A Good Pilot is Always Learning

Private Pilot Airplane Airmen Certification Standards 6/16

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Introduction Airman Certification Standards Concept The goal of the airman certification process is to ensure the applicant possesses the knowledge and skill consistent with the privileges of the certificate or rating being exercised, as well as the ability to manage the risks of flight in order to act as pilot in command. In fulfilling its responsibilities for the airman certification process, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards Service (AFS) plans, develops, and maintains materials related to airman certification training and testing. These materials have included several components. The FAA knowledge test measures mastery of the aeronautical knowledge areas listed in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. Other materials, such as handbooks in the FAA-H-8083 series, provide guidance to applicants on aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and flight proficiency. The FAA recognizes that safe operations in today's complex National Airspace System (NAS) require a more systematic integration of aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and flight proficiency standards than those prescribed in the PTS. The FAA further recognizes the need to more clearly calibrate knowledge, risk management, and skills to the level of the certificate or rating, and to align standards with guidance and test questions. To accomplish these goals, the FAA drew upon the expertise of organizations and individuals across the aviation and training community to develop the Airman Certification Standards (ACS). The ACS integrates the elements of knowledge, risk management, and skill listed in 14 CFR part 61 for each airman certificate or rating. It thus forms a more comprehensive standard for what an applicant must know, consider, and do for the safe conduct and successful completion of each Task to be tested on either the knowledge exam or the practical test. The ACS significantly improves the knowledge test part of the certification process by enabling the development of test questions, from FAA reference documents, that are meaningful and relevant to safe operation in the NAS. The ACS does not change the tolerances for any skill Task, and it is important for applicants, instructors, and evaluators to understand that the addition of knowledge and risk management elements is not intended to lengthen or expand the scope of the practical test. Rather, the integration of knowledge and risk management elements associated with each Task is intended to enable a more holistic approach to learning, training, and testing. During the ground portion of the practical test, for example, the ACS provides greater context and structure both for retesting items missed on the knowledge test and for sampling the applicant's mastery of knowledge and risk management elements associated with a given skill Task. Through the ground and flight portion of the practical test, the FAA expects evaluators to assess the applicant's mastery of the topic in accordance with the level of learning most appropriate for the specified Task. The oral questioning will continue throughout the entire practical test. For some topics, the evaluator will ask the applicant to describe or explain. For other items, the evaluator will assess the applicant's understanding by providing a scenario that requires the applicant to appropriately apply and/or correlate knowledge, experience, and information to the circumstances of the given scenario. The flight portion of the practical test requires the applicant to demonstrate knowledge, risk management, flight proficiency, and operational skill in accordance with the ACS. Note: As used in the ACS, an evaluator is any person authorized to conduct airman testing (e.g., an FAA aviation safety inspector, designated pilot examiner, or other individual authorized to conduct test for a certificate or rating). Using the ACS The ACS consists of Areas of Operation arranged in a logical sequence, beginning with Preflight Preparation and ending with Postflight Procedures. Each Area of Operation includes Tasks appropriate to that Area of Operation. Each Task begins with an Objective stating what the applicant should know, consider, and/or do. The ACS then lists the aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and skill elements relevant to the specific Task, along with the conditions and standards for acceptable performance. The ACS uses Notes to emphasize special considerations. The ACS uses the terms "will" and "must" to convey directive (mandatory) information. The term "may" denotes items that are recommended but not required. The References for each Task indicate the source 1

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