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New airman standards to take effectNew airman standards to take effect

New airman certification standards (ACS) are set to take effect June 15.
Students and instructors will start using the new Airman Certification Standards as a guide for flight training.

The new standards, which affect those applying for a Private Pilot Airplane certificate or an Instrument Rating Airplane, are available on the FAA’s airman testing website.

Pilots who want to familiarize themselves with the new standards also can take an online FAA Safety Team course, “Understanding the Airman Certification Standards,” which qualifies for Wings credit.

AOPA has played a significant role in reworking the standards to make them more meaningful and relevant to the way pilots fly today. The association chairs the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee’s Airman Certification System working group, whose efforts represent the final stage of a multi-year, industry-driven effort to modernize the certification and testing process.

“Throughout this process, the goal has been to ensure that pilots taking the knowledge test understand the information and how it can effect their flying, rather than just memorizing facts to pass,” said David Oord, AOPA senior director of government affairs and working group chair. “The new system not only addresses today’s cockpit technology, it’s also designed to adapt as that technology changes and to link the knowledge and practical exams, resulting in an integrated system for airman training and testing. The standards encompass all the critical elements pilots must know, consider, and do in order to be a safe and competent.”

The new standards eliminate some topics associated with little-used technologies or discontinued products, including questions about ADF/NDB operations and world aeronautical charts.

Before taking the new standards nationwide, the working group tested them in Florida and Washington and found them to be comparable to existing standards in terms of difficulty, time, and information required.

More information about the updated standards is available from the FAA. A frequently asked questions page covers the most common issues identified so far while a section titled “What’s New and Upcoming in Airman Testing” addresses the development of the new knowledge test, handbook revisions, changes to the bank of knowledge test questions, sample knowledge tests, and new Airman Certification Standards codes.

“The new standards have been a long time in development, and we’re pleased to see them being deployed on schedule,” said Oord. “We believe the changes will align the knowledge and practical tests and make both more valuable learning experiences for pilots."

Elizabeth Tennyson

Elizabeth A Tennyson

Senior Director of Communications
AOPA Senior Director of Communications Elizabeth Tennyson is an instrument-rated private pilot who first joined AOPA in 1998.
Topics: Advocacy, Airman Regulation, FAA Information and Services

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