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FAA or DPE's.....

T

Traumahawk

Question..........
I have gone through CFII and all my checkrides have been with DPE's with the exception of Instrument and CFI which were in-house with my school.
I have flown with DPE's from Crystal River, Fl to Tampa to Jax. All nice guys for the most part....ranging from real friendly to real moody.
But whats the deal with going with the FAA? It's free isn't it? Everyone says...oh man, not the FAA...they'll fail you.
I will admit from being ramp checked a couple times and watching an Inspector standing around with a handheld nail some guy for canceling IFR in the clear 100 feet too early, that these people may not be the best pick to put your record on the line with. But at the same time the PTS don't change for anybody, and with my two 'in-house rides' and numerous stage checks, I wonder if anything can be so bad sometimes.
Anyone here fly with the FAA before? Better? Worse? Unfair? I'm thinking MEI could be 300 bucks cheaper if I take the ride with the FAA. 'Thinking' being the key word ;)
Thanks guys...
-- T-hawk
 
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avbug

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Thawk,

It doesn't matter at all. Take your test with whom you will. Many instructors prefer not to send students to the FAA inspector, prefering the added expense of the examiner. These instructors feel that the examiner will be easier. These instructors are idiots who have no business signing off the student in the first place.

If the student is prepared and can pass the practical test standards, the student is prepared. Period.

I was working with someone last year for a time. He needed more attention than I had time for, and I recommended he use a local flight school or FBO to finish up. I did the courtesy of contacting several schools to get a referral for him. He wanted to use the FAA for his practical, as opposed to a designated examiner. Not one single instructor or school would be willing to sign him off to go to the FAA. I finished him up on my own, as I have no qualms about sending a student to the FAA upon completion.

It's a sad state of affairs, but you do what you want, and tell the rest where to get off. Be prepared, and you'll have no problems.
 

bobbysamd

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FAA v. DE

As a practical matter, I'd stay away from the Orlando FSDO, based on my experiences with them. I went there to renew my CFI based on activity because I was about to move to California. The ASI asked me all kinds of questions about my employment. She wanted to know where I worked, why I was renewing early, my former employer's phone number, etc. When I asked why she needed to know all this superfluous information, she threatened to 609 me. Compare that to the Scottsdale FSDO, where I went regularly to renew my CFI. I brought the same records, i.e. my logbook with all my endorsements and results, and walked out shortly with a fresh CFI. I was always treated courteously and professionally at Scottsdale.

I write all this in part to say that it probably doesn't matter where you go to take your practical. Some inspectors are fair and reasonable. Some are not. Some FSDOs have agendas to promote. Some DEs are fair and reasonable. Some definitely are not because they contrive ways to hustle you for an extra couple hundred bucks for a recheck. I know of one DE in Scottsdale who gives eight-hour orals and two-hour flights. Frequently, the flight has to be done the next day, which inconveniences the applicant.

Avbug is right. A well-prepared applicant should do fine with any DE or FAA inspector, anywhere. Bear in mind, though, that the FAA might be hard to schedule and just might send you to a DE anyway.
 

Float Pilot

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I think Bobby Samd hit the nail on the head - the FAA can be tough to schedule. That's the only reason I've heard around Anchorage not to use them.
 

avbug

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I'll buy all of that with spades. I did attempt to schedule a young man for a checkride last year, and was told no problem, would eight months be too early. I was provided with the names of several local examiners. I noted that the applicant wished to do his practical at the FSDO for reasons of finance, but the inspector to whom I spoke, who happens to be the lead at that FSDO, told me that theyre busy.

I opined that forcing someone to a DE is FAA mandated extortion, but predictably, it went over like a lead balloon. That individual went to a DE and passed with flying colors.
 
