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DFE fee $500

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Well-known member
Nov 25, 2001
I was at Phoenix East Aviation in DAB and heard that a DFE is now going to charge $500 for an initial CFI. Don't forget you still have the plane to rent so the total cost will be in the six hundred dollar range.

This is to much for anyone to charge. It is time for us to ask the FAA to look into this as to why they can charge fee's like this.
DE Fees


If you want to get nasty about it, you could try to find out if giving practicals is all this DE does. There are rules against DEs using examination fees as their only source of income.

I dunno if Riddle-Daytona has self-examining for CFI initials. Something tells me this guy charges the $500 because of all that ERAU money floating around. Or else, maybe the guy is a Santa Claus and is taking advantage of the trade in his market.
Unless something has changed in the last year, DEs cannot do initial CFIs in the ORL fsdo area.

Unless you're at a school that has self examining authority like ERAU, you must use the Feds.

Orlando FSDO
I knew a DE that would charge a more reasonable $300 for a check ride, but then he would fail you on something rediculous that any other DE would have let slide like a couple extra knots on landing or a soft field landing that in his opinion was just a little too hard. He would then tell the student to find his instructor to make one trip around the patch to get signed off again so he could finish the ride that same day. The catch... he charged you another $300 when any respectable DE would only charge half of their normal rate to complete the ride!!! One student ended up paying $900 in checkride fees to this crook of a DE. And to top it all off, this DE only accepted cash! How much do you think he was reporting to Uncle Sam??? We ended up not using him anymore as soon as we found out what this guy was doing. This happened on a number of occasions and it was obvious this DE was failing students just to get some more cash out of them.

Be careful, most of the DEs i've delt with were stand up people, but there are those out there that take advantage of their position.
I have a good friend who is a DPE, and from what I understand from him, they are basically allowed to set their own rates. I won't defend those who engage in some of the shady practices you mention, but I will say that most DPEs are good people who work hard to earn their money.

These guys set their rates based on the market in their area, etc. My friend charges $300 for CFI initials and ATPs, $250 for multi-engine rides, and $225 for single-engine rides. Like most examiners, he accepts cash only. The reasoning is simple ... you pay for the checkride before it begins, of course. You write the guy a check, take the ride, and you bust ... perhaps you disagree with the results ... so you put a stop on the check. What recourse does the guy have? The answer ... none at all. Nobody likes failing a checkride ... and examiners don't like handing out pink slips!

I agree that $500 is probably a little steep ... so, if you're in that situation, shop around. Your area FSDO will give you the names of all the DPEs in the area, along with their designations (the rides they're allowed to do).

Tailwinds, y'all ...


I understand what you said about the cash and stop payment on checks. We even tried having the student write the check out to the school I instructed at then give the DE a guranteed check from the school instead of the student. Still didn't go for it. I agree, most DEs are good, stand up people. Not this one though.

I just found out that the school some of my friends instruct at is having a real tough time with the examiners they use. This school had a Part 61, 30 day CFI/II course which they used these examiners for both the CFI and CFII rides. I'd say the average class size was anywhere from 5-10 students, and at somewhere around $300 per checkride, per student, that came out to quite a bit of money for the examiners. Well, this school just got 141 examining authority for the CFI/CFII course and will be running it as a 141 program vs. 61 now from what i've heard. The examiners that they were using obviously weren't too happy about this because it meant less money for them, and together they failed every one of the CFI/II applicants on their first attempt during the oral. Some after being in the room with the examiner for about 6 or 7 hours! From what i've heard some of these failures were legit, but most of the students were very sharp and should have passed. And all this just to prove a point!?! Absolutely rediculous!!!
That's the sort of stuff that needs to be reported to the local FSDO....

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