FSANA said that changes in the pricing structure could potentially lead to increased barriers to training.
Is your flight school or FBO getting out of the knowledge test business? The Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) would like to hear about it.
According to the latest newsletter from FSANA, changes in the pricing by PSI Services,LLC—the only company with the FAA contract to provide the tests— might prompt several flight schools and FBOs that provide the tests as a convenience to their customers to close their doors. The flight schools and FBOs are third party providers and have no say in the cost of the tests.
Earlier this month, FLYING reported that PSI was reducing the cut that flight schools receive out of the $175 test fee, from $65 to $22 per test as of January 1, 2023. Flight schools contacted by FLYING said $22 per hour would not cover the FBO’s costs for providing the tests, such as the employee salary, utilities including electricity and internet, and computer usage for the test.
PSI is owned by Lifelong Learner Holdings [LLH] and is under contract with the FAA to provide the tests. In years past, there were two other companies, CATS and LaserGrade, but they have gone out of business, giving PSI the monopoly.
“The current testing provider, [PSI]owned by [LLH], is under contract with the FAA and has made unilateral pricing model changes with their third-party providers,” FSANA’s newsletter said. “The third-party providers (in many cases flight schools) have no say in pricing the services to the aviation community. In essence, the test pricing is 100 percent controlled by PSI.”
FSANA’s latest newsletter contains a survey asking about the impact of the closure of third party testing centers will have on the aviation community. Among the questions asked are how far test applicants have to travel to take the test, and how far they are willing to travel for the knowledge test.
“FSANA is receiving feedback that indicates that some sites may discontinue operation,” the newsletter added. “We are concerned that if this happens, the ability to take a test will increase barriers to training and increase the costs associated with taking a test. These costs go beyond the actual cost of the test, but also include the time it takes to travel to and from a test and the expenses associated with that travel.”