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Going Direct: FAA: Bogus Sign-Offs From FAA Inspector Require Re-Testing. Really? Really?

It’s disgraceful that pilots who got their checkride with a questionable FAA examiner during a decade-plus period must take their flight test again.

Pilots will have to get retested after receiving bogus sign-offs from an FAA inspector, the agency says.
Pilots will have to get retested after receiving bogus sign-offs from an FAA inspector, the agency says. Photo by christinarosepix/Shutterstock
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The FAA announced last week that pilots who had taken a checkride with one of its employees, Michael Puehler, who worked for the Cincinnati Flight Standards District Office, would need to be retested. The FAA isn’t being very forthcoming on the details. What is said in an internal document is that based on an FAA internal investigation, it “has reason to believe” that their employee, Puehler, “issued certificates and/or ratings to airmen when the airmen did not demonstrate the qualifications to hold the certificate or rating for which they were tested.” The reasoning, the document went on to say, is that the competence of the pilots tested by Puehler was in question, so they would have to be retested. Those affected got signed off by Puehler between around 2008 and 2019, an 11-year period. They’re not saying how many pilots this affects. But they will be sending letters out to all of them.

As absurd as this might seem to you, and it seems that way to us, the FAA is not joking, and so we pilots had better take them seriously. AOPA has warned affected pilots that the retest they’re facing is for real and they had better prepare for it, including practicing and studying for it. For many pilots, let’s say with an Instrument Rating they have let get rusty for a few years, what that means in essence is studying up from close to scratch for a new checkride the FAA says you need because it thinks your previous checkride might have been bogus. You know, the one conducted by their employee whom they failed to properly supervise for at least 11 years.

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