Changes to Commercial Pilot Practical Test Standards for Airplane, August 2002

August 1, 2002

Changes to Commercial Pilot Practical Test Standards for Airplane

August 2002

The major change with this publication is the combination of the airplane single-engine sea and land information into one section, and the combination of the multiengine land and sea information into one section, where in the past, there were four separate sections. There are new examiner responsibilities and leeway when conducting a practical test, and specific special-emphasis areas that are spelled out now.

Within the task areas are new and revised items, including: The airworthiness of an aircraft is now a separate task instead of part of the certificates and documents task. There is now a task for a power-off 180-degree-accuracy approach and landing and a new steep spiral task. The navigation-pilotage task has a requirement to find the course within 2 miles versus 1 mile. Three of the in-flight tasks have more precise standards: Maneuvering during slow flight has a more precise airspeed requirement and bank angle, power-off stalls have a more precise angle of bank requirement, and power-on stalls have a more precise heading requirement. There is no emergency descent task, and the systems malfunctions task has reorganized the possible emergencies to be simulated during the test.

Due to the changes in the two sections for single-engine and multiengine tests, the rating task tables that are used to add a commercial pilot certificate to an existing rating have been reorganized. The multiengine tasks have changed to mimic the standards for the single-engine operations with the addition of the engine failure during flight task now requires a more precise bank angle.

The single biggest change is the reorganization of the Commercial Pilot PTS to incorporate single-engine land and sea and multiengine land and sea sections into one consolidated document with two sections (single and multiengine), thus reducing the Commercial Pilot PTS to almost half the page count.

Some tasks have been reorganized into other areas of operation but have not substantially changed in their requirements or standards.

Commercial Pilot Airplane—Single-Engine Land and Single-Engine Sea

Changes include:

  • Introduction: Practical Test Standards Description:
    • This text has been added: The ground portion of the practical test shall be accomplished before the flight portion."
  • Introduction: Special-Emphasis Areas:
    • The following text has been added:
      "Examiners shall place special emphasis upon areas of aircraft operations considered critical to flight safety. Among these are:
      1. positive aircraft control;
      2. positive exchange of the flight controls procedure (who is flying the airplane);
      3. stall/spin awareness;
      4. collision avoidance;
      5. wake turbulence avoidance;
      6. land and hold short operations (LAHSO);
      7. runway incursion avoidance;
      8. controlled flight into terrain (CFIT);
      9. aeronautical decision making (ADM);
      10. checklist usage; and
      11. other areas deemed appropriate to any phase of the practical test.

      Although these areas may not be specifically addressed under each Task, they are essential to flight safety and will be evaluated during the practical test. In all instances, the applicant's actions will relate to the complete situation.
  • Introduction: Examiner Responsibility:
    • This text has been added: "If the examiner determines that a Task is incomplete, or the outcome uncertain, the examiner may require the applicant to repeat that Task, or portions of that Task." This provision has been made in the interest of fairness and does not mean that instruction, practice, or the repeating of an unsatisfactory task is permitted during the certification process. When practical, the remaining Tasks of the practical test phase should be completed before repeating the questionable Task.

      On multiengine practical tests where the failure of the most critical engine after liftoff is required, the examiner must give consideration to local atmospheric conditions, terrain, and type of aircraft used. However, the failure of an engine shall not be simulated until attaining at least V SSE/V YSE and at an altitude not lower than 200 feet AGL.

      During simulated engine failures on multiengine practical tests the examiner shall set zero thrust after the applicant has simulated feathering the propeller. The examiner shall require the applicant to demonstrate at least one landing with a simulated-feathered propeller with the engine set to zero thrust.

  • Introduction: Unsatisfactory Performance, last paragraph:
    • This text has been added: "The Area(s) of Operation/Task(s) not tested and the number of practical test failures shall also be recorded." If the applicant fails the practical test because of a special-emphasis area, the Notice of Disapproval shall indicate the associated TASK

  • Introduction: Positive Exchange of Flight Controls.
    • This is a new section detailing a positive three-step process of the exchange of flight controls:

      During flight training, there must always be a clear understanding between students and flight instructors of who has control of the aircraft. Prior to flight, a briefing should be conducted that includes the procedure for the exchange of flight controls. A positive three-step process in the exchange of flight controls between pilots is a proven procedure and one that is strongly recommended.

