Ready for your checkride? We have good news, or bad news, depending on where you live and whether your examiner chooses to give practical tests or not. Here’s what we know.
In a letter to its Designated Pilot Examiners shared with Plane & Pilot, the Flight Standards District Office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has shared the current policies on giving checkrides. The letter, addressed to designees under its jurisdiction, asked DPEs to use the following criteria before deciding to give checkrides and processing applicants for new certificates and ratings. They are:
“When was the applicant last out of the country?”
“When was the applicant last in contact with any person that has been out of the United States recently (since January 1, 2020)?”
“When were classrooms, briefing rooms, common areas that we would be utilizing last disinfected/sanitized?”
“When was the aircraft last cleaned for the purpose of disinfection and sanitization? How was that completed?”
The FSDO also acknowledging that some recurrent tests required of its examiners will have to be put off but promised that even if the recurrent exam doesn’t take place in time, despite the status showing “overdue,” no action will be taken against designees.
Jason Blair, a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot wrote, “I am continuing forward in locations where I know cleaning procedures are sound or at my home airport where I can control the environment for applicants that don’t have any indications of being sick and haven’t been travelling in areas of high risk. "
In recognizing the risks, Blair, an expert on risk mitigation when it comes to flying, is practicing it in new ways. “I personally am making the effort when I come home to then shower and change clothes to minimize potential spread of anything as much as possible to family. For me it’s about mitigating as many risks as I can logically, and that’s a choice each individual will have to make for themselves.”
As far as national policy is concerned, that remains a work in progress. One examiner Plane & Pilot spoke with reported that the Flight Standards Division of the FAA is still formulating guidelines to share with its designees, though, as with everything else these days changing so quickly, once published, those policies will be subject to immediate change without notice.