3

350DRIVER

Awk-
I would say that from an accomplishment standpoint one who bypasses the FAA and does the ride with the DE doesn't appear to have the overwhelming sense of "confidence" that the first pilot who took the ride with the feds has however either way will work. (my opinion)- IF anyone's CFI attempts to "pursuade" you to do it with a DE and YOU want to do it with the FAA then the simple solution would be to simply explain to your CFI that it is YOUR ride as well as your "money" which usually solves this dispute and conflict of interests. The FAA won't do/pull anything that you are not prepared for BUT if this does happens then your CFI has failed in his/her job. AT this point of the ballgame you should be very well versed and have the knowledge needed to passs a FAA ride regardless of the fsdo that you go to. I try to pursuade ALL of my students to do their check rides with the FAA not only to save them money (anything helps especially when DE's are charging upwards of $175.00 for the PVT ride in this part of the country) but it also acts as a "check" on me to ensure that I am "properly" and "safely"doing my job to the best of my ability as a certified flight instructor since I know that if they can pass the ride with the feds then I have properly have done my job and so forth-etc etc... yada yada...

Whether you go to the MCO, HOU, or CLE FSDO that should be completely "irrelevant" since at that point you have properly been found to meet all practical test standards IF your CFI has done his/her job to the best of their abilities . I believe most of the horror stories are fabricated and for the most part the FAA is "fair" and will give you a fair shot at proving your abilities. Don't let one or two of these stories prevent you from a "challenge" where the outcome is usually a good one with positive results. IF you get a 3 hour or 8 hour oral you aren't "paying" fo it so enjoy it at the FAA's expense and IF you are open minded and willing to learn and adapt then you will do just as good as you would have done with the DE.

Bottom line is once you are "certificated" no one really cares who you did the check ride with so with that being said do the ride with who YOU want to do it with...


cheers as always
3 5 0
 

Checks

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I didnt read the whole post but from my limited experience I am glad I took my ride with the Feds because it was easier. Some of those DPE's are hard on CFI's because of all the idiot students they get while the Feds are happy to be out of their offices. My CFI Fed ride was eeeeaaassyyy and FREE
 

Rerouted

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It depends on the examiner

I've flown with DPE's and the Feds, and in all honesty, it depends on the individual examiner. I've read stats somewhere that pointed to the fact that you have a better chance of passing with a DPE than with a Gov't examiner. I've sent my students with both, and found straight across the board that the well prepared student will perform fine. There are DPE's and Fed examiners who seem to beleive that nobody should pass the first time out (at least they have this reputation). Avoid them. There are also those who seem to pass anyone with a pulse.....avoid them too. There's nothing better for the confidence of a student or an instructor than a passed checkride with a thorough examiner. That said - show them what you've got!
RR
 

FlyToVegas

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mco fsdo

I agree with bobbysamd about steering clear of the Orlando FSDO. I took a ME VFR rating ride with one of their DPEs who failed me because (and I quote) "I don't feel comfortable flying with a female." I took this to the Orlando FSDO whose inspector said "I don't blame him." On my re-ride with a different DPE, well,he failed me because "I didn't hear you say 'feather'" No kidding. That examiner also took money out of my student account he was not entitled to (it's called "theft.") When I took this breach of the PTS to the MCO FSDO (pardon me for feeling I was failed unfairly) another inspector replied "OH NOOOO!!! I know (DPE's name inserted here) and (DPE) would NEVER do that!!!!"

What happens at the Orlando FSDO is anyone's guess, but it has nothing to do with the PTS. BTW, I have written several letters to that FSDO since the occurances and the MCO FSDO will not respond.
 

172driver

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I have flown with DPE's and FAA, both in California and, yes, the Orlando FSDO. Never had any problems. I agree 100% with the earlier post that said it all depends on the individual examiner and the PTS. Not many people have flown an entire ride within PTS and failed, regardless of the examiner.

I'm sure some of us have true horror stories about checkrides but, as a CFI, I hear many. 99% of the time, the story told by the applicant varies greatly from the one told by the examiner. Usually the student will say something like 'he failed me for not putting the prop forward.' When you talk to the examiner you will find that the student lost control of the aircraft on takeoff, missed the low-voltage light, blasted through the PTS, forgot all of their checklists, spun him during slow flight, and then was discontinued when the examiner couldn't take any more.


