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Thread: Checkride costs!

  1. #1

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    Checkride costs!

    I know I have mentioned this before in the context of mechanics, but today a cute little blonde woman told me the CFI checkride is up to $1200. Yow! And then my buddy informed me that his CFI oral went from dawn to dusk, the ride was at night, and his DPE told him he was the first CFI candidate he had seen who passed on the first attempt.

    I feel truly lucky to have joined the aviation community when I did. I never had to put up with any of that. They told us at America West that the required Dispatcher rating had a two day oral, but mine was closer to three hours. I don't know two days' worth of anything! And my Airbus oral was more like 15 minutes. I did know the 'bus cold, and I guess the examiner could tell, but I promise you, even with everything in the book memorized cold, I did not know ten hours' worth about the A320.

    Moral might be - don't let your CFI lapse.

    Remind me to tell you about my PP checkride. It ended with a shot of whiskey, and I had no idea I was taking a checkride. 1963.
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    If you cannot judge pilot flesh after 1 hour in the oral, and by the time you reach the run up area on the practical, you have little business giving rides. I have yet to give a ride where I did not have a pretty good idea within the first 20 minutes.
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    It's nuts for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeeBee View Post
    If you cannot judge pilot flesh after 1 hour in the oral, and by the time you reach the run up area on the practical, you have little business giving rides. I have yet to give a ride where I did not have a pretty good idea within the first 20 minutes.
    Just enough time to work through the nerves?

    Why would an oral last that long? If the candidate has to look it all up, just fail them. Sounds like a DPE padding the bank account
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    All of them are doing extremely long orals. The eight hour variant is an extreme, added to an already extreme policy. I suspect OKC is dictating minimum length orals. I think defending my MS only took an hour.

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    algonquin's Avatar
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    Flying for Airborne Express was like that. When I first went there the training dept. was being run by mentally ill people.it was so bad that when I was in initial Grn. School a guy came in and announced the director of training was found to have lung cancer and the guys upgrading cheered. Glad to be retired out of there.

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    SJ's Avatar
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    I took my CFI checkride with the FAA, so it was free. It is still an option, but plan on a longer oral. Mine was only about four hours, but I was very prepared. To play devils advocate here, don't you think that you want to make sure CFI candidates are well prepared to teach the pilots of the future? There are lots of mediocre instructors out there.

    The DPE's that I know have said they do now have a lot more to worry about. If you do poorly on your written, they are required to discuss real world scenarios around all the questions you missed. It's not a license to steal in my opinion - although some people think so.

    sj
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    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Sadly it’s also too subjective to determine how well a CFI applicant can actually “teach”, as compared to those that simply know how to fly.


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    I think I paid $350 for my CFI recertification ride last year. This was for a Glider ride (mind you, it covered airplane single & multi engine, instrument airplane and glider). The oral was about 3 hours, single flight lasted about 1 hour. I had let my CFI lapse about 10 years prior, so having a good review was well worthwhile.


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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    I seem to recall hearing that a PP checkride is around $500 nowadays.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    brown bear's Avatar
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    One more reason why CFI's are getting few and far between.

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    There are plenty of CFIs around here - the local flying club has 400 or so, and only 1700 total members.
    I won't do instruction leading to a checkride any more, with occasional exceptions for Cub owners. I just cannot stomach a lot of the new stuff - teaching rudder control by suggesting that you forgot your camera and are now late for a baseball game? (Yes, that is a suggested scenario in an FAA approved course.) Forget it - I won't do it. And I cannot deal with acronyms - I hate them.

    Grumble.
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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    I took my CFI checkride with the FAA, so it was free. It is still an option, but plan on a longer oral. Mine was only about four hours, but I was very prepared. To play devils advocate here, don't you think that you want to make sure CFI candidates are well prepared to teach the pilots of the future? There are lots of mediocre instructors out there.

    The DPE's that I know have said they do now have a lot more to worry about. If you do poorly on your written, they are required to discuss real world scenarios around all the questions you missed. It's not a license to steal in my opinion - although some people think so.

    sj
    I'm with Steve. I did my initial CFI with FAA, and it took four hours ground and a little less than an hour flight. That was a serious oral. He'd tell me to teach him some topic, then sit back. I'd get fifteen minutes into that lesson, complete with lesson plans, and he'd say, "Good enough, now teach me --". And so it went. In my opinion, the oral is by far the most important part of that exam....can he or she TEACH? By the time they get to that point, they should be able to fly. My CFI flight, I only flew the airplane in one maneuver, again, he'd fly the maneuver, I'd critique, he'd do it again, etc. He decided to bust me on the Steep Spiral, which he asked me to fly. I did so, and he said "Nope, that's not the proper way to fly that maneuver." To which MY CFI, who was riding the back seat, pulled out the NEW copy of the PTS for CFI and pointed out to him that I had actually performed the maneuver perfectly, according to the new PTS. He asked to see her PTS, which she handed over. He said "This PTS just took effect today!" And, that was the end of the ride.

