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FAA Considering Modernization of Pilot Training Standards

By By Woodrow Bellamy III | May 31, 2013
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FAA is preparing to consider a series of major changes to the practical test standards (PTS) for private pilots. 
The agency is considering proposed changes to the rules from the Airman Testing Standards and Training Workgroup (ATSTWG). The group, formed in 2011 and chaired by Jens C. Hennig, vice president of operations at the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), seeks to bring together the standards for flight training into a single location for each certificate or rating for aspiring pilots. 
Hennig said the current system for training pilots is too segmented, with practical test standards, learning statement codes and test questions communicated to student-pilots through several different documents. The committee created a set of standards called the Airman Certification Standards (ACS), providing a basis for which to communicate the requirements for becoming a pilot to flight instructors and their students.
"Instead of having the standards for how we teach and train pilots contained in many different documents within the agency often formatted and structured in different ways, its now structured so that for a private pilot certificate — there is an airman certification standard published for comments by the FAA, that proposes a combined, complete framework, that shows the knowledge, the skills and the risk management abilities that a pilot must have in order to become a private pilot," said Hennig. 
In its recommendations for establishing the new standards, GAMA expressed the desire for the agency to evolve its philosophy about how knowledge questions are established  and developed. Additionally, the group would like to see the agency incorporate scenario-based questions that are relevant to the way pilots "operate in the real world," and to improve testing on utilizing modern avionics systems. 

FAA has not said when it expects to incorporate ACS into its system of pilot training standards.

Related: GA Avionics News 

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