      When the instructor wishes the student to take control of the aircraft, he or she will say, "You have the flight controls." The student acknowledges immediately by saying, "I have the flight controls." The flight instructor again says, "You have the flight controls." When control is returned to the instructor, follow the same procedure. A visual check is recommended to verify that the exchange has occurred. There should never be any doubt as to who is flying the aircraft.
  • Area of Operation I: Preflight Preparation
    • New note added: "The examiner shall develop a scenario based on real-time weather to evaluate Tasks C and D." (Tasks C and D are Weather Information and Cross-Country Flight Planning)
    • A. Task: Certificates and Documents
      • New text (in italics) added to 1.a. as follows: "commercial pilot certificate privileges, limitations, and recent flight experience requirements."
    • B. Task: Airworthiness Requirements
      • This is a new Task that includes explaining required instruments and equipment for day/night VFR, procedures and limitations for determining airworthiness of the airplane with inoperative instruments and equipment with and without an MEL, and requirements and procedures for obtaining a special flight permit.

        This Task also now includes items that were previously categorized under Certificates and Documents' i.e., locating and explaining ADs, compliance records, maintenance/inspection requirements, and appropriate record keeping.
  • C. Task: Weather Information
    • Expanded weather knowledge required on weather charts and ATIS reports. Previously placed emphasis on pireps, sigmets, and airmets. Now the emphasis is on:
      • METAR, TAF, and FA
      • Surface analysis chart
      • Radar summary chart
      • Winds and temperature aloft chart
      • Significant weather prognostic charts
      • Convective outlook chart
      • AWOS, ASOS, and ATIS reports.

  • H. Task: Water and Seaplane Characteristics
    • New knowledge item in list of the characteristics of a water surface: "vessel traffic and wakes."

  • J. Task: Aeromedical Factors
    • "dehydration" added as an area of knowledge.

o       Physiological aspects of night flying task has been removed.

  • Lighting and equipment for night flying task has been removed.
  • Area of Operation II: Preflight Procedures
    • C. Task: Engine Starting
      • New text added to 1. as follows: hand propping safety
  • E. Task: Taxiing and Sailing
    • Previous PTS separated these two procedures into two tasks. The following objectives have been deleted:
      • Demonstrates 180- or 360-degree turns as appropriate.
      • Recognizes when power-on sailing and power-off sailing should be used.
      • Changes direction while sailing toward a downwind point to sailing toward a crosswind point.
      • Controls seaplane speed, as required.
  • Area of Operation IV: Takeoffs, Landings, and Go Arounds
    • A.Task: Normal and Crosswind Takeoff and Climb
      • Added "rejected takeoff procedures" as area of knowledge.
      • (ASES) Deleted "Avoids excessive water spray on the propeller."

    • B. Task: Normal and Crosswind Approach and Landing
      • (ASES) Deleted: "Considers the wind conditions, water surface condition and depth, hazards, surrounding terrain, and other watercraft." Replaced this text with "Adequately surveys the intended landing area (ASES)."

    • E. Task: Short-field Takeoff (Confined Area-ASES) and Maximum Performance Climb
      • Deleted from ASES
        • Retracts the water rudders

    • K. Task: Power-off 180-degree Accuracy Approach and Landing
      • This is a new task that requires the following:
        Objective. To determine that the applicant:
        1. Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to a power-off 180-degree accuracy approach and landing.
        2. Considers the wind conditions, landing surface, obstructions, and selects an appropriate touchdown point.
        3. Positions airplane on downwind leg, parallel to landing runway, and not more than 1,000 feet AGL.
        4. Abeam the specified touchdown point, closes throttle and establishes appropriate glidespeed.
        5. Completes final airplane configuration.
        6. Touches down in a normal landing attitude, at or within 200 feet (60 meters) beyond the specified touchdown point.
        7. Completes the appropriate checklist.
  • Area of Operation V: Performance Maneuver
    • A. Task: Steep Turns
      • Deleted "Selects an altitude of no lower than 1,500 feet AGL." (No altitude minimum is stated).
  • B. Task Steep Spiral
    • This task is new
    • Objective. To determine that the applicant:
      1. Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to a steep spiral.
      2. Selects an altitude sufficient to continue through a series of at least three 360-degree turns.
      3. Selects a suitable ground reference point.
      4. Applies wind-drift correction to track a constant radius circle around selected reference point with bank not to exceed 60 degrees at steepest point in turn.
      5. Divides attention between airplane control and ground track, while maintaining coordinated flight.
      6. Maintains the specified airspeed, +/-10 knots, rolls out toward object or specified heading, +/-10 degrees.
  • Area of Operation VI: Ground Reference Maneuvers

