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FAA publication covers certification changes, safety initiativesFAA publication covers certification changes, safety initiatives

Any pilot who has sought a new certificate or rating recently, or simply tries to keep up with changes in the aviation system knows that the last few years have been a period of much revision and reform. From new airman certification standards and new medical certificate application procedures for student pilots to emerging air traffic system technology, the aviation scene has rapidly evolved on many fronts, with more changes on the way.

Regular readers of aviation periodicals and online reports see much coverage of these necessary-to-know developments. The FAA has spotlighted system changes—with an emphasis on issues important to aviation trainees and those involved in their training—in the July/August 2016 edition of the FAA Safety Briefing, titled, “Student Pilot’s Guide Part III, Airman Certification Standards and You.”

The 41-page publication follows up flight-training-themed editions of the publication from 2012 and 2014, offering “tips and resources for success in initial pilot certification” including exploring the airman certification standards (ACS) that debuted in June for Private Pilot—Airplane, and instrument rating applicants

As an editor’s column explains, understanding the airman certification standards requires a grasp of the “critical connection” between the those standards and the compliance policy that the FAA expects aviators to follow.

For the many student pilots and other pilots who wonder why the airman certification standards supplanted the practical test standards for Private Pilot—Airplane, and the instrument rating as of June 15, an article explains that the standards “started as an effort to fix the airman knowledge tests, which included too many questions that were outdated or irrelevant to operation in today’s NAS. The industry/FAA team concluded that we could not effectively fix the knowledge test without taking a systematic approach to the airman certification system. The ACS is the result.”  AOPA chairs the working group that has been tasked with finalizing and implementing the new standards. 

In addition to coverage of the airman certification standards, the July/August 2016 FAA Safety Briefing addresses other issues in which AOPA has been actively involved. Among several reports of developments on the flight-safety scene is a summary of a loss-of-control seminar hosted in May by the National Transportation Safety Board, in which AOPA and the AOPA Air Safety Institute participated. About 40 percent of all general aviation accidents are a result of loss of control.

The publication’s articles also discuss the new rule that expands the use of simulators in flight training; the 2020 mandate for installing Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out in most aircraft, and the FAA’s $500 equipage rebate program; the process for issuance of student pilot certificates that took effect April 1; and the solutions the FAA is working onto facilitate GA fleet modernization.   

The FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) is working alongside AOPA and industry to break down regulatory and policy barriers that will enable the existing fleet of GA aircraft to be equipped with proven modernized equipment and systems. (See page 33 for a detailed blueprint of the FAA’s focus areas for GA fleet modernization). 

Topics: FAA publications, Flight Training, Student

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