A student pilot learns volumes about aviation’s infrastructure during training, from airspace and the air traffic control system to how to use weather services to make decisions about flying. Demonstrating knowledge of these topics is a major component of pilot testing, starting with the pre-solo written test and continuing through the knowledge exam and the checkride.
You say you’re up to date on that material? Good—but you can’t learn these subjects once and stop paying attention. Aviation evolves, making it necessary for members of the community to stay informed about changes that alter how we fly.
In some cases, such as the mandate for most aircraft to be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), the compliance deadline of Jan. 1, 2020, is well publicized and almost four years in the future. Pilots still have time to study the technology, and aircraft operators are pondering choices about what equipment to install.
In an example of imminent change of special interest to current and future pilots in training, the consolidation of knowledge and practical testing will result in the staged introduction of several new airman certification standards.
Other imminent changes, once in place, will change some fundamental elements of flight training, and will render current instructional guidance out of date. For example, a new rule that takes effect April 1 establishes a new system for the issuance and validity of student pilot certificates, eliminating their status as the only pilot certificates with an expiration date, and changing how a student pilot must apply for one. Flight instructors (who also hold certificates with expirations) will have to note the changes in how their endorsements of student pilot privileges are affected by the rule.
In the all-important area of weather briefings, a change that will be felt on a day-to-day basis following its enactment on a yet-uncertain date is the elimination of the area forecast (FA), long a basic ingredient in pilot weather briefings. (See Page 12-11 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.)
This old standard weather product, which many pilots study for their big-picture weather review at the start of preflight briefings, has been overtaken by technology that has rendered its text-heavy presentation dated. A graphics-based replacement product is now open for pilot review and comment (submit your comments by April 11).
Stay informed, stay ahead, as aviation evolves.