Pilots: Comment on draft airman standards

June 25, 2014

Editor's Note: We incorrectly stated the deadline to submit comments on the new draft airman certification standards. The comment deadline is Aug. 25, and the story has been updated to reflect the correct date.

An AOPA-led industry group has made new draft airman certification standards available for public comment as part of a joint FAA-industry effort to improve general aviation safety by creating more relevant and meaningful written and practical testing experiences. The draft standards apply to the commercial pilot certificate and authorized instructor certificates, including ground instructors and certificated flight instructors.

AOPA, which has helped lead every stage of the industry-driven move to improve airman testing, is encouraging members to review the draft standards and submit their comments and suggestions for improvement.

“This is a critically important effort because the standards, once complete, will be the single integrated source for written and practical testing,” said David Oord, AOPA manager of regulatory affairs. “By linking the tests to a single set of standards, future pilots will not only clearly understand what they need to know to get their certificate, but also why they need to know it, and how it will make them safer.”

In the past, written testing standards were set out in a wide range of handbooks, regulations, advisory circulars, and other documents. The new airman certification standards will integrate standards for knowledge, skill, and risk management into a single document, making it easier for students and their instructors to determine what information is relevant to the written and practical tests for each certificate or rating. The standards build on existing practical test standards, adding specific elements for knowledge and risk management.

Comments on the draft standards will be used by the Airman Certification System Working Group, chaired by AOPA, to further refine the proposed standards before submitting them to the FAA for implementation. The working group previously published draft standards for the private pilot certificate and instrument rating.

The draft standards are available online. Comments must be filed by Aug. 25 and should reference Docket No. FAA-2013-0316. Along with the draft standards, the docket also includes a list of frequently asked questions that further explain the airman certification system concept. 

Oord and other members of the working group will provide a briefing on the new standards on Aug. 1 in the forums area at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.

Elizabeth Tennyson

Elizabeth A Tennyson | Director of Government Affairs and Executive Communications, AOPA

Director of Government Affairs and Executive Communications Elizabeth Tennyson joined AOPA in 1998, the same year she earned her private pilot certificate. She also holds an instrument rating and enjoys jumping out of planes almost as much as flying them.