2022 Pass Rates on Pilot Certification Start to Slip Downward

The pass rates on practical tests for initial issuance certificates, specifically the private pilot, the commercial pilot, and the flight instructor certificates went down in 2022 for the first time in the past few years. And it went down on all three certificates.

Many in the training industry have felt over the past few months that the passing rate was declining, and now that we have the 2022 US Civil Airman Statistics, we can put data to that feeling. While these rates didn’t drop to lower points we saw a few years ago, that turn was a turn in the wrong direction.

None of the pass rate decreases were overly large, but there is concern that this turn may really only be a measure of what happened in part of the year. In the early parts of 2022 the most active of airline hiring had not fully ramped up yet. As the year went on, a significant percentage of the acting CFI population in the United States was hired by airlines seeking to fill new-hire classes for airline employment. As this happened, the core of CFIs in our system turned over from those with more experience to those who were largely new at the job.

There is concern that this lesser experienced group of instructors may be corollary, if not causal, at least in part with the reductions in pass rates that have been reported by many DPEs and now are being seen in the certification pass rates data from 2022. While we can only speculate at the moment, this will be very worth tracking into the 2023 certification practices. I might add, if we think this is happening, we have the opportunity to head off any further degradation in pilot training processes that result in lower pass rates by being proactive in the upcoming year. Hopefully, we can do this an stop any further reduction in pass rates for pilot certification activities. Let’s not let this be the canary in the coal mine that we ignore.



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About Jason Blair

Jason Blair is an active single and multiengine instructor and an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner with over 6,000 hours total time, over 3,000 hours of instruction given, and more than 3000 hours in aircraft as a DPE. In his role as Examiner, over 2,000 pilot certificates have been issued. He has worked for and continues to work with multiple aviation associations with the work focusing on pilot training and testing. His experience as a pilot and instructor spans nearly 20 years and includes over 100 makes and models of aircraft flown. Jason Blair has published works in many aviation publications with a focus on training and safety.

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