    • Task: Eights on Pylons has minor wording changes, including:
      • Removal of specific time requirement of straight and level flight
      • Adds specific bank angle of between 30 and 40 degrees at the steepest point

  • Area of Operation VII: Navigation

    • A. Task: Pilotage and Dead Reckoning
  • Changes position verification to within two miles instead of one.

 

  • B. Task: Navigation Systems and Radar Services
  • Adds: "Demonstrates the ability to use an airborne electronic navigation system."
  • C. Task: Diversion
  • Deletes the requirement to "diverts toward the alternate airport promptly."

  • D. Task: Lost Procedures
  • Deletes "plans a precautionary landing if deteriorating weather or fuel exhaustion is imminent."
  • Area of Operation VIII: Slow Flight and Stalls

    • A. Task: Maneuvering During Slow Flight
  • Angle of bank must be held +/-5 degrees (was +/-10 degrees).
  • Changed "Stabilizes the airspeed at 1.2 V S1, +10/-5 knots." New text says, "Establishes and maintains an airspeed at which any further increase in angle of attack, increase in load factor, or reduction in power, would result in an immediate stall."

  • B. Task: Power-off Stalls
  • Angle of bank not to exceed 20 +/-5 degrees (was 30 +/-10 degrees).

  • C. Task: Power-on Stalls
  • New power setting "to no less than 65 percent available power."
  • Changes: maintains a specified heading +/-5 degrees, used to be +/-10 degrees, in straight flight.

  • D. Task: Spin Awareness
  • Changed knowledge requirement to "aerodynamic factors related to spins" from "Aerodynamic conditions required for a spin."
  • Removed instrument indications during a spin and/or spiral item.
  • Area of Operation IX: Emergency Operations

    • Removed task: Emergency Descent

 

  • A. Task: Emergency Approach and Landing (Simulated)
  • Changes: "Varies airspeed, descent, and flight pattern as necessary" to "Plans and follows a flight pattern"
  • B. Task: Systems and Equipment Malfunctions
  • Changed: "Note: Examiners shall relate the required applicant's knowledge in this task to the most complex airplane (as defined in the introduction) used for the practical test" to: "1. Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to systems and equipment malfunctions appropriate to the airplane provided for the practical test."

  • C. Task: Emergency Equipment and Survival Gear
  • The following paragraph summarizes what was previously a detailed list: "Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to emergency equipment and survival gear appropriate to the airplane and environment encountered during flight. Identifies appropriate equipment that should be aboard the airplane."
  • This is the list from the old PTS: "Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to emergency equipment and survival gear appropriate to the airplane/seaplane used for the practical test, such as:
    • Location in the airplane/seaplane.
    • Method of operation or use.
    • Servicing requirements.
    • Method of safe storage.
    • Equipment and survival gear appropriate for operation in various climates and topographical environments."

  • Area of Operation X: High Altitude Operations

    • A. Task Supplemental Oxygen
      • Removed method of determining oxygen service availability item
      • Removed care and storage of high-pressure oxygen bottles item

        B. Task: Pressurization

  • Removed: operational and physiological reasons for completing emergency descents item.
  • Removed: Need for wearing safety belts and for rapid access to supplemental oxygen item.
  • Area of Operation XI: Postflight Procedures

    • A. Task: After Landing, Parking, and Securing
      • The new PTS combines two tasks, After Landing and Parking and Securing into one task After Landing, Parking, and Securing to eliminate redundancy.
      • Adds "Maintains directional control after touchdown while decelerating to an appropriate speed."
      • Adds "Observes runway hold lines and other surface control markings and lighting."

