Sport Pilot DPE shortage

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

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drseti
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Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:04 pm

This will be a rather long message, which I'm going to break up into multiple short posts.

As those of us who instruct students toward the Sport Pilot rating are painfully aware, there is a severe shortage of Designated Pilot Examiners willing and able to give checkrides in LSAs. In my FAA district, there are three qualified ASEL DPEs. The senior one weighs over 350 pounds, and would probably overgross my plane solo. Another is somewhat svelte at just over 250 pounds, but chooses not to do Sport Pilot exams. The third I'll get to later - but this is indicative of a systemic problem. When one applies to become a DPE, there is nowhere on the application form where one lists his or her weight (it would be discriminatory to even ask). Thus, in many parts of the country, there is just nobody available to give an SP checkride!

The third airplane DPE in my FAA district weighs in at around 200 pounds, and is willing and able to examine Sport Pilots. But, he has a full-time job as an airline captain, and a very full schedule.

Last year, one of my students had to wait FOUR FULL MONTHS for DPE availability. (That was long enough for his solo endorsement and checkride-qualifying dual instruction to expire TWICE while waiting.) This excellent student got so discouraged that he was on the verge of quitting.

OK, I've stated then problem. For the past eight years, I've been working to find a solution. Stay tuned for the next several installments of this ongoing saga.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
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rcpilot
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby rcpilot » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:48 am

My fellow Zenith owner who was training at Lakewood, NJ had a problem finding a DPE. I hooked him up with the guy who gave me my check ride who is based in CT. He did it but it cost him an extra $200 for travel.

Sling 2 Pilot
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby Sling 2 Pilot » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:53 am

Does the DPE need to be Sport Pilot specific? If that’s the case, can an examiner from the FSDO do the test?

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:12 am

CHAPTER 2:

There are actually three options for Sport Pilot checkrides. A DPE assigned to a FSDO can give them, if willing (but only if he or she chose to include SP in the designations requested when signing up). We have a new DPE in my district who just got authorized for Private Pilot checkrides, but (even though he meets the weight restrictions for most LSAs) he failed to specify SP in his application. So, until he later chooses to add that privilege, he's not an option.

The second option is that FSDO Inspectors are technically authorized to give practical tests. They used to do that routinely, when I started out decades ago. But most FSDOs are now short-handed. You just can't find an available inspector anywhere, so this is, for all practical purposes, a non-option.

But there is another way. The rule that started the LSA industry in 2004 created the Special and Experimental Light Sport Aircraft categories. It established the Sport Pilot certificate. It included FAR Part 61 Subpart K, creating the Sport CFI. It created the LSRM and LSRI mechanic ratings. And (here's the good news) it established a new, SP-specific DPE rating.

The very first DPE-SP was our friend and fellow forum member Paul Hamilton in Reno. A few dozen more exist, scattered around the country. And the good news is, they are not assigned to or managed by a specific FSDO. They report to AFS-610 (the FAA Sport Pilot branch), and can give checkrides anywhere in the country. Of course, they can and do charge for their travel costs, which can easily double the cost of a checkride.

When I first started my flight school 8 years ago, there was no DPE assigned to my FSDO who could fit in my plane. But, there was an AFS-610 examiner (SP only) living in the adjacent district, and my students used him. I think he was charging them $400 for a practical test, plus another $200 for his travel - but the students were at least able to get checkrides. (He is no longer an active DPE, so for my students, that option has since evaporated).

At that same time, recognizing that there's a shortage, I decided to apply to AFS-610 to become a DPE-SP. That part of the saga will be covered downstream, in Chapter 3.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US

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Half Fast
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby Half Fast » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:41 am

Paul, it seems to me that the problem could be alleviated by simply getting the FAA to increase the 1320lb to something more reasonable, like 1700 or 1800, thereby making a few larger planes eligible.

Personally, I really really like that answer. Could you please use your considerable influence with the FAA, and your superpower of persuasion, to make that happen? :D
1/2
----------------
I dream of a world where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby Warmi » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:44 am

DPE cartifications should be structured hierarchically . If you want to be a PP DPE, you need to be able to handle PP and all lower ratings and so on. Problem solved.
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:57 am

CHAPTER 3:

Recognizing the DPE shortage, and witnessing the difficulties my students were experiencing in scheduling checkrides, I decided six years ago to apply to AFS-610 for a DPE-SP rating. I really didn't want another career, I just wanted to serve my students. But this presented potential conflict-of-intetest issues, which I had to figure out how to mitigate.

Ideally, a checkride should be given by someone who has had no prior contact with the student, who can look objectively at the applicant with fresh eyes. Obviously, it would be inappropriate for me to recommend a student for a rating, and then administer the practical test. (It would probably also be illegal.) Sure, I could get DPE rated, and then give checkrides all over the country - but how was that going to benefit my students?

In consultation with the aforementioned DPE Paul Hamilton, I came up with a solution. I hired and trained an adjunct flight instructor. I would instruct my students through the completion of the cross-country phase, and then turn them over to him. My adjunct would finish the students up - review their performance, remediate any weaknesses, give them the two hours of required dual in preparation for the checkride, give them all their logbook endorsements, walk them through the IACRA process, sign off as their Recommending Instructor, and then schedule them for a checkride with me.

I would have to discipline myself to disregard any halo effect (positive or negative) resulting from prior contact, and just evaluate the applicant's performance on the oral and practical test.

