We have some exciting news to share at LIFT. No, it’s not that we started a Tik Tok account. It’s better—we’ve been approved for examining authority from the FAA for the Private Pilot, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot courses, making us the only pilot school in Indiana holding examining authority as of December 2020. Nationally, less than 10 percent of all Part 141 pilot schools hold this authority.

So, why is this important and what does it mean for our students?

  • Students can take their exams without delay since their evaluators are onsite rather than FAA Designated Pilot Examiners (DPEs) who have to split time at numerous flight training locations
  • We have a greater level of quality control over the entire testing process to ensure consistency for all our exams
  • For those who struggle with testing anxiety, they likely know their examiner since it’s a LIFT Check Flight Instructor who they may work with day to day rather than a DPE they only see when testing, providing a more natural, comfortable testing environment
  • If students choose to instruct at LIFT once becoming a CFI, they may have the opportunity to become a Check Flight Instructor themselves, adding to their professional experience as they pursue their aviation career
  • Check rides costs can vary by the DPE. Because our evaluators are onsite, we include the cost of the checkride within your tuition for each rating

Being comfortable and confident when taking tests is a key attribute to a successful pilot, as testing is a recurring event in both initial flight training and throughout a pilot’s professional career. These tests include written evaluations as well as verbal and practical “in airplane” testing for each certificate or rating that pilot earns. At most pilot schools training under Part 61 or Part 141, these verbal and practical tests commonly known as “checkrides” are conducted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors or individuals contracted to perform this task on behalf of the FAA known as DPEs. Working to schedule checkrides with FAA inspectors or pilot examiners can lead to delays in a pilots training, as the school and applicant need to work within the bounds of these individuals’ schedules.

In September of 2020, LIFT Academy was approved for examining authority from the FAA. In short, this authority allows LIFT Academy’s Check Flight Instructors to conduct End-of-Course evaluations, and for LIFT Academy to issue the certifications and ratings without the need for a checkride with a DPE. This allows for us to both ensure the timely completion of the testing event using our own evaluators and gives us the opportunity to have a greater level of quality control over the entire testing process.

Earning examining authority is not a simple task for a pilot school. The school must have trained students in the courses under Part 141 for at least 24 months while maintaining at least a 90 percent first-time pass rate on that course’s checkrides and written knowledge tests. As a result of the excellent work of LIFT Academy’s flight instructors and our focus on continuous evaluation and improvement of our training programs, we were able to attain and maintain these pass rates and applied for and ultimately were granted examining authority at the 24-month point, after our first two years in operation. This achievement has further increased training efficiency at LIFT Academy, allowing students to complete their current course, earn their certificate or rating, and transition into the next training course with no delay.

We believe that this is a testament to the quality of training and evaluation that is conducted each day at LIFT Academy. We continue to take a data-driven approach to monitor the quality and health of our training programs as part of our culture of continuous improvement, and will search for further opportunities to enhance our quality, safety and efficiency of training courses at LIFT Academy.

All in all, this is just another way we continue to provide exceptional training for our students and distinguish our program as one of the best flight training institutions in the country.