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New airman standards go into effect

Airman certification standards (ACS) take effect today, June 15, for those applying for a Private Pilot Airplane certificate or an Instrument Rating Airplane. The standards replace the practical test standards (PTS) familiar to most pilots.
Airman certification standards go into effect June 15, replacing the practical test standards.

The ACS are the result of a multi-year industry-driven effort to make the test standards more meaningful and relevant to the way pilots fly today. AOPA chairs the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee’s Airman Certification System working group, a joint FAA-industry team that developed the new standards.

“We want pilots to feel that preparing for and taking the knowledge test is a valuable part of their training experience, not a memorization exercise,” explained David Oord, AOPA senior director of government affairs and chair of the working group. “The new standards are designed to adapt as in-cockpit technology changes and to do a better job of integrating the knowledge and practical tests. The overall result will be a more meaningful experience for pilots and a test that better reflects all the things pilots need to know, do, and consider in order to fly safely.”

The new standards are available on the FAA’s airman testing website. A frequently asked questions page covers the most common issues identified so far. 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.

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

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, Pilot Regulation, FAA Information and Services

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