7.5 hr CFI-a oral WTH


Well-Known Member
I now understand the "hello I'm with the FAA , and here to ruin your day."
No names but this was North Texas fsdo.
I was told to develop a plan of action , started at 8 am ended at 3:30pm with only 2-10 minute breaks. I was found unsat on airspace which was not in my plan of action/ syllabus.
Disgruntled and needed to vent. Does it really take 7.5 hrs for a CFI oral? I expressed my critique ,the excessive time and had I passed the oral I wouldn't fly after that mental drain.

Agrevating but my tenacity will prevail, I've worked hard and spent a lot $ , but CFI is my way to promote and give back to aviation. The people are great, intelligent, generous, and helpful and I want to share it with others. We have all had our lives changed by learning to fly, wether career or just hobby. I sure have enjoyed the ride and people in my 12 years in aviation, this little hiccup won't stop me.
I'm not sure I could talk about anything for that long.

Disappointing, but no big deal really. Just start figuring out how to spin it into a positive for future interviews and it'll just be a minor speed bump along the way.



Well-Known Member
I'm very surprised that an inspector would take that long to do an oral. They are usually up to their eyeballs in work and their supervisor would be all over them for spending that much time on it. However, that isn't to say that it doesn't deserve that much time. I've seen a lot of all day orals by DPE's. While the DPE (and the inspector) are supposed to be checking and not teaching, it's uncomfortable for someone to put their signature on a CFI certificate and feel like there are things that person needs to know. A DPE who wants the new CFI to walk away fully equipped to avoid the pitfalls they have seen other CFI's fall victim to will spend that time with the applicant. A really good one will also find a way to have the flight on a different day than the oral.

I will also add that at least in the past there has been an unfortunate tendency for some FSDO's to have the attitude that nobody passes the CFI on the first attempt. My personal feeling on that is if a FSDO has every or even most applicants in their district fail, then the FSDO is not doing its job. If the CFI's in that district aren't adequatly preparing the applicants for the check, the FSDO should correct that problem, not fail the applicants.

As DE727UPS wrote, you will only need to be retested on the items that were noted as unsatisfactory on your initial attempt.

Don't let "failure" discourage you. Remember, Manfred von Richthofen crashed on his first attempt to solo.


Well-Known Member
I'll play devils advocate for a minute.

It took YOU 7.5 hours. Not the FAA. You're the one answering the questions.

Unsat on airspace? Really? A CFI applicant couldn't put together a lesson on airspace? I'd fail you too.

I worked for a DPE for awhile. You wouldn't believe all the horror stories I hear from other CFI's "oh his oral is WAY too long"

Then the DPE tells me "dude, I had to ask every question 5 different ways" and "it was like pulling teeth to get anything out of him, no it took 5 hours, think I wanted it to go that long?"


Southern Gentleman
6-8hrs for the oral was pretty standard when I did my CFI-A back in 2004, the Orlando FSDO was on a mission to make sure all the flight school/pilot factory schools were putting out a good product, and that CFI's they were training would be able to teach. I know of one that spanned 2 days, about 14hrs worth (mainly due to the the CFI candidate).

For what it's worth, I'm friends with someone who had a couple bust on the CFI...and went on to be an ASI with the FAA and is now a FAA Flight Check pilot.

CFI's a hard rating (for good reason, too), don't let it get you down...kick some ass in your next attempt.


Well-Known Member
When I took my CFI initial from the Washington FSDO my oral was about that long. The going in plan was that it would be two days -- one day for oral, and one day for flying. The wash out rate was over 80% then, but I don't know what it is now.


Well-Known Member
Mine was about that long as well. I also failed after 6hrs the first day, second day was another 3. But these days I sit atop my seat in my lofty bus for the widget. It was just a short 9 years ago since I failed it. Don't worry about your CFI oral, just work hard and you'll get to where you want.

To tell you the truth I still haven't figured out how a rudder turns an airplane. But I guess that guy at the SDL FSDO knew better then I.... lol


Well-Known Member
My initial was 7 hours, and 6-8 seems that normal. You are going to be the gatekeeper for new students, so everything is going to be covered. Considering the responsibility, a 7 hour oral isn't extreme. Many professional licensing agencies have all day testing; the bar exam was two full days. My wife's dental boards were similar. It's all about being a pro. Just cooperate to graduate....good luck!


Exploring the world one toilet at a time.
Same here, different FSDO. Some DPEs are great, some CFIs are great. Other DPEs and CFIs are not so good. Luckily for you a CFI bust is sort of expected in the grand scheme of things.

Don't give up, retest and if the DPE bends you over. No really bends you over, such as tasks not on the ACS, then contact the FSDO.