Welcome to Houston CFI & Houston DPE


My Background

  I have been flying airplanes since before I could drive. I soloed at 16, got my Private ticket at 17, and my Commercial ticket at 18.  Other endorsements and ratings (tailwheel, glider, multi-engine, seaplane instructor) came later.
Flying has been a lifelong obsession...a real sickness!  Those of you who are already licensed know what I mean. Those of you just starting out will find out very quickly that flying becomes a part of your DNA!
My background includes:  

  • Designated Pilot Examiner
  • 2013 FAA Southwest Region CFI Of The Year
  • AOPA Air Safety Institute Safety Seminar Presenter
  • Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic Instructor
  • Former Chief Tow Pilot-Greater Houston Soaring Association
  • Founder of Houston Light Sport Aviation
  • Co-Writer/Editor EAA CFI Guide to Sport Pilot and Sport Aircraft
  • Contributing Writer to Rod Machado’s Sport Pilot Textbook
  • FAASTeam Volunteer. 
  • Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot
  • Matrix/Malibu Check Pilot
  • Co-writer AOPA's Rusty Pilot Seminar
  • AOPA's Texas You-Can-Fly Ambassador

Over the years, first (and still) teaching in gliders, then primary and advanced training, I've found that it is indeed true that the student teaches the instructor just as it is the other way around!  

About Your Check Ride

As you can imagine, the FAA is quite specific in its requirements for a check ride.  They are also quite specific as to what we, as DPEs, must do prior to doing check rides.

Please download this PDF, complete it and scan/email it to me at Pat@HoustonDPE.com

Read the instructions CAREFULLY. If any information is missing, or illegible, it will only delay the process!

I will reply via email with a suggested date/time, and your cross-country, or other, assignments.

Scroll down to the next section for some helpful hints on how to prepare for your ride.

Applicant Letter-Form V-9 5-20-20 (pdf)


Helpful Hints For Your Check Ride

  There's no way around it...check rides can be stressful.  There's not much I can say to change that, but these tips should help keep it to a manageable level.  They  are in no particular order.

  • Make SURE your endorsements are in order. Your CFI should know what's required. If in doubt, look at the FAAs Advisory Circular 61-65H  (the latest one as of 10.27.18). It will guide you.
  • Maintenance logs must be up to date. Locate and tab the last annual (airframe, engine AND prop), 100 hour (if required), pitot/static and altimeter checks, and AD compliance records.
  • Check your pilot log book.  ALL pages should be totaled. For easy reference, tab all the pages I need to see (ex: night experience, x/c experience)
  • While I have no objection to the use of an iPad/Android for the purpose of your flight planning, I will STRONGLY suggest that you come with a paper sectional or enroute chart  with  your course drawn on it, and a hand-written navigation log.  Location function (GPS) will be turned off during the check ride!
  • Also, be sure to bring your E6B and a plotter.  You may need it!
  • PRINT OUT and bring with you the 8710 that your instructor signed electronically.  If, for any reason, we have to use a paper application instead of IACRA, this will help avoid delays in your check ride.
  • The ACS (or PTS, if applicable) has a handy list of things you should bring with you.
  • Finally (at least for now!), check to make sure that the name on your photo ID matches your IACRA application, your current pilot certificate, AND your knowledge test results.  If those do not match, it will delay, or possibly cancel, your check ride.  We DO NOT want that to happen!!

Here is a link to an article written by my good friend and follow pilot, Jolie Lucas.  In it, she interviews a couple of  DPEs who offer some solid insight into passing that checkride!  Check it out here:   



AOPA's David Tulis and I had a fun conversation not long ago, and the tape was rolling! Listen here.

AOPA's David Tulis and I sat down a while back for a fun conversation, and the tape was rolling.  You can listen here!


Jeremy Walters invited me to be a guest on his "Breaking The Chain" safety seminar series. It was an honor to participate.  Check here to watch: 


Dan Millican and Christi Wong host a wonderful program called In The Hangar.  I had the pleasure of sharing one of my favorite stories when them.  You can see it here:



Thanks for visiting!