How Much Should Pratical Tests Cost?

This is much debated at the national level.

In Michigan, we are currently charging $350.00 for most checkrides (private, instrument, commercial, etc) and $500.00 for CFI checkrides.

For most examiners, a practical test takes roughly 5 hours from start of paperwork to heading home (imagine maybe 30 minutes of travel also to and from) so a total of 6 hours to do the test.  If the examiner plans another hour of preparation and paperwork after they get home, this means a practical test takes 7 hours of examiner work time.

In our case in Michigan, this means we are getting $50.00 per hour.  This seems a bit low.  Many flight schools are billing at least this for instructors, and if we go with the logic than an examiner is more experienced and highly qualified than the average instructor, we should be making more per hour.  If we thought $75.00 per hour was adequate, it means we should charge $525.00 for a checkride.  This feels high also.

Should cost of living be taken in to account?  If we used the cost of living calculator by CNN (, and charged $500.00 in Las Vegas, we would have to charge $912.00 in New York or $572.00 in Chicago based on cost of living calculations.

Thoughts from everyone?

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