        D. Task: Ramping/beaching

        Combined two previous separate tasks into one.

        Does not include the procedures for departure after ramping/beaching as the two previous tasks did.

Commercial Pilot—Airplane Multiengine Land and Multiengine Sea

  • Area of Operation I: Preflight Preparation

    • A. Task: Certificates and Documents
      • New note added: "The examiner shall develop a scenario based on real-time weather to evaluate Tasks C and D." (Tasks C and D are Weather Information and Cross-Country Flight Planning)
      • New text (in italics) added to 1.a. as follows: "commercial pilot certificate privileges, limitations, and recent flight experience requirements."

    • B. Task: Airworthiness Requirements includes
      • This is a new Task that includes explaining required instruments and equipment for day/night VFR, procedures and limitations for determining airworthiness of the airplane with inoperative instruments and equipment with and without an MEL, and requirements and procedures for obtaining a special flight permit.

        This Task also now includes items that were previously categorized under Certificates and Documents; i.e., locating and explaining ADs, compliance records, maintenance/inspection requirements, and appropriate record keeping.

    • C. Task: Weather Information
      • Expanded weather knowledge required on weather charts and ATIS reports. Previously placed emphasis on pireps, sigmets, and airmets. Now the emphasis is on:
        • METAR, TAF, and FA
        • Surface analysis chart
        • Radar summary chart
        • Winds and temperature aloft chart
        • Significant weather prognostic charts
        • Convective outlook chart
        • AWOS, ASOS, and ATIS reports.

    • H. Task: Principles of Flight—Engine Inoperative
      • List of items to be explained has been expanded to:
        1. meaning of the term "critical engine." (new)
        2. effects of density altitude on the V MC demonstration. (new)
        3. effects of airplane weight and center of gravity on control. (new)
        4. effects of angle of bank on V MC. (new)
        5. relationship of V MC to stall speed. (new)
        6. reasons for loss of directional control. (new)
        7. indications of loss of directional control. (new)
        8. importance of maintaining the proper pitch and bank attitude, and the proper coordination of controls.
        9. loss of directional control recovery procedure. (new)
        10. engine failure during takeoff including planning, decisions, and single-engine operations. (new)

        I. Task: Water and Seaplane Characteristics

    • New knowledge item in list of the characteristics of a water surface: "vessel traffic and wakes."

  • K. Task: Aeromedical Factors
    • "dehydration" added as an area of knowledge.

        Task: Physiological aspects of night flying has been removed

        Task: Lighting and equipment for night flying has been removed

  • Area of Operation II: Preflight Procedures
  • A. Task: Preflight Inspection
    • Removed: Locates and identifies switches, circuit breakers/fuses, and spare fuses, pertinent to day and night operations.

  • B. Task: Cockpit Management
    • Added "Ensures all loose items in the cockpit and cabin are secured."

  • E. Task: Taxiing and Sailing (AMES)
    • Previous PTS separated these two procedures into two tasks. The following objectives have been deleted:
      • Recognizes the circumstance when sailing should be used.
  • Area of Operation III: Airport and Seaplane Base Operations

    • A. Task: Radio communications and ATC light signals
      • Removed: Complies with ATC light signals

        B. Task: Traffic Patterns

        Removed: Establishes an appropriate distance from the runway/landing area.

  • Area of Operation IV: Takeoffs, Landings, and Go-Arounds

    • A. Task Normal and Crosswind Takeoff and Climb
      • Added "Exhibits knowledge of rejected takeoff procedures."

    • E. Task: Glassy Water Takeoff and Climb (ASES)
      • Removed: Uses noise abatement procedures, as required item.
    • G. Task: Rough Water Takeoff and Climb (ASES)
      • Changed "Clears the area, taxis into the takeoff position and aligns the seaplane properly—considering the takeoff path." New text: "Clears the area; selects an appropriate takeoff path considering wind, swells, surface hazards and/or vessels."

  • Area of Operation V: Performance Maneuver

    • Task: Steep turns
      • Removed minimum altitude requirement for this task
  • Area of Operation VI: Navigation
    • A. Task: Pilotage and Dead Reckoning
      • Changes position verification to within two miles instead of one.

