FAA knowledge test contractor PSI is moving forward with its standardized fee structure hike, despite calls from aviation industry leaders to delay implementation of the change.
In a December 14 letter to PSI President Janet Garcia, AOPA and others voiced their concerns that the new reimbursement structure could place significant burdens on third-party testing providers and cause a potential stoppage of service at these locations, resulting in possible accessibility issues.
In the letter, PSI asserts the current average distance between a third-party testing center and an alternate testing center is 11.3 miles. For areas where an alternate site is more than 30 miles away from a third-party testing center, Garcia explains that PSI is in active recruitment for those areas, with two already being secured.
Despite these assurances, and due to the short notice provided to third-party testing providers, AOPA continues to be concerned about the negative impact to third-party testing centers and the broader aviation community. "Any decrease in FAA knowledge test availability, especially in rural areas, will create significant barriers and added costs to the applicant," said Christopher Cooper, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. "A handful of testing centers have already notified us that they are no longer providing exams. AOPA and other impacted stakeholders will work with the FAA and PSI to verify the accessibility of testing centers is not reduced, and knowledge test applicants are not negatively impacted."
The FAA awarded PSI the Airman Certificate Testing Service contract after a competitive bid to become the sole provider of FAA knowledge exams in 2018.
If you or someone you know is having difficulty accessing a testing center because of a third-party closure, please contact AOPA.