....


Pardon the thread drift, folks, but there really was a basis for this metaphor. When I got my seaplane rating, I did indeed need to learn how to sail
(Hint: you use the rudder. )
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:22 am

CHAPTER 5:

Last summer, after my two long-suffering graduates finally got their checkrides, I filed a new application with AFS-650, the FAA branch that handles training of designees. It took them two months, but they eventually reviewed my credentials and green-lighted me to take the training.

There are now two DPE courses required. The first one is taken online, and is a prerequisite for the week-long, live course taught in OKC. So, I immediately paid my $100, then took (and aced) the online course.

Now, I was eligible to sign up for the actual training. I felt like I had won the lottery. (First prize, a week in Oklahoma City. Second prize, two weeks in Oklahoma City!) The next course (which cost $400, not counting transportation, lodging, and meals) was just two weeks away, and airline seats in and out of Podunk PA are a scarce commodity, so I scrambled to make my flight reservations (three legs, taking all day - don't you just love the hub-and-spoke system?)

Airline reservations secured, I went to the AFS-650 website to register for the September class, only to find out it was already full! I operate on a three-strikes rule, and this was clearly:
STRIKE ONE!

Fortunately, I was able to cancel the flights I had reserved less than 24 hours prior, and get a full refund from American.

Next class wasn't being offered until January, and wouldn't open for reservations until the September class was concluded, so I'd have to wait a while to start Chapter 6.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:56 am

CHAPTER 6:

Remember that September DPE class I talked about in Chapter 5, the one that was already full when I tried to register? It turns out that, the first day of class, there was a no-show, and if I had been there, I could have gotten in! But I am too cautious (and too broke) to risk a $2000 trip, and a week of my time, on such slim odds. So, I waited.

I had requested of AFS-650 that I be notified the moment the January DPE course opened for enrollment, and they obliged me with a timely email. This time, I didn't waste a minute with airline reservations, but went straight to the course registration website, and (as it happens) was first in line. Only by now, the $400 course fee was up to $480 (oh well, it's only money, I'll make it back when I start giving checkrides, right?)

Airline seats for a trip three months away were not a problem, although the January fares were higher than they were last time around (oh well, it's only money ... etc. etc.)

At zero dark thirty on the appointed travel day, I boarded an Embraer commuter jet for the first leg of my journey, a flight from IPT to PHL. As soon as I landed, and turned my cellphone off of airplane mode, I found a message waiting for me: because of the Government Shutdown (thanks a lot, Congress!) the January DPE course was cancelled.

Remember that three-strIkes rule I mentioned in the last Chapter? Well, this was clearly:
STRIKE TWO!

The next flight back to Williamsport wasn't until 9 PM (I told you this was Podunk PA, didn't I?) so now I have a whole day to kill. I spent it cancelling my ongoing flights, booking the night flight back home, convincing the airline to route my baggage back (it had already been loaded for CLT), canceling my hotel reservations, and then arguing with an insurance company. You see, when I made my airline reservations, I had purchased trip insurance. Turns out it didn't cover Acts of Government! (I had thought that was only Acts of God. Wait... same thing.)

Fortunately, American Airlines was more sympathetic than Alianz Insurance. Eventually, I got a full refund.

I got home exhausted, and frustrated, figuring after a good night's sleep, I could embark on Chapter 7.

On Tuesday, Congress re-opened the government.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

HAPPYDAN
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby HAPPYDAN » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:43 am

Sir, you truly redefine the word "perseverance". One hardly wonders, with such trials and tribulations, why there is such a decline in General Aviation. For too many, and too long, it has simply become too difficult. :cry:

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:46 am

Thanks for the words of sympathy, Dan. However (as they say in the late night TV ads): "But wait -there's more!"
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:32 pm

CHAPTER 7:

When I opened my eyes on Tuesday morning, the government had opened theirs. It was time for my third time at bat.

An email from AFS-650 to me, and all the other enrollees in the January DPE class, gave assurances that our $480 tuition payments would either be refunded, or credited toward a future course. So, I checked the online schedule, finding an April offering.

Of course, the dates fell square in the middle of my Spring academic quarter, which was already fully subscribed and prepaid by a great bunch of students (many of whom had been on a waiting list since last fall). You, see, I don't subscribe to the traditional revolving door flight school scheduling paradigm, which I believe contributes to our training industry's pitiful 20% completion rate.

Instead, I run a rigid schedule of fixed lesson dates and times, two lessons per week, three hours per lesson, incorporating (on average) an hour of individualized tutorial (ground instruction), about 1.3 Hobbs of flight, and a three-quarter hour debrief. What else would you expect from a retired college professor who's been teaching for 45 years?

So, I called up all my Spring students, apologized for the inconvenience, and informed them that we would be shutting down for a week in the middle of the term, and tacking an extra week onto the end of the quarter. When I explained why, all were supportive.

Rescheduling accomplished, I went online to register for April. To my horror, the website would not accept my reservation without remitting my $480 tuition - again! I prepared to ring up AFS-650 to complain, but in the interim, received an email from them. They were adding another, unpublished course section in March, specifically for the members of the terminated January course, and our tuition would be automatically credited upon receipt of a returned opt-in email.

Opt in I did, faster than you can say Chuck Yeager. Then, I called up all my Spring students once more, apologized for the inconvenience, and told them we were moving our one-week break back from April into March. Again, thankfully, all students were agreeable. (What a great bunch of students I have!)

I called back to the hotel in OKC. To my surprise, they were expecting my call (FAA had apparently clued them in), and reactivated my cancelled reservation for the new dates, at the same price. All was working out well.

Now, on to the airline, which had good news and bad news. Yes, they had seats for the requested route on the required dates. Unfortunately, the class being the week before Easter, the rates were roughly doubled.

Oh well, I told myself, it's only money...

When I told the tale to my FSDO friend, he said "don't worry about it. You'll make it up in your first few checkrides."

And you wonder why DPEs charge so much?

Unless something unforseen occurs, you can expect Chapter 8 around April first -- no foolin'!
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

RTK
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby RTK » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:38 pm

Wow... Agreed with the others Dr. Shuch - you have gutzpah and perseverance. That’s a lot of to go through (cost wise, patience, and tolerance for the ever changing.). Hopefully the March course will be given without any further issues!

comperini
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby comperini » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:51 pm

Have you forgotten the infamous FAA Motto?
- Bob
COMM, CFI, DPE, Light Sport Repairman/Maintenance
http://www.sportpilotinstructor.com

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby 3Dreaming » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:00 pm

And worst of all, you had to miss Sebring.

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:04 am

comperini wrote:Have you forgotten the infamous FAA Motto?


You mean the one about how the FARs are written? I think it's "we're not happy until you're confused."
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:06 am

3Dreaming wrote:And worst of all, you had to miss Sebring.


And you can be damned sure I won't let that happen again!
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

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WDD
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby WDD » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:19 am

Forgetting whatever motivates the FAA and their rule making and flashing back to the real world......

Would not any flight instructor know enough to do a check ride and oral test?

I could see a conflict of interest if the student's instructor was also the examiner, but any other flight instructor could do the test.

DPE shortage eliminated.


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