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What endorsements are required to be given for a CFI initial checkride? (It seems unclear what the exact answer is and ultimately up to the DPE)

First of all, 61-65H contains 2 endorsements which do not seem to be required:

A.41 Fundamentals of instructing knowledge test: § 61.183(d).

A.42 Flight instructor aeronautical knowledge test: § 61.183(f).

per the FAA Airmen Knowledge Testing Matrix The Flight Instructor Airplane and Fundamentals of Instruction, "Requires NO instructor endorsement or other form of written authorization"

AC 61-65H lists roughly 4 to 6 endorsements required for initial CFI:

A.1 61.39(a)(6)(i) and (ii) Training time in 2 calendar months previous

A.2 61.39(a)(6)(iii) Knowledge Test Deficiencies

A.41 Fundamentals of instructing knowledge test: § 61.183(d). see above testing matrix contradiction

A.42 Flight instructor aeronautical knowledge test: § 61.183(f). see above testing matrix contradiction

A.43 Flight instructor ground and flight proficiency/practical test: § 61.183(g). This references required training of § 61.187(b).

A.45 Spin training: § 61.183(i)(1).

The DPE I spoke with said he also wanted to see a statement or endorsement of the 4 items listed in the PTS under Flight Instructor Responsibility. He said the A.41 endorsement above was required, but not the A.42 based on the FAR. I read the FAR, and I think it's already covered by 61.187(b).

The FAA has a document which lists Initial Flight Instructor Endorsements five endorsements which includes a self endorsement. The CFI Academy seems to agree with the FAA's list, however there's a great comment which points out that 61.195(i) that “A flight instructor shall not make any self-endorsement...

In summary, what do you guys say? What endorsements are required for CFIA initial?

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  • $\begingroup$ Definitely no self-endorsing. I'm confused why the DPE wants to see the endorsement for the FOI KT, A.41. I showed up to my CFI ride with A.1, A.2, A.43, and .45 and the examiner was happy. $\endgroup$
    – PilotDan
    Jul 6 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ I also showed up to my CFI-A practical with only those mentioned by PilotDan many years ago. Every year CFI's self endorse they accomplished the required TSA training. So the self-endorsement ban is for pilot related duties and not instructional duties. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Jul 6 at 22:53
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Short answer: as far as I can see, the six endorsements listed in AC 61-65 are the required ones: A.1, A.2, A.41, A.42, A.43, A.45.


That's based on the FAA's own internal instructions on how to administer a CFI initial checkride, which say (section 5-500C):

C. Record/Logbook Endorsement. An ASI, establishing the eligibility of an applicant for a flight instructor certificate, must determine that the applicant meets all applicable requirements of part 61 subpart H. Applicants for an initial flight instructor certificate must satisfy the aeronautical knowledge requirements of § 61.185, as discussed in subparagraph 5-500A. To document eligibility, applicants must possess and present a record of aeronautical experience and a training record certified by the authorized instructor who provided the training for the flight instructor certificate sought. Records include logbook entries of training received and endorsements similar to the sample endorsements provided in Advisory Circular (AC) 61-65, Certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors.

NOTE: AC 61-65 provides a complete list of example endorsements required for a flight instructor practical test (initial certificate or additional rating).

Per 61-65H, A.41-A.46, that list for CFI-A would be:

  • A.41: Fundamentals of instructing knowledge test: § 61.183(d)
  • A.42: Flight instructor aeronautical knowledge test: § 61.183(f)
  • A.43: Flight instructor ground and flight proficiency/practical test: § 61.183(g)
  • A.45: Spin training: § 61.183(i)(1)

It also says under A.43 that "The endorsement for a practical test is required in addition to the §61.39 endorsements provided in endorsements 1 and 2 (see paragraphs A.1 and A.2)." So that's two more endorsements, for a total of six.

As to your other points:

  • The testing matrix lists the requirements for the written (knowledge) tests, not for the checkride. You don't need the endorsements to take the written tests, but you do need them for the checkride.
  • But, the wording of the knowledge test endorsements is definitely strange, as you noted. 61.183(d) says the requirement is to "Receive a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor on the fundamentals of instructing listed in §61.185 of this part appropriate to the required knowledge test". There's nothing there that requires the endorsement before the test1, but the AC 61-65 wording is "I have determined that [he or she] is prepared for the Fundamentals of Instructing knowledge test." I don't know why the AC has that wording but I'd guess it's sloppy editing. Perhaps the endorsement was required in the past but isn't today, or perhaps it was a copy/paste thing from other, similar sections.
  • There's no explicit requirement to have an endorsement for the four ACS items you mentioned, and I don't know why the DPE asked for them. It's true that the ACS says "The flight instructor must certify that the applicant is [...]", however all four items are already covered by other endorsements, at least as far as I can see. Sometimes it's just easier to give the DPE what they want, of course, but I'd ask (or ask your instructor to ask) them for more details on why the other endorsements don't cover the ACS points.

1 Compare that with 61.103(d)(2) for private pilots, which does say the endorsement comes first: "[...] the person is prepared for the required knowledge test"

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the short answer :-) . The two knowledge test endorsements bug me. In the FAR, 61.183(f) Flight instructor aeronautical knowledge test only needs to be passed but not endorsed, and that agrees with the testing matrix. However, FAR 61.183(d) references "endorsed...appropriate to the required knowledge test." It seems they mean "practical test." The wording doesn't make sense. Why require an endorsement for a knowledge test--which is not required for the knowledge test--but is required for the practical test? Maybe I should write the FAA :-/ $\endgroup$ Jul 8 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ @JavaAddict Thanks, and I agree about the strange wording! $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jul 8 at 1:11

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