November 8, 2013
By AOPA Communications staff
Nov. 8, 2013
Contact: Steve Hedges
Frederick, MD – A joint industry-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) working group co-chaired by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has issued recommendations that will offer clearer written and practical test standards for student pilots and those pursuing advanced pilot certificates.
The working group overhauled and drafted new standards that students could be tested on during both written and practical (or flying) exams -- once the FAA adopts the new standards. The working group also suggested that the FAA use the same standards for both, so students could apply what they’ve learned for the written exam throughout their training and eventually their practical test.
Currently, the FAA requires a pilot to study a mix of regulations, various handbooks and guidance documents for the knowledge test, and then obtain and train to the Practical Test Standards for the flight exam. Those requirements can leave student pilots unclear about what they need to study and often encourage rote memorization rather than a fundamental understanding of the material.
“We believe our recommendations present a more practical, relevant approach to pilot training and testing,” said David Oord, manager of regulatory affairs for AOPA and co-chair of the Airman Testing Standards and Training Working Group that developed the recommendations. “Pilot testing should be based on real-world situations because that’s what pilots need to fly safely once they earn the certificate or rating. These changes will make testing more realistic and relevant.”
The FAA has made the final report and recommendations available online: http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/committees/documents/index.cfm/document/information/documentID/1482 .
A Federal Register notice and public comment period are expected soon. A beta test and eventual conversion date is likely a few years away, but AOPA is hopeful that the recommendations will be adopted as soon as possible.
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. With a membership base of nearly 400,000, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world. With representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit www.AOPA.org.
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