Designated Pilot Examiner
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2008)|
||It has been suggested that FAA Pilot Examiner be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2011.|
A Designated Pilot Examiner (commonly referred to as a DPE) is a senior pilot designated by the FAA to conduct oral examinations and inflight or flight simulator checkrides (collectively called "practical tests") with pilot applicants to determine their suitability to be issued a Pilot Certificate or additional rating on their Pilot Certificate. Certain DPEs also have authority to issue Flight Instructor Certificates and associated additional ratings. At the completion of the testing procedures, DPEs issue a "Temporary Airman Certificate" (pilot certificate) with the new qualifications or ratings, to be followed by a regular, credit-card-like certificate from FAA Airman Records following review of the certification file. In the United States the process to become a DPE involves joining a waiting list with the FAA, sometimes for 10 years or longer depending on the need of the local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).
Once the FSDO accepts an applicant he/she travels to an FAA training facility (usually a course at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, OK) for training and testing.
The general guidelines by which DPEs examine pilots are called Practical Test Standards which are published by the FAA. DPEs are not FAA employees and charge fees for their services, but they "act for the Administrator (of the FAA)" to augment the limited availability of FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors; more than 90 percent of pilot certification checkrides in the U.S. are conducted by DPEs.
DPEs are required to attend biennial recurrent training conducted by the FAA, and annual standardization meetings with their supervising FSDOs -- as well as being examined regularly by FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors conducting ridealong flights or oral reviews.