New Test Standards Will Improve Safety, Training, Examiners Say


The new Airman Certification Standards for private pilot and instrument rating applicants are a welcome change, pilot examiners said following the rollout of the revamped requirements. The ACS, which replaced the Practical Test Standards, also includes updated knowledge tests. “The new standards are designed to adapt as in-cockpit technology changes and to do a better job of integrating the knowledge and practical tests,” said David Oord, AOPA senior director of government affairs and chair of the working group that developed the changes. “The overall result will be a more meaningful experience for pilots and a test that better reflects all the things pilots need to know, do, and consider in order to fly safely.”

Pilot candidates and their instructors will find that the ACS lists topics they’re already familiar with, such as “personal minimums” and “airworthiness requirements” but will tie each one into knowledge, risk management and skills. The flight operations for the test are the same, with more specifics on risk management. Also, the knowledge tests will undergo regular updates of question banks with the help of industry experts, said Doug Stewart, an examiner and CFI who was part of the working group. The FAA will hold a series of webinars for examiners and instructors on the ACS. The June 25 session is full, according to the FAA’s website, but registration is open while space is available for additional webinars on July 1, 9, 18 and 30. The agency also has a Frequently Asked Questions page (PDF) on its website.

Listen to AVweb‘s discussion with Doug Stewart on the ACS here.