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Goodbye NDB and other outdated test questions

FAA posts positive airman testing changes on website

The FAA has updated the airman testing portion of its website to highlight improvements to the airman testing and certification process that have emerged from a collaborative effort with the aviation industry, in which AOPA played a leading role.

Instructors, pilots, and students visiting the site can learn about the draft airman certification standards, developed by industry and designed to become the foundation of the FAA’s transition to a more integrated and systematic approach to pilot certification.

Also, the training and testing page’s section titled "What’s new and upcoming in airman testing" contains information about changes to the Private Pilot-Airplane Airman Knowledge Test that are to go into effect Feb. 9, said David Oord, AOPA director of regulatory affairs.

The page contains a briefing on the proposed draft airman certification standard for private pilot, commercial pilot, authorized instructor certificates, and the instrument rating that were developed by the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee’s Airman Certification System working group, chaired by AOPA.

In addition to the briefing on the certification standards, answers to frequently asked questions are available on the page.

The site’s section on new and upcoming testing changes is also reporting on the deletion of questions in several topic areas and of several types from the Private Pilot Airplane Airman Knowledge Test beginning Feb. 9,  and the addition of a new set of test-question codes, as explained below.

Questions being deleted covered outdated topics including automatic direction finder/nondirectional beacon (ADF/NDB); radar summary charts; the En Route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS); medevac; and transcribed weather broadcasts (TWEB).

The FAA will also delete from the knowledge test "questions involving scalability (i.e., those questions requiring the use of nonstandard scales for measurement or calculation),” and aircraft performance and weather questions “that involve multiple interpolations across multiple charts."

In another refinement, sample Private Pilot Airplane Airman Knowledge Test questions available on the FAA website will show two types of associated codes: the learning statement code(s) associated with the question topic area, and the new airman certification standards code for the question topic area.

Learning statement codes currently appear on a knowledge test-taker’s Airman Knowledge Test Report for any missed test questions. The FAA said it expects airman certification standards codes to replace the learning statement codes on the knowledge test within 12 to 18 months. The new coding system will eventually apply to both knowledge test questions and practical test tasks, linking the two tests through the new system.

"The multi-year overhaul in which the industry and the FAA have been engaged continues to make positive improvements to airman testing and certification," Oord said. "Test questions will now be based on standards that are relevant to today’s flight training and provide the airman with useful knowledge, skills, and risk management tools."

Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Training and Safety, Aviation Industry

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