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FAA updates airman certification standardsFAA updates airman certification standards

Student pilots and especially flight instructors will want to pay attention to new revisions to the FAA’s airman certification standards (ACS) for Private Pilot—Airplane, Instrument Rating—Airplane, Commercial Pilot—Airplane, and Remote Pilot—Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, effective June 11.

The Federal Aviation Administration is one of the many government agencies that have influence over general aviation. Photo by David Tulis.

The revisions, initially developed by the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee Airman Certification System working group, include some new regulations, such as those accommodating Part 68 BasicMed privileges and limitations. Additional changes include edits to account for the FAA’s recent reorganization, different types of hypoxia, and giving the evaluator discretion to ask for a full aerodynamic stall on a checkride, to name a few.

“The enhancements to the standards are clearly laid out in the beginning of each document,” said David Oord, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs and chair of the ACS working group. “The integrated standards incorporate all the knowledge, risk management, and skill elements needed for a certificate or rating—clearly defining what an applicant is expected to know, consider, and do in order to pass and to also be a safe pilot.”

The working group consists of experts and stakeholders from both the FAA and industry, working together on a system that connects the certification standards to FAA advisory handbooks, test questions, and the practical test. “The working group’s motto of ‘continuous improvement’ is reflected in the effort to provide predictable, regular updates to the standards,” said Oord. Processes have been established to identify and coordinate any changes to regulations, policies, and/or technologies that will need to be accounted for and incorporated into the standards.   

With this set of foundational standards in place, the ACS working group continues its development of the next set of certificates and ratings, including ATP, Commercial Pilot—Military Competence, Aviation Maintenance Technician, Rotorcraft, Powered-lift, and Instructor. Recommendations for those standards and other components of the certification system will be channeled through the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee for its review and submittal to the FAA, Oord said.      

For those who would like additional information, the FAA will host a webinar on June 6 at 2:30 p.m. Central Time to go over the 2018 updates.

AOPA Communications staff

Topics: Advocacy, Airman Regulation, FAA Information and Services

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