Last week I had the privilege of representing SAFE at the FAA/Industry working group for the Airmen Certification Standard (ACS WG) meeting in Washington D.C. SAFE Executive Director Doug Stewart was also there representing SAFE. In addition, there were several attendees representing other organizations who are SAFE members.
Being my first such meeting, I was quickly immersed in the work being done to enhance the Practical Test Standards and incorporate the knowledge requirements. I must admit, I had not fully appreciated how much this program encompasses. The work is important not just for flight instructors, but also ground instructors and others who are teaching courses that use the FAA handbooks in their curriculums. Not only are the Practical Test Standards being enhanced, but regulations for certificates, practical tests, knowledge tests, and guidance material (i.e. Handbooks) are all being cross-referenced and harmonized. The objective is a unified system of source guidance documents, standards and tests that are all consistent and test the important material.
SAFE’s representatives are reviewing and updating the pilot and instructor handbooks as well as the standards. SAFE is also on the sub-group for the Authorized Instructor ACS. To paraphrase FAA co-chair of the working group Susan Parson in the Sept/Oct 2014 issue of the FAA Safety Briefing: “The ACS working group is charged three tasks. First is completing work on ‘foundational’ set of ACS documents (i.e. private, commercial, ATP, and instructor certificates and instrument rating). Second is mapping the standards to the guidance material (e.g. handbooks). The final task is prototyping, [similar to beta-testing] the new standards.”
Representing SAFE members at FAA/Industry work groups is an important way that SAFE serves its members. SAFE has a seat at the table in creating and the updating material that allows our members to be heard. SAFE is commenting on many proposed changes, not just the ACS, and we encourage our members to do likewise. Let me take this opportunity to thank our members who have provided commented comments to the FAA in the past. Please continue to participate in the future.
–Donna Wilt, SAFE Chair