"I agree with bobbysamd about steering clear of the Orlando FSDO. I took a ME VFR rating ride with one of their DPEs who failed me because (and I quote) "I don't feel comfortable flying with a female." I took this to the Orlando FSDO whose inspector said "I don't blame him." On my re-ride with a different DPE, well,he failed me because "I didn't hear you say 'feather'" No kidding. That examiner also took money out of my student account he was not entitled to (it's called "theft.") When I took this breach of the PTS to the MCO FSDO (pardon me for feeling I was failed unfairly) another inspector replied "OH NOOOO!!! I know (DPE's name inserted here) and (DPE) would NEVER do that!!!!"

What happens at the Orlando FSDO is anyone's guess, but it has nothing to do with the PTS. BTW, I have written several letters to that FSDO since the occurances and the MCO FSDO will not respond"

No offense, but this seems like a perfect example.

1. I highly doubt if you were failed for being a female. What was the area of operation on the pink slip? Was it something you performed within PTS?

2. I highly doubt if the FSDO said 'I don't blame him' for saying he was uncomfortable flying with a female. More likely, the inspector didn't blame him for failing you on the area of operation you performed poorly.

3. The PTS says you must simulate feathering the prop. How did you simulate it without saying so? How was the DPE to zero-thrust it if you didn't say 'feather?'

4. How is the DPE committing 'theft' by receiving an examiner's fee from your student account? He is entitled to that fee whether you pass or fail.

5. This one will draw flames. I have flown with female pilots who were excellent and some who were definitely not...same with men. However, the unprepared female pilots seem to have dramatically better results on their FAA checkrides than their male counterparts. I have even backseated some FAA rides where the female applicant, IMO, should never have gotten past the runup, and they passed. In my experience, females have a much easier time with the FAA/DPE's. I'm sure this is not the same everywhere and I'm not generalizing. Just my experience. Also, I do understand the crap many female pilots have to put up with throughout their training just because of their gender. Hats off to them.

6. It is never wise to argue a failed checkride. It won't change anyone's mind. It will get around and may cost you on the recheck.

However, my point in this post is that you can't condemn the Orlando FSDO because of what one bitter applicant has to say. It may or may not be true. I suspect the latter. You learn to read between the lines after hearing the excuses so many times.
 
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FlyToVegas

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mco fsdo

Actually, everything I state is 100 percent true and there are witnesses to my story. My point is that based on my experience, the MCO FSDO will not get off their arses and do their job (the post I responded suports that statement)....they don't seem to enforce the regulations when it comes to their personal friends who they have designated to DPE status. Yes, I am not happy with the outcome of failing two chekcrides for specifics not stated in the PTS but I have every reason to be livid at the MCO FSDO who will not do the job we pay them for. I shared my story as a caveat to other pilots, not to be bashed by someone who was not there at the time.
 

172driver

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Sorry if you feel like you were being bashed. The longer you are in this business, the more you will realize the truth of what I said though. You have probably already heard several stories from friends about how they were unfairly 'failed' by examiners. Or maybe how the examiner cut them no slack on a small mistake. The truth is usually a bit different if you talk to the examiner. A bunch of straws will always break the camel's back.

Your case may be 100% true. If so, you have a right to be upset. But, I noticed you didn't answer any of the questions I posed in my previous post, especially #1 and #3. Of course, you don't have to, but it seems to prove what I was saying...maybe the flights weren't as great as you portrayed. Were the flights within PTS? What part of the flights did the examiners say weren't within PTS? And, how did you simulate feathering the prop without saying so? What are the regulations the FSDO refuses to enforce? Do you think maybe they see you as someone who is bitter about failing a checkride rather than someone who has been discriminated against? Maybe you're both? Your refusal to address the real issue, the PTS, would raise red flags for me. Most importantly, is it worth it to raise a stink? Nothing you say will erase those pink slips.

As you say, I wasn't there. If those attitudes are around, I sympathize and believe that you have a responsibility to fight them with all you've got. I guess it seems so wrong that I have a hard time buying it. I'm sure that's where the FSDO is coming from too. I have flown with many of the DPE's around Orlando and, as I said, they seem to be more than fair to females. If you flew beautifully, I highly doubt that the examiner would've been 'uncomfortable'...female or not.
 
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avbug

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Flytovegas,

The occurances you described are grevious in nature. Submitting a grievance to the FSDO is the wrong act. You need to pursue legal action and redress through the serves of an attorney.

Failure to do so is acceptance and agreement with these actions by default.
 
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