Revised 2019 Airman Certification Standards - What does it mean to you?

Innovation, incidents and ideas come at us quickly in today’s aviation community.  We need to be flexible and look at old ways of operating from a different perspective. This requires acceptance of change, which the FAA knows we all love. So they shake things up just when we thought it was safe to go back in the air.

Keeping pace with a rapidly advancing industry is tough. It feels like new rules and advisory circulars requiring or advising us on how to fly more safely emerge daily.  If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll definitely miss something, which could cost you.  Particularly when it comes to flight training and preparing for an FAA check ride. 

Have you ever been given a traffic violation you felt you didn’t deserve?  Worse, have you gotten one for breaking a law or ordinance you didn’t even know existed?  I have, and it’s not a good feeling. 

Years ago, while vacationing with my family in Washington, DC, I was pulled over and cited for entering the Lincoln Memorial through the bus entrance. I swore I couldn’t see a sign anywhere. I felt set up. The stoic patrolman instructed me to wait behind a conga line of tourists receiving tickets from his very unsympathetic police partner, which strengthened my suspicion that something was amiss.

My wife, the ever-diligent social justice warrior set out to find the elusive “bus entrance only” sign I had egregiously ignored.  Her investigation revealed that the sign did in fact exist.  It had however, been obscured by summer tree growth.  She successfully fought the ticket with photographic evidence and I was exonerated. 

I was lucky in that particular instance. I fully expected to receive a letter stating ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law, a statement that only adds insult to injury. 

The same painful principle applies to student pilots too.  Failure to know the current FAA standards for a check ride maneuver is no excuse during an evaluation.  Pleading ignorance of the standards would be a weak argument for avoiding the dreaded Notice of Disapproval. 

Luckily for you, Pilot Mall is here to help.  We are currently offering the June 2019 Revised Private Pilot Airplane FAA-S-ACS-6B, Commercial Pilot Airplane FAA-S-ACS-7A and Instrument Rating Airplane FAA-S-ACS-8B “Airman Certifications Standards with Change 1.”

These guides outline exactly what is expected of you on your next FAA check ride.

Being aware of the changes to the certification standards is absolutely critical for the professional CFI to train, and the student pilot to prepare for a successful check ride.  Don’t chum the evaluation waters by presenting yourself as unknowledgeable or unready.

Chart a course to Pilot Mall where you can purchase the revised 2019 “ACS,” which initially replaced the tried and true “Practical Test Standards” in 2018.  I’ve been a practicing CFII since 2002 and have lived by the revered “PTS” for a long time.  Trust me, the aviation standards have changed. 

The friendly old Task and Objective has evolved.  For example, risk management considerations are now woven into every task, requiring a deeper level of knowledge and analysis by aspiring aviators.  Some maneuvers, like the stall series, which haven’t changed in twenty years, have been slightly modified. 

Since back when I took my private pilot training, the power-off stall recovery procedure was an incremental flap retraction, with final flap retraction occurring after accelerating to Vx or Vy.  The new ACS simply states, “Configure the airplane as recommended by the manufacturer, and accelerate to Vx or Vy.”

The new standard is only subtly different, but every examiner has a treasured discussion item. This is a classic example of an oral examination opening question to test your knowledge of the new standards, aerodynamics and your knowledge of the Normal Procedures Section of your POH (a triple threat for all you basketball enthusiasts).

Based on your airplane, this change could be significant, requiring a CFI to alter a maneuver that may have been taught a certain way for decades.  Don’t put yourself in a position where you feel like you’re going to need a bigger wallet!  Know the standards and breeze through your evaluation the first time.

Get your revised Airman Certification Standards booklets at Pilot Mall now and arm yourself with the most important weapon in any pilot’s arsenal.  Knowledge.

Private ACS  Instrument ACS Commercial ACS
Airman Certification Standards (ACS) - Private Pilot Airplane (FAA-S-ACS-6B) (Change 1) Airman Certification Standards (ACS) - Instrument Rating Airplane (FAA-S-ACS-8B) (Change 1) Airman Certification Standards (ACS) - Commercial Pilot Airplane (FAA-S-ACS-7A) (Change 1)
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