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King private pilot course embraces ACSKing private pilot course embraces ACS

Companion apps give all courses offline capabilityCompanion apps give all courses offline capability

King Schools’ Private Pilot Practical Test (Oral Exam & Flight Test) video course has been completely updated based on the FAA’s new airmen certification standards (ACS), which went into effect June 15. The ACS is an enhanced version of the long-serving FAA practical test standards, which it replaces. The company re-shot the course in HD video to provide a view into a model ACS checkride that covers every task outlined by the ACS, King Schools announced at EAA AirVenture.
Martha King, left, talks with Designated Pilot Examiner Mary Schu and John King during production of an updated private pilot test prep course. The course featured John as a private pilot candidate receiving a checkride from Schu. Photo courtesy King Schools.

The course, which includes more than five hours of both oral exam and in-flight video, features Mary Schu as the designated pilot examiner and John King as a private pilot practical test applicant. Schu is the 2015 National Flight Instructor of the Year. Together they demonstrate a complete checkride, from the introductory handshake to the final sign-off (yes, King passed).

The new certification standards integrate risk management. “We think the ACS is going to be a really positive influence on the general aviation safety record,” Martha King said. “The Practical Test Standards have kind of turned topsy-turvy over the years,” as more areas of emphasis have been added. “Any good flight instructor or DPE has been using risk management with their students for years.”

The course is available online for almost any platform, or on DVD for Microsoft Windows. The online version is compatible with the free King Companion App for iPad and iPhone, which allows users to download lessons for viewing later, even while offline. When reconnected, course progress is automatically synchronized with King’s servers, allowing students to move seamlessly between devices, browsers, and operating systems. The company said the online course also includes free, automatic updates for life.

The company soon will release an Instrument Rating ACS Course, featuring Martha as the applicant and Schu as the examiner.

“The new ACS Course covers materials that will ensure pilots understand how knowledge, risk management, and skill work together,” John said. “Using the ACS for training and testing will fashion the habit of thinking systematically about what’s happening now, what bad thing might happen if you don’t do something about it, and what you can do now to prevent it from happening.”

With the ACS program, the FAA “is looking for a thought process more than any specific answer,” Martha said.

“This course is designed to illustrate that guidance in action,” John added. The new course is available online.

The company also announced a Garmin GTN Essentials Online Course, produced in partnership with Garmin, that complements King Schools’ GNS 430/530 and G1000 courses.

King Schools also announced a new version of the Cessna Companion App for iPads, which—like the King Companion App—allows pilots to download course lessons to their iPads. This provides offline access to the materials; course progress is automatically synchronized when an Internet connection is restored. “We really like this environment for taking courses,” said King Schools CEO Barry Knuttila. “It’s more engaging and more interactive.”

Pilots learning at Cessna Pilot Centers also get lifetime free upgrades to their courses. For example, Knuttila said, the courses already have been upgraded to reflect the new ACS. "Plus we've expanded the digital library. There are now more than 100 reference manuals, Cessna aircraft PIMs, and books."

At AirVenture, King Schools also said that it has become a NAFI Advocate Level Supporter, the flight instructor organization’s highest level of sponsorship. Under the agreement, the company will provide each NAFI member with five free risk management courses; an opportunity to win a King-sponsored scholarship that includes $5,000 toward an advanced instructor rating, as well as lifetime access to the entire King course library; 20 percent off any King Schools course; and deep discounts on the new Private Pilot Practical Test course showcasing the new ACS. More information is available on the King Schools website.

Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Topics: EAA AirVenture, Pilot Training and Certification, Student

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