New DME Testing Procedures

On February 10, 2015, I attended the FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) renew course in Ontario, California, hosted by the FAA Designee Standardization Branch, AFS-640. As a DME, I am required to attend this training class every two years to renew my DME. This year it was very important to attend as many new changes are coming on March 31, 2015.

As a designee the FAA has it’s own web site for finding FAA data and information at: https://av-info.faa.gov/DsgReg/ which as a site called “Helpful Links”. Not only for designees, but this site is for mechanics to find links to lot of FAA data all in one place.

The AFS-640 branch teaches only national standards and not local FSDO procedures. Local FSDO’s may have additional procedures they will require an designee and Inspection Authorization (IA’s) to follow. However, when it comes to DME’s and how we required to test applicants for their Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) ratings the AFS-640 branch sets the standards.

Some of the new national changes are:
NEW! FAA Order 8900.1, Change 282 ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR DME RENEWAL
 The FAA must observe a DME conducting an exam within the 12 calendar-months prior to renewal.
 Each DME must have completed at least two mechanic exams in the previous year to be eligible for renewal.
 Geographic Expansion
• Intra-Region Approvals. The managing office must obtain written authorization (at least 7 days in advance of the activity) from the FAA office having geographic responsibility over the activity location.

Conducting a Pretest Interview
The DME should accomplish the pretest interview face to face, by telephone, fax, e-mail, or other methods that will allow the DME to do the following:

1. Fee’s
 DME is allowed to charge a reasonable fee.
 DME must accept payment from, or on behalf of the applicant.
 Conditions concerning passing or failures as it applies to the fee should be clearly understood.

2. Day’s Activities
 Length of test, start/stop time, possibly more than one day.
 Equipment to be used.
 Breaks, lunch, bathroom, cell phone use.

3. Ensure applicant’s eligibility
 Applicant must present two original applications for the test signed by an FAA Inspector.
 Review 8610-2 for completeness and correctness.
 Any errors must be corrected by the applicant.

It has been my experience that many of the FAA applications form 8610-2 I have received from applicant has many errors. My responsibility as a DME is to correct and provide corrected copies back to the FAA FSDO when I complete testing applicants. I am not allowed to make any changes only the applicant can make changes above their signature. Some of the errors I have found is social security number there should be one or the word “DO NOT USE” or “NONE” should be in this block. Height has to be in inches such as 70 or 75 NOT “70.2” just round your height up to a whole number. This also goes for the weight. The biggest problem I have seen is applicant not using the current FAA form 8610-2 that can be down loaded for the FAA web site.

In addition,on many applications the FAA inspectors will make mistakes as well and as a DME I am required to have this corrected before submitting the forms to the FSDO to be processed. If there are any mistakes on the applications the FAA Airman Records branch will kick it back. Lastly, both applications must be the same you CANNOT have different information on the two originals.

All dates must be two digit for month and day and four digit for the year. Under nationality print the country you are from such as U.S.A., Japan, Canada, etc. just spell it out.

14 CFR PART 65.14 a) No person is eligible to hold a certificate when TSA has notified the FAA in writing that the person poses a security threat. When the FAA performs there interview with applicant’s they should check this. The DME’s do not receive notice not to test applicants by the TSA, or do DMEs have access to the do not test database this is something the FAA would have internally.

FAA interview 14 CFR PART 65.77 EXPERIENCE
Applicants must provide verifiable documents to show experience in 50% of the subject areas listed for the rating sought (refer to part 147, appendices B, C, and D). (References FAA Order 8900.1, Vol. 5, Chapter 5, Sec. 2) This is an FAA inspector responsibility and the DME will check to see if the applicant meets the required months as stated on the 8610-2 application only.

Ensure Applicant’s Eligibility
SFAR 100-2 Operation Enduring Freedom for military personnel
Airmen Test Result extension:
“...up to 6 calendar months after returning to the United States.” This action confirms the final rule which becomes effective June 20, 2010 with an expiration of “until further notice.”

Acceptable forms of Identification:
Non- U. S. Citizens must have BOTH a:
 Current, Valid Passport
 AND A Drivers Permit or License issued by a U. S. state or territory or
 An Identification card issued by any government entity
U.S. Citizens must have a current photo ID such as:
 Driver’s license
 Passport,
 Military ID card or
 State issued ID card
All of which must NOT be expired. If you ID is has an expired date you will not be allowed to test.

Conducting the Oral and Practical (O&P) Test
14 CFR PART 65.79
Each Applicant must pass an O&P test on the rating he/she seeks. All applicants will be tested on Basic Skills!

