Airman Practical Testing may continue during the government shutdown when conducted by Designated Pilot Examiners (DPEs), according to officials with the Flight School Association of North America.
According to an urgent notification sent out Christmas Eve in response to reports from multiple locations around the United States, DPEs have indicated either confusion about current policy or have been told that they may not continue conducting FAA Airman Practical Tests during the current government shutdown.
According to FSANA leadership, who have been in contact with senior FAA officials, the FAA “in no way desires to stop the conduct of airman practical tests by DPEs during the government shutdown” and that DPEs may continue to conduct practical tests if they are normally authorized to do so in absence of prior approval required by their managing office.
This may seem slightly confusing, FSANA officials acknowledge. In some cases, such as for specialty tests, when DPEs are due for yearly recurrency oversight, or for DPEs who are newly designated or on probationary status, explicit approval and/or oversight is required for them to conduct a practical test.
For DPEs who normally are able to act, they can continue to administer tests.
“We all hope that this government shutdown is able to be remedied quickly, but in the interim, FSANA felt it critical to convey this important information so that any question about the continued provision of airman practical tests by DPEs is clearly stated,” officials said in the notice. “Airman practical tests are allowed to continue as normally provided during the government shutdown.”