Reference: https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/testing_matrix

Some tests, such as for the PPL, require an instructor's endorsement. Others, such as for the CFI, do not. Is there any logic behind this, or is this just an artifact of the merge of two historically separate test approaches?

  • $\begingroup$ Neither the CFI or ATP written tests require an instructor endorsement. I would argue that only pilots who are making aviaiton their profession to take those tests and so the failure rate would be lower. The endorsement is to ensure the applicant is ready to take the test. The CFI and ATP applicant can self-evaluate if they are ready to take the test. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Jul 22 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


The CFI written exam includes 100 questions of a pool about a 1,000 and most of the questions are common to the Private and Commercial Pilot written exams. If you already passed those there isn't a lot of reason to require an instructor to sign you off to take the CFI test.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Not much logic in requiring you to take it at all, if that's the case! $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Jul 20 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ The CFI still must provide ground instruction pertinent to the written test and make an endorsement verifying this has been done. The only difference from taking the Pvt/Comm written tests is that you don't have to show this endorsement to the testing center prior to taking the written test. (61.185(a)). Why this is so, I don't know. @Chris-RegenerateResponse $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Jul 20 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ @757toga So why not post this as your answer? This doesn't change what I said. <shrug> $\endgroup$ Jul 21 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ Because it does not answer the OP's question "Is there any logic behind this, or is this just an artifact of the merge of two historically separate test approaches?" $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Jul 21 at 13:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Agreed that this doesn't particularly answer the question. There's no reason I can see for a CFI ground endorsement at all, ever. But that's not the way the system works, and I won't change it by complaining here. Still, it's interesting that there is this divergence, as anytime there's a divergence there's a reason. And as much as people like to mock regulators, their reasons are not usually crappy and ill-thought-out. When the rationale is crappy it's almost always as a result of being stuck between an unstoppable force and an immovable object. What, then, are those forces and objects? $\endgroup$ Jul 21 at 16:34

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