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The New FAA Airman Certification Standards (ACS)

SRM | June 14, 2016

Author: Robert A. Wright


Are you ready for the new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman Certification Standards (ACS)?

In June 2016, the FAA is issuing the first Airman Certification Standards. The ACS will eventually replace the existing Practical Test Standards (PTS) for all airman certificates and ratings. The first ACS issued will be for the Private Pilot Certificate and Instrument Ratings.

Unlike the PTS, the ACS will require specific risk management proficiency in each area of operation and task in the standard. The ACS will also establish specific knowledge requirements for each area of operation and task. Previously, under the PTS system, knowledge requirements were tested in a separate test. Risk management proficiency standards did not exist at all under the PTS system. Under the ACS, first time applicants for FAA certificates and ratings will be tested under an integrated system that tests knowledge, risk management, and skill proficiency.

The key issue here is ensuring that you have all the necessary skills to operate safely. This includes risk management, as well as other single pilot resource management (SRM) skills such as automation management, task and workload management, and situational awareness.

Interested in learning more? You can see the latest news on the FAA website. The news release will direct you to the FAA’s Airman Certification Standards page.


Robert A. Wright is the president of Wright Aviation Solutions, LLC. He is a member of the leadership team of Crew Resource Management, LLC, which has been providing comprehensive CRM training to corporate flight departments for over four years.

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