I could do that.

So, about six years ago, I applied to AFS-610 to become a Sport DPE. And that's when things got weird.

Tune in next time, for another exciting episode of Adventures in Examining!
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:00 am

Half Fast wrote: Could you please use your considerable influence with the FAA, and your superpower of persuasion, to make that happen? :D


If you really think I have considerable influence with the FAA, Half, you haven't been reading my posts!
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:03 am

Warmi wrote:DPE cartifications should be structured hierarchically . If you want to be a PP DPE, you need to be able to handle PP and all lower ratings and so on. Problem solved.


"Should be" and "is" are two completely different realities, Warmi. Truth is, very few PP examiners (or PP CFIs, for that matter) know all that much about the SP and Rec Pilot rules.

Have you noticed how many of our forum members have reported problems finding a flight school willing to train them for SP? Many CFIs try to up-sell potential students to PP, saying "you don't want to be a Sport Pilot - it's not a real pilot license. And you don't want to be a Rec Pilot - you can't go farther than 50 miles. Just get a PP and be a real pilot." That's the level of misunderstanding I'm talking about.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US

Warmi
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby Warmi » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:40 am

drseti wrote:
Warmi wrote:DPE cartifications should be structured hierarchically . If you want to be a PP DPE, you need to be able to handle PP and all lower ratings and so on. Problem solved.


"Should be" and "is" are two completely different realities, Warmi. Truth is, very few PP examiners (or PP CFIs, for that matter) know all that much about the SP and Rec Pilot rules.

Have you noticed how many of our forum members have reported problems finding a flight school willing to train them for SP? Many CFIs try to up-sell potential students to PP, saying "you don't want to be a Sport Pilot - it's not a real pilot license. And you don't want to be a Rec Pilot - you can't go farther than 50 miles. Just get a PP and be a real pilot." That's the level of misunderstanding I'm talking about.


I completely understand where you coming from but my point was that it would be possible for FAA to require anyone who applies for PP DPE certificate to demonstrate their ability to perform examinations for all licenses at or below the license they are applying for - at least with that in place there wouldn't be any technical/procedural reasons for PP DPEs refusing to give Sport Pilot check-rides.
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

comperini
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby comperini » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:17 pm

I am also one of those "Class of 2005" DPEs who is assigned directly by AFS-610 (and not my local FSDO). Since this isn't my day job, I've always been happy to travel to the applicant's location, as long as my travel is paid. Applicants are usually more comfortable doing the exam in their own back yard, where they spent all their time training. For the applicant to come to me, they'd have to get the cross country solo endorsement to my place, which costs quite a bit of money (you have to fly the route with your instructor first), or they hire their instructor to come with them. Either way, it's going to cost the applicant money. I'm also happy to fly in an applicant's experimental.

Since I'm assigned by AFS-610, I have no geographical boundaries to worry about, like FSDO assigned DPEs. I don't need "permission" from FSDO to perform practical exams in their area.

FSDOs were not always allowed to designate "sport pilot" examiners. That's a fairly new thing. But yes, it is a special designation. Private pilot DPEs do not automatically have Sport Pilot DPE privileges.
- Bob
Commercial pilot, CFI, DPE, Light Sport Repairman/Maintenance
http://www.sportpilotinstructor.com

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drseti
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:21 pm

Gee, Bob, I really should have presented you as an option for my students. How much would you have to charge for travel to and from Lock Haven?
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US

comperini
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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby comperini » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:33 pm

drseti wrote:Gee, Bob, I really should have presented you as an option for my students. How much would you have to charge for travel to and from Lock Haven?


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

I normally charge GAO gov't per diem rates for travel. Obviously, I prefer to do more than one test if being asked to travel, because I'm losing money on the deal (vs my day job) no matter what.
- Bob
Commercial pilot, CFI, DPE, Light Sport Repairman/Maintenance
http://www.sportpilotinstructor.com

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby 3Dreaming » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:37 pm

comperini wrote:I am also one of those "Class of 2005" DPEs who is assigned directly by AFS-610 (and not my local FSDO). Since this isn't my day job, I've always been happy to travel to the applicant's location, as long as my travel is paid. Applicants are usually more comfortable doing the exam in their own back yard, where they spent all their time training. For the applicant to come to me, they'd have to get the cross country solo endorsement to my place, which costs quite a bit of money (you have to fly the route with your instructor first), or they hire their instructor to come with them. Either way, it's going to cost the applicant money. I'm also happy to fly in an applicant's experimental.


What is the regulatory source for that statement? As I read 61.93, only certain cross countries require that the instructor first fly the route before signing the student off to make the flight. I don't think the flight from Pennsylvania would be one of those certain cross countries.
If I am wrong please let me know.

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Re: Sport Pilot DPE shortage

Postby drseti » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:01 pm

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


Oh, way too much, I can assure you!

I normally charge GAO gov't per diem rates for travel.


As do I. By the time I've paid a coach round-trip airfare between Central PA and SoCal (which takes 2 or 3 legs, adding up to a full day each way on the airlines), paid for a rental car, a couple of hotel nights, three days of departure airport car parking, meals, and incidentals, I'm into my clients for a couple of kilobucks - and that's before I even start the work they're hiring me for. Works for industry jobs. But, for AFS-610 to say my students have plenty of DPEs to choose from is just a tad unrealistic.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US


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