group image of ASA ACS and PTS books

FAA Releases New Airman Certification Standards

For the past several years, the FAA has been working on an update for the Airman Certification Standards (ACS) and Practical Test Standards (PTS). Monday, using a process called incorporation by reference (IBR), Parts 61, 63, and 65 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) have been amended, and the new standards are now regulatory as outlined in 14 CFR 61.43. Several brand-new ACS have been published to replace the former PTS and will become effective as of May 31, 2024.

Through IBR, several brand-new ACS are now available:

Instrument Rating HelicopterNew ACS8081-4EACS-14
Private Pilot Rotorcraft HelicopterNew ACS8081-15AACS-15
Commercial Pilot Rotorcraft HelicopterNew ACS8081-16BACS-16
Flight Instructor AirplaneNew ACS8081-6DS and
Flight Instructor HelicopterNew ACS8081-16BACS-29
Table 1: New ACS Available
ASA Flight Instructor Airplane ACS-25 book cover
ASA Flight Instructor Airplane ACS-25.

This amendment also requires updates to several of the standards:

Private Pilot AirplaneUpdated ACSACS-6B.1ACS-6C
Commercial Pilot AirplaneUpdated ACSACS-7AACS-7B
Instrument Rating AirplaneUpdated ACSACS-8B.1ACS-8C
Airline Transport Pilot and Type Rating