Recommendations to improve pilot training and testing released

A joint industry-FAA working group has issued recommendations that will offer clearer written and practical test standards for student pilots and those pursuing advanced certificates.

The working group overhauled and drafted new standards that students could be tested on during both written and practical exams, once the FAA adopts the new standards, according to officials with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which co-chaired the group.

The working group also suggested that the FAA use the same standards for both, so students could apply what they’ve learned for the written exam throughout their training and eventually their practical test.

Currently, the FAA requires a pilot to study a mix of regulations, various handbooks and guidance documents for the knowledge test, and then obtain and train to the Practical Test Standards for the flight exam. Those requirements can leave student pilots unclear about what they need to study and often encourage rote memorization rather than a fundamental understanding of the material, according to officials.

“We believe our recommendations present a more practical, relevant approach to pilot training and testing,” said David Oord, manager of regulatory affairs for AOPA and co-chair of the Airman Testing Standards and Training Working Group that developed the recommendations. “Pilot testing should be based on real-world situations because that’s what pilots need to fly safely once they earn the certificate or rating. These changes will make testing more realistic and relevant.”

The FAA has made the final report and recommendations available online.

A Federal Register notice and public comment period are expected soon. A beta test and eventual conversion date is likely a few years away, but AOPA officials said they are hopeful that the recommendations will be adopted as soon as possible.


  1. Ed Watson says

    May I suggest some 31 pages versus 513 might be a good place to start.
    Try “How to Fly a Piper Cub” 99% of basics needed. That is how I learned in 1946 and 4,800 hours ago.

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