TESTING Multiple Applicants
A designee may not test more than one applicant at a time, unless currently authorized on his or her present Certificate of Authorization (COA).
 The testing of multiple applicants is no longer authorized in accordance with the Order 8900.1, Change 282.
 Change 282 to the FAA Order 8900.1 removed the authority for testing multiple.
 FAA Order 8900.2 is in the process of being amended to reflect the change in Order 8900.1

NOTE: There are no provisions in FAA Order 8900.1, Volume 13, Chapter 5, Section 1 for testing more than 1 applicant at a time! (effective date of this change was 08/26/2013!)

Conducting the O&P Test
There is a major change coming starting April 1, 2015, all DME’s will be required to type the applicants name into the FAA database to download the FAA planning sheet for each test. This planning sheet will auto fill with test questions the DME must ask. All questions are randomly selected and auto filled as well as which practical projects the applicant must perform. This will level the playing field for all DMEs and make us all the same. DMEs will no longer be able to pick with oral questions or projects an applicant must perform all projects and questions are going to be preselected.

There is a silver-lining to this change and that is the current Practical Test Standard (PTS) will go away along with the 24-core items and will be replaced. The applicant will only have to perform 20 to 24 projects and not the 43 currently on the FAA planning sheets. A new PTS will be posted on the FAA web site to download after April 1, 2015.

Conducting the Oral Exam
 All DMEs are required to ask four (4) questions minimum in each Subject Area; 10 max.
 An applicant’s answers to oral questions must show an understanding of the subject.
 Applicant MUST correctly answer 70% of the questions asked! 3 of 4, 5 of 7, or 7 of 10!
 Additional exploratory questions may be used to verify the applicant’s understanding, but will not be considered as part of the test.
 The DME must personally observe all practical projects performed by the applicant.

14 CFR PART 65.79 POWERPLANT RATING
An applicant for a powerplant rating must show his ability to make satisfactory minor repairs to, and minor alterations of, propellers.

Retests
The applicant must:
 Complete two original FAA Form 8610-2
NOTE: Block V does not need to be signed by an inspector if a COPY of the original FAA Form 8610-2 (w/ authorizing signature) is attached to the file.
 Present appropriate Computerized Test Report.
 Present original FAA Form 8610-2 from the previous O&P tests showing the Sections failed.
 Within 30 days of the previous test, present a statement of additional instruction by a person authorized in 14 CFR part 65.19 that states:
• The applicant has received the instruction for each Subject listed as failed, and
• The applicant is ready for retesting.

 Applicants for retest will be tested in all Sections listed as failed or incomplete.
 Before 60 days, may be tested only in the Subject Areas failed:
IF
 The test is administered by the same examiner from the failed test.
 The DME can opt out of this at any time and return to testing the full Section.
 ALL other Subjects Areas in the Section passed.
 There can be no incomplete Subject Areas within that failed Section
 The projects must be retested at least to the same level as failed.

NOTE: All required tests must be passed during a 24 calendar-month period and the clock starts when the first written test is taken.

If you have any additional questions you would like to have answered about DME testing contact Denny Pollard, DME and I would be happy to answer your questions about mechanic testing by e-mail.

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Comments

Thanks Denny
Thanks for putting the time in to create this post. It is FULL of good information on DME changes and requirements. The FAA data link is a very useful resources for DME's, IA,s and Technicians.

I checked with the FSDO and they know nothing about downloading practical tests ! OK City also denies any knowledge of this. Who gave you this information?

As a DME, I am required to take a renewal course every two years put on by the FAA AFS-640 branch and just attended my renewal course in Ontario, CA February 2015. What the FAA is proposing is new and will take effect April 2015. If an FAA inspector at a FSDO is not involved directly with DMEs or their oversight they may not know what is going on. The FAA order 8900.2 that covers all designee’s is being revised to meet the requirements in FAA Order 8900.1 and the local FSDO Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASIs) may not be up to speed on the recent changes.

AFS-640 branch is will sending out a hyperlink for all of us DMEs to take an on-line course that will further explain the new procedures and how us DMEs will use the new planning sheets and Practical Test Standards (PTSs) when it comes out. As a DME I have been preparing for this change for several months as most of us knew it was coming. I am sure there will be a training class for all FSDO ASIs on the changes or they could attend the same AFS-640 training I go too. As a DME I have sent my Principle Maintenance Inspector (PMI) all the training material I have received from AFS-640 so we are both on the same page. I am sure your local ASI will be up to speed shortly on the changes.

Well April 1 has come and gone! Still not a peep from the FAA about down loading the practical test. Is anyone doing this?

DME Mike, I sent an e-mail asking what is going on, with no reply yet. The Practical Test Standard (PTS) is posted with change 4, but the new planning sheets with the projects is NOT downloadable yet. The additional training we were to receive on the new procedures has not come out either. Hurry up an wait, seems to be a live and well.