    A well prepared CFI is worth their weight.

    As to Examiner's, you need to understand that they are getting heat from the FAA. I went through the steps to become a DPE, and near the end of the process, I said "NO Thanks!!". You couldn't pay me enough to do that job.

    I haven't seen DPE's bills recently but six years ago, the ones I knew were charging $300 a ride.....and it's not done by the hour. If you busted, the re-take was covered by the initial fee for those folks, which I thought was really fair.

    MTV
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    By the way, I subscribe to Beegee's take: I could tell whether I had a good first officer by the way he copied the clearance. I can tell whether a pilot will take three or ten hours for a tailwheel endorsement by his/her first landing.

    An oral exam should never be more than two hours. You can tell in 15 minutes whether a student is prepared or not.

    Opinion.

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    For expired CFIs that want to do a reinstatement I found an interesting option. I'm not 100% this will work but from perusing the sport CFI PTS I think an expired CFI could do the proficiency check for sport CFI thus reinstating all of their CFI ratings. No extra benefits being regular and sport CFI just a way to get reinstated by flying with two CFIs instead of taking a CFI checkride with an examiner. Save a bunch of money and hassle. If someone does it and it works let us know.

  16. #16

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    Cheep at twice the price!
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 04-23-2019 at 03:56 PM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    By the way, I subscribe to Beegee's take: I could tell whether I had a good first officer by the way he copied the clearance. I can tell whether a pilot will take three or ten hours for a tailwheel endorsement by his/her first landing.

    An oral exam should never be more than two hours. You can tell in 15 minutes whether a student is prepared or not.

    Opinion.
    Bob,

    On most checkrides, I’d agree. But not the initial CFI. I do agree, however that it shouldn’t take two days. Examiners in FAI were doing six hour SES add ins, which was utter BS. I talked to one examiner and he argued, to which I responded BS. He did shorten things up after that.

    MTV

  18. #18
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    One of the perks of the military is that because I was an Instructor Pilot in the Air Force, I can get a CFII by taking a written test. However, i have no use for it at this stage in my life. Just the test costs about $200.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

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    And you would find yourself unable to fly with friends without serious insurance upgrades. Lawyers love to find multiple defendants - a million doesn't cut it any more. CFIs are sitting ducks.

  20. #20
    aktango58's Avatar
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    While I agree that instructors should be well prepared, but it is a CHECK RIDE and Knowledge test. If the candidate can not show in one or two tries that they can develop a lesson plan and convey the message, they are done and need to go back to lessons.

    What was the point in having you do three or four different lesson plans? Redundant work is a wast of time unless there was something not right. A second time- ok, but three?

    Bob's point, to which I agree, is that very quickly a person will show you their ability and knowledge. Even one with a low written score- they know they will be quizzed on that information; if they can not spit out correct answers, send them back for better training. Sometimes it is best to send them to a different instructor!

    I respect every DPE I have ridden with. They each taught me something, and were on point to find out if I knew my information. If you don't, it should be very short. If you do- cover the bases to be sure and get it done.

    If we really want to be safe, lets get back to teaching spins for student pilots and flying without any working panel.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  21. #21
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Examiners in FAI were doing six hour SES add ins, which was utter BS.
    MTV
    SES add on for a CFI?? Never heard of a seaplane rating on a CFI certificate.

    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    If we really want to be safe, lets get back to teaching spins for student pilots and flying without any working panel.

    I'll wager that most CFIs today are scared stiff of even approaching a spin. I used to teach spins prior to solo. One student came back and thanked me for saving his life after he accidentally got into one.
    N1PA
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    Spins in the good old T-37. I still remember the Bold Face procedure that we had to memorize. You had to do it exactly to recover. If you just let go, it would spin into the ground.

    Don't know if they still teach them today. In my day, all pilots went from the T37 to the T38. Today, only the Fighter qualified pilots go to the Talon.

    The Tweet is gone today. Everyone starts out in the T-6A. The Non Fighter pilots go to the T-1 Jayhawk.
    Last edited by Eddie Foy; 04-24-2019 at 06:51 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    Spins in the good old T-37. I still remember the Bold Face procedure that we had to memorize. You had to do it exactly to recover. If you just key go, it would spin into the ground.

    Don't know if they still teach them today. In my day, all pilots went from the T37 to the T38. Today, only the Fighter qualified pilots go to the Talon.

    The Tweet is gone today. Everyone starts out in the T-6A. The Non Fighter pilots go to the T-1 Jayhawk.
    Not in the AF, but we modeled our T-6D training program after the Navy.

