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Many things in aviation have a 60-day window. For example, a graduation certificate from an approved part 141 course is valid for the purposes of a checkride for 60 days after the date of graduation.

Suppose I endorse an (otherwise fully qualified) student to take a private pilot knowledge test, but the student doesn't take the test for an extended period (because of illness, military deployment, or whatever). Some amount of time later, the student appears at a testing center with the endorsement in hand. Is there a particular time limit beyond which a knowledge test endorsement is no longer valid?

If not, could I write the endorsement so that it includes a void date? Something like:

I certify that Mr. Orville Wright has met the required training of blah blah and is prepared to take the private pilot knowledge exam. This endorsement is valid until October 31 2017.

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    $\begingroup$ Why add an exp date? $\endgroup$ – acpilot Oct 12 '17 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ @acpilot - Because a student who's ready to take an exam in October 2017 is unlikely to still be ready in June 2019, but if there's no expiration date, they can still go. $\endgroup$ – Steve V. Oct 12 '17 at 23:10
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    $\begingroup$ I guess I just don't see the risk. $\endgroup$ – acpilot Oct 12 '17 at 23:11
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    $\begingroup$ As a CFI, I disagree. It make no difference to me and only causes problems for the customer in the event that unforseen delays crop up in the course of training. Life happens. It's only a written test. $\endgroup$ – acpilot Oct 12 '17 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ @acpilot - One of the criteria for renewing the certificate for a part 141 school is written exam pass rate. As an instructor, you're right, it makes no difference to you, but as a chief instructor with your school's renewal coming up later in the year, it might not be "only a written test" anymore. $\endgroup$ – Steve V. Oct 13 '17 at 4:21
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The last that I looked into it, there were no expiration dates on written test endorsements by CFI and GI. However, the FAA has made it clear many times that instructors are free to add conditions to endorsements.

For example, when I endorse a student for solo, I will put limitations like: 1.Prior phone call to instructor, 2. surface winds less than 14K, and within 45 deg of runway heading, 3.Five miles vis with VFR conditions.

Of course solo endorsements have implied expiration dates. But you could endorse J Pilot for a instrument written, and add "Endorsement expires Jan 1, 2018."

Since these things are vetted regionally, if you have any concerns, you can always call the FSDO and talk with an Ops Inspector there.

I did that once when I signed a guy off for a Flight Review, and wanted a condition on the sign-off. The pilot agreed with the condition, and I ran it past the Safety Program Manager who was an Ops Inspector, and his words were, "Absolutely! Any restriction you think is appropriate is fine to add to the endorsement." That was sometime ago, but I have no indication that the policy/latitude has changed.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just an afterthought...as a CFI one needs to log written test results. So that could also be a reason to not leave open ended written test endorsements. I simply sign of all written test exams with my ground instructor certificate, which has no such log requirement. $\endgroup$ – mongo Aug 20 '18 at 13:26

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