    • B. Task: Navigation Systems and Radar Services
      • New: "Demonstrates the ability to use an airborne electronic navigation system."

    • C. Task: Diversion
      • Deletes the requirement to "divert promptly to alternate."

    • D. Task: Lost Procedures
      • Deletes requirement to "Plan a precautionary landing if deteriorating weather and/or fuel exhaustion is impending."

  • Area of Operation VII: Slow Flight and Stalls

    • B. Task: Power-off Stalls
      • Specified angle of bank not to exceed 20 +/-5 degrees (was 30 +/-10 degrees).

    • C. Task: Power-on Stalls
      • Changes: maintains a specified heading +/-5 degrees in straight flight, used to be +/-10 degrees, in straight flight.
      • New: "Sets power to no less than 65 percent available power."

    • D. Task: Spin Awareness
      • Changed: "Aerodynamic factors related to spins," used to be: "Aerodynamic conditions required for a spin."

  • Area of Operation VIII: Emergency Operations

    • New Note: "Examiners shall select an entry altitude that will allow the single engine demonstrations task to be completed no lower than 3,000 feet (920 meters) AGL or the manufacturer's recommended altitude, whichever is higher. At altitudes lower than 3,000 feet (920 meters) AGL, engine failure shall be simulated by reducing throttle to idle and then establishing zero thrust."

    • D. Task: Approach and Landing with an Inoperative Engine (Simulated)
      • New addition (in italics) "Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to an approach and landing with an engine inoperative to include engine failure on final approach."

    • F. Task: Emergency Equipment and Survival Gear
      • The following paragraph summarizes what was previously a detailed list: "Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to emergency equipment and survival gear appropriate to the airplane and environment encountered during flight. Identifies appropriate equipment that should be aboard the airplane."

 

  • Area of Operation IX: High Altitude Operations
    • A. Task Supplemental Oxygen
      • Removed method of determining oxygen service availability item
      • Removed Care and storage of high-pressure oxygen bottles item

        B. Task: Pressurization

  • Removed: operational and physiological reasons for completing emergency descents item.
  • Removed: Need for wearing safety belts and for rapid access to supplemental oxygen item.

 

  • Area of Operation X: Multiengine Operations

    • This section now includes tasks that the previous PTS categorized under Emergency Operations.

    • New Note: "If the applicant is instrument rated, and has previously demonstrated instrument proficiency in a multiengine airplane or does not hold an instrument rating airplane, Tasks D and C need not be accomplished." [Task C is Engine Failure During Flight (by Reference to Instruments) and Task D is Instrument Approach—One Engine Inoperative (by Reference to Instruments)].

    • B. Task: V MC Demonstration (Previously called "Engine Inoperative—Loss of Directional Control Demonstration")
      • New Note: "An applicant seeking a airplane-multiengine land (AMEL) rating, 'Limited to Center Thrust,' is not required to be evaluated on this Task."
      • The following general summary paragraph replaces 10 specific points of knowledge: "Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to V MC by explaining the causes of loss of directional controls at airspeeds less than V MC, the factors affecting V MC and the safe recovery procedures."

    • C. Task: Engine Failure During Flight (by Reference to Instruments)
      • The demonstration of coordinated flight no longer specifies turns, climbs, and descents.
      • Bank parameters are +/-5 degrees (was +/-10 degrees).

    • D. Task: Instrument Approach—One Engine Inoperative
      • New heading parameter +/-10 degrees (newly added to altitude and airspeed)
      • New: "Avoids loss of aircraft control, or attempted flight contrary to the engine-inoperative operating limitations of the aircraft."

  • Area of Operation XI: Postflight Procedures

    • A. Task: After Landing, Parking, and Securing
      • The new PTS combines two tasks, After Landing and Parking and Securing into one task After Landing, Parking, and Securing to eliminate redundancy.
      • Adds "Maintains directional control after touchdown while decelerating to an appropriate speed."
      • Adds "Observes runway hold lines and other surface control markings and lighting."

    • D. Task: Ramping/beaching
      • Combined two previous separate tasks into one.
      • Does not include the procedures for departure after ramping/beaching as the two previous tasks did.