    We spin. That damn thing wraps up fast. From a spin it’s pretty forgiving to poor recovery techniques, though it’s really easy to overspeed in a poor recovery of you’re not careful.

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    I assume you're talking about T-6's not made by North American. The real T-6 spun like crazy, and wound up faster on recovery. 500 feet per rotation, and recovered past vertical. Minimum entry altitude specified as 10,000 feet in the military manual. Mine was actually called an SNJ-4 so I suppose we can get away with calling these new fan dangled models Texans or T-6's. I guess I'm getting really old and now demoted to flying an L-19.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    SES add on for a CFI?? Never heard of a seaplane rating on a CFI certificate.
    Pete,

    No, not SES for CFI. This was just initial SES....nearly all day. DPEs figured they wanted their money's worth, I guess. Jon Brown would never make any money at that rate.

    As to spins, I'm a big advocate. Sometimes the problem is finding an trainer that's legal for spins. Cessna 150s and 172s are good spinners, and when I taught at the U of M, all prospective CFIs did a real spin indoc in 172s. Other students who wanted spins could sign up as well. That was four flights in 172 and two in Decathlon. Good intro.

    But, if your training fleet is all Piper.....aint gonna happen. And, many (not Cessna) new airplane manufacturers want no part of their planes being spun. Check out the POH in the CC-18-180....No spins permitted.

    Do the math in your Super Cub, and read the fine print in some mods for same.....it's tough to find a Super Cub that's legal for spins, at least with two up.

    MTV
    Last edited by mvivion; 04-24-2019 at 11:39 AM.
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    I just did my CFI-A add on back in November... I'm already a CFI-H so it was an abbreviated version. Had to do most of the maneuvers but there were some technical subject areas that were omitted. Cost with a DPE was $600... And this is in DC which I consider a high cost area. Oral was about 2 hours. This test was based on the PTS vs. ACS (do not believe the ACS has been released for the CFI check ride yet). (I like the new ACS, took my Comm SES add on under the new ACS at Browns.) The elevator trim stall demo got interesting... Performed the maneuver and all was good... Went to take the trim out and nothing happened... the trim had failed in the full up position. (172...) Not a super big deal but for a new pilot / smaller pilot could get interesting I think. Uneventful landing but the bummer was had to go back out and finish the check ride about a week later for the maneuvers we didn't get to complete. Examiner stated that he would call it good since I had a real EP on a checkride but gotta follow the rules! Not really sure what I will do with my CFI, mainly got it to teach my kids to fly and I was getting bored with my helicopter work flying and needed an aviation challenge.

    Anyways, that's my story..

  27. #27
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Brown's oral is about 30 minutes if you do OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Pete,

    No, not SES for CFI. This was just initial SES....nearly all day. DPEs figured they wanted their money's worth, I guess. Jon Brown would never make any money at that rate.

    As to spins, I'm a big advocate. Sometimes the problem is finding an trainer that's legal for spins. Cessna 150s and 172s are good spinners, and when I taught at the U of M, all prospective CFIs did a real spin indoc in 172s. Other students who wanted spins could sign up as well. That was four flights in 172 and two in Decathlon. Good intro.

    But, if your training fleet is all Piper.....aint gonna happen. And, many (not Cessna) new airplane manufacturers want no part of their planes being spun. Check out the POH in the CC-18-180....No spins permitted.

    Do the math in your Super Cub, and read the fine print in some mods for same.....it's tough to find a Super Cub that's legal for spins, at least with two up.

    MTV

    MTV

    MTV
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiskeyMike View Post
    I assume you're talking about T-6's not made by North American. The real T-6 spun like crazy, and wound up faster on recovery. 500 feet per rotation, and recovered past vertical. Minimum entry altitude specified as 10,000 feet in the military manual. Mine was actually called an SNJ-4 so I suppose we can get away with calling these new fan dangled models Texans or T-6's. I guess I'm getting really old and now demoted to flying an L-19.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

  29. #29
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Examiners in FAI were doing six hour SES add ins, which was utter BS. I talked to one examiner and he argued, to which I responded BS. He did shorten things up after that.

    MTV
    You are so right, this is utter BS​! The entire SES training for the average pilot shouldn't take more than six hours.
    N1PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    You are so right, this is utter BS​! The entire SES training for the average pilot shouldn't take more than six hours.
    Maybe, but there are a couple operations that do it way too quickly to be safe for folks who are actually going to use the rating. I had to do 15 hrs to get insurance, and we used a lot of it sailing, docking, and taxiing which turned out to be incredibly valuable later.

    sj
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  31. #31
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    That's true sj. You put an insurance requirement to good use. The FAA's PTS can be met with far less. As with any rating, the piece of paper is only a license to learn.
    N1PA
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    That's true sj. You put an insurance requirement to good use. The FAA's PTS can be met with far less. As with any rating, the piece of paper is only a license to learn.
    And, I always assumed that an applicant was intending to actually use the rating, so was a lot more thorough than many, and than the PTS required. We also had a really wide variety of landing options not available everywhere: Big lakes, very small lakes, ox bow lakes, very fast rivers, slow streams, etc. All that offered a lot of learning opportunities, and I tried to take advantage of them all with every applicant.

    I never had anyone complain that we did too much. The vast majority were really happy to see so many different scenarios.

    MTV
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    You are so right, this is utter BS​! The entire SES training for the average pilot shouldn't take more than six hours.
    I don’t recall how much time I had in seaplanes when I went for my check ride. The ride was interesting, December 10 upstate NY. Landed on a lake with one single floating dock and the examiner has me demonstrate docking with the LA4200. Work my way up to it, down to idle with one mag, pull the mixture, open the canopy and climb out on the foredeck to grab the line out of the anchor compartment just as we touch the dock and I jump off. Went perfectly! Now I go to push off, knee on the front of the airplane, push and the dock goes back, airplane stays still and I go in the drink! Scamper back up into the airplane and fortunately we drifted far enough that I could taxi away by then. Temperature was down about 35, and this Lake didn’t have heat. Was damn near hypothermia by the time we got back to the airport, but I got the rating!


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    The ACS and the local FSDOs combined with the DPEs style all contribute the length of the oral exam. I see 1-2 hours for Private and Instrument with 2-2.5 being the norm for initial commercial multi. Local costs are 450-500 for initial rides, half price for re-rides and 1000 for CFI initial.
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    Chris just took her SES checkride, it was $500 and about 2 hour ground eval. The examiner seemed more like a Cherokee type. He didn't like her being below 80 on the glassy water approach in a PA-12. It was tough figuring out what he was asking in some of the situational questions.
    Last edited by txpacer; 04-25-2019 at 12:00 PM.

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    In a way, I am with Mike - if only the DPE were still allowed to impart additional knowledge and expertise . . .

    I have over 150 hours in seaplanes, but no experience with technically difficult stuff, and limited experience docking. I now have students with far more experience in those areas than I.

    The thing that keeps me out of trouble is I look for experienced help when getting out of my comfort zone.

    And a final comment - A SES is one rating where the oral is almost not necessary. Devote the time to a "Mike-like" checkride, with technically difficult stuff - docking in a river, say.

  37. #37
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txpacer View Post
    ... The examiner seemed more like a Cherokee type. He didn't like her being below 80 on the glassy water approach in a PA-12. It was tough figuring out what he was asking in some of the situational questions.
    I hope not to offend anyone. That DPE needs some dual instruction in how to fly seaplanes. Long ago in this area examiners didn't have seaplane ratings so it was difficult to get a flight test. As a result if an examiner would get his seaplane rating he was authorized to give check rides. This with no more time than a still fresh wet ink ticket. It should be noted though that the FAA and the examiner depended on the experienced instructor to give adequate training.

    It sounds as though Chris's examiner was one of those. He should be ashamed of himself for charging that exorbitant fee. I used to feel embarrassed for charging $50 for the same thing, sometimes less.
    N1PA
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  38. #38
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    $500 seems to be the norm now, and he did offer a free retest, if required.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    Maybe, but there are a couple operations that do it way too quickly to be safe for folks who are actually going to use the rating. I had to do 15 hrs to get insurance, and we used a lot of it sailing, docking, and taxiing which turned out to be incredibly valuable later.

    sj
    A quick measure of how long a SES will take is how much boat experience a person has. Someone that rode the ferry to Station Island twice a month will probably take some time to get them competent with water work.

    A kid that wind surfs, or sails shallow water boats, or just run motor boats around will not take near as much time. If the person has run under powered boats lots they are really easy as they know that where the weight is in the boat makes a difference.

    Docking a non-motor boat and float plane is similar- time it so all power is off as you come in, and when your vessel stops you should be able to step off and secure to the dock

    Now, the reality is that the wind and current will take you away from the dock, and the tail, (love the big fuse of the beaver for this), will want to go downwind making it really hard to get the floats parallel to the dock, within jumping distance.

    It is fun taking a seaplane instruction from a green seaplane instructor. Especially if you forget to inform them that you have experience.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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    The seaplane rating is the one that has the least amount of time with the engine running. I used to love taking students out on the Hudson. Not only wind and current but tide as well. Had a couple places down by Bannermans Island that were fun to beach at, nice beach, but trees and brush on either side, and you had to sail to get the back of the floats on the beach, all while watching currents. Then if you spent any time on the island, the tide would change either leaving you high and dry or wading out to get back on the floats.

    I sure do miss flying floats and boats!


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