What are the new Airman Certification Standards (ACS) all about?
As of June 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revised the Airman Certification Standards (ACS) for the Private Pilot Airplane certificate. These new standards come into effect on June 12 and will apply to all applicants going forward in an effort to make test standards more relevant and applicable to today’s flying. Here are some insights from Monmouth Executive Airport in New Jersey.
Why were the ACS changed?
This was done primarily to remove out-of-date questions and enhance safety/risk management and relevant elements in order to change the airman knowledge test from a rote exercise into one with real value to applicants. It is now more task-specific, develops clear standards for aeronautical knowledge elements in regulations, and contains relevant knowledge that covers what airmen really need to know for safe operation. Pilot knowledge and practical testing is now more effectively integrated to improve test standards and make them more in line with the rapidly changing cockpit and aircraft technology that pilots will face.
This is just the first phase of changes and the ACS will expand to affect other certifications and ratings, including replacing the Practical Test Standards (PTS) for the Commercial Pilot Airplane Certificate, Instructor ACS and Aircraft Mechanics ACS.
Will this make getting a private pilot’s certification difficult or longer?
These revisions keep testing comparable to the previous method in level of difficulty, time and the amount of information students are expected to learn. The process is simply more streamlined, standardized and contains more relevant information than the previous testing process.
Who developed the new ACS?
It is important to note that the new ACS were not developed in isolation by the FAA. They were developed through collaboration with a group of aviation experts including advocacy groups, instructor groups, academics, test prep providers, field experts, parts training providers and even manufacturers. This is to ensure that the new ACS offer a comprehensive training and testing space for students that delivers the skills and knowledge to face likely issues and challenges as pilots.
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