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Examiners failing students on purpose


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Does anyone out there believe that examiners fail students just to show the FAA they are not too easy or that they are doing their job? Just talked to a guy at my school who took his CFI check ride last summer. It was 17 hours of oral, and then he flew the next morning. The guy said that the examiner just kept going and going, almost like he was looking for anything and everything to fail him for. He passed, but I'm not looking forward to a 17 hour oral for my CFI check ride. Any thoughts?

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I have heard that theory before, but in my limited experience with only 4 DPE, I have not seen anything to back that theory up. They typically don't have to go out of their way to find a reason to fail somebody.

 

That being said, a friend of mine failed his CFI checkride twice. Both times the dpe said he didn't have a lack of knowledge or explain things wrong, he just wanted the candidate to explain things differently. On the third time, the chief pilot sat in on the oral just to see what was going on, and the guy passed. Who knows, the dpe are just people too, they have good days and bad days.

 

Orals can vary greatly depending on the person, especially for a CFI checkride, but 17 hours does seem a bit excessive. Your friend can't say he didn't earn his certificate :-)

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Not necessarily. My DPE was under a lot of scrutinity as he got checked out by the FAA himself during my checkride. And I can tell you: it was no fun. Mine was "only" 11hrs, I cannot imagine what 17hrs must've felt like.

I've heard the myth that they have to fail a certain percentage, but it's hard to believe that something like that would be carved in stone. Prob. more like a urban legend or mere perception.

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I think that's just a DPE with a grudge more than anything. My CFI oral was seven hours and it was plenty thorough. And honestly, I think that if a DPE was out to fail a CFI candidate, he could easily do so well before the 17 hour mark.

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WOW! The DPE was earning what CFIs earn per hour. Maybe a little less.

 

-WATCH FOR THE PATTERNS, WATCH FOR THE WIRES-

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A bit excessive and unnecessary. They don't have to go looking hard to fail poeple either, they probably are more lenient the majority of the time. Some like to be more text book and others are more practical. My preference is a practical DPE like your good flight surgeon that start your flight physical from the first greeting (handshake- coordination check, conversation and starts talking a little quieter - hearing check and so forth). No reason not to kill multiple birds with one stone- the same can be done in an oral and in flight with some maneuvers. That would sure reduce the fatigue of the poor examinee. In fact if I were a chief pilot I would cancell the check ride flight after a 17 hour oral and say the students duty day is up at 8 hours and for safety reschedule the flight and have a chat with the DPE and encourage a more constructive manner to approach the situation. If they want to do the check ride over 3 days - 2 orals and a day to fly then so be it, he is god if he is the DPE, but he wouldn't fly under my hangar after a 17 hour oral and let a fatigued client/student kill themselves.

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If the DPE can not figure out if you know the information or not in 5 hours or less, I personally believe that they have no business being a DPE. It has been my experience with FAA inspectors, that the good ones generally take under 5 hours to conduct the oral for the CFI. I have run across some inspectors that believe that checkrides need to last a specific amount of time and get upset when a DPE or check airman takes less time. As of yet, I have not seen any guidance issued by Washington requiring certian types of checkride to last a specified period of time. Just that they need to be through and complete.

 

I would agree with the 8 hour rule. The regulations limit a CFI to 8 hours and since you are being tested as a CFI, I believe that you could stand your ground on that point alone.

 

DPE's don't need to intentionally fail a applicant. Enough applicants fail themselves without a DPE having to manufacture a failure.

Edited by rick1128
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I dont remember, is that 8 hours for CFI flight instruction (as in flight time) or is it like duty time? If it's the second one, I broke that one several times a week as a CFI.

 

Fortunatly after exceeding duty time on a ground the only way you are going to hurt somebody is if you literally bore them to death.

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Ive done 7 checkrides total. 4 with DPEs and 3 with FAA guys. All were pretty much by the book. The nice thing about the FAA was we started at 8:30, took a 1hr lunch and he wanted to be done by 4:30 ;) I pretty much knew by looking at my watch how much ground I had left and how much flying I had left to do to including getting the paperwork done so he could be gone by end of the day. No overtime for checkrides!

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Our DPE did fail a private student for trying to fly the helicopter without an operable OAT gauge. Explain that one to me??

Sorry if this was a sarcasm that I failed to recognize, but if not, and if they were flying in an R22, then the OAT gauge is required for flight (along with the governor, the alternator, and the low rpm warning light and horn, plus all the rest equipment needed for day VFR).

 

But again, sorry if you meant something else and I misunderstood.

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I thoroughly agree with all of you on the time required to conduct a check ride. If you cannot get what you want in 5 or 6 hours then what is going on? Our DPE did fail a private student for trying to fly the helicopter without an operable OAT gauge. Explain that one to me??

 

Well, if the private student was trying to fly an R22, the OAT gauge is required for flight (sec 2, page 6), therefore attempting to fly without it would be grounds for failure.

 

 

Damn, typed too slow!

Edited by eagle5
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I have spoken to a DPE and according to this DPE they actually DO have a quota of failures to pass that they have to meet. So according to this DPE they actually are expected to fail 20% of all check rides. It's BS and the DPE agreed that he/she would only fail someone if they thought they needed to be failed. Unfortuantly that attitude can't be said for all DPEs.

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Study

 

Yeah, that too. But he's talking about the risk of falling into that 20% mandatory fail rate. If the DPE has 10 perfectly qualified CFI candidates who are all well trained, and perfectly capable of passing their orals/checkrides, and he is expected to fail two of them, that's not fair for two candidates who worked and studied just as hard as the other 8.

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No, we fly 300C's. And there is nothing in the POH about the OAT. He obviously found something somewhere on it, otherwise he couldn't have failed the guy. Still, that is a pretty petty thing to fail someone over. I understand the issue, well if you're on a cross country how can you tell if the temp changed at altitude without the OAT. Well there are other ways to tell, AWOS, stick your arm out the side, estimate, obviously you would know if you took off in 20C and it gets warmer, hey wouldn't you know my Vne is going to be lower. I just hate the petty little things that these guys are failing people for. And the one that really bugs me, and I think someone said it already, is people being failed because of their teaching style. That is BS. If you know the information, but you aren't teaching it the exact way the examiner wants it, that is the examiners problem, not yours.

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No, we fly 300C's. And there is nothing in the POH about the OAT. He obviously found something somewhere on it, otherwise he couldn't have failed the guy. Still, that is a pretty petty thing to fail someone over. I understand the issue, well if you're on a cross country how can you tell if the temp changed at altitude without the OAT. Well there are other ways to tell, AWOS, stick your arm out the side, estimate, obviously you would know if you took off in 20C and it gets warmer, hey wouldn't you know my Vne is going to be lower. I just hate the petty little things that these guys are failing people for. And the one that really bugs me, and I think someone said it already, is people being failed because of their teaching style. That is BS. If you know the information, but you aren't teaching it the exact way the examiner wants it, that is the examiners problem, not yours.

 

There are usually two sides to a story, especially when it comes to a failure. After every student I had met with an examiner, I would debrief with the examiner to see both how the student did and if there was anything I could have done better as an instructor.

 

True, the failure might have started with a broken OAT, but that opens a huge can of worms.

 

Perhaps the student could not explain how that broken equipment changes the flight, or how to prove to the examiner if that equipment is required or not, or what a MEL is, or couldn't list the required equipment per part 91, etc..

 

The failure may have started with broken equipment, but who knows where that path led. A broken or grounded aircraft is cause for a discontinuance, not a failure. The broken equipment is the schools problem, but the lack of knowledge of what to do about it is the students.

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