September 13, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
A committee advising the FAA on ways to enhance flight safety with improved training and testing materials has established a working group to propose initial revisions and reforms by September 2013, with the aviation-training industry playing a major role in the project.
The FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) announced in a Federal Register notice that it is soliciting membership for the working group, and that the panel’s first task will be to “address the private pilot, flight instructor, and instrument rating training and testing materials by developing an integrated Airman Certification Standards document for each one.”
Additional elements of the working group’s task will include recommending priorities for revising other certificates and ratings, and proposing knowledge test bank questions that are consistent with the new Airman Certification Standards documents and with recommendations from an industry-backed report that offered nine suggestions for ways to improve the testing system. The test questions would undergo “expert outside review” under a process the working group is to propose.
AOPA reported June 21 that the FAA said in a meeting with industry representatives that it had accepted most of the report’s recommendations.
‘Real world aviation education’
A detailed proposal for streamlining and consolidating several FAA handbooks and other guidance materials listed in the notice will also be part of the working group’s task.
The ARAC announcement establishing the working group said it “creates a process by which the stakeholders' real world aviation education and training expertise can contribute to the development of materials and methodologies.”
“AOPA will actively support the working group, and looks forward to improving the standards for airman testing and working with our partners in industry and FAA,” said David Oord, AOPA manager of regulatory affairs.
The ARAC said it would seek a wide range of working group members with aviation training experience “to ensure that all aspects of airman testing and training, including best practices, are considered in the development of its recommendations.”
As the project proceeds, the working group will provide status updates at meetings of the ARAC’s executive committee. On acceptance of the completed recommendations, the executive committee will issue a written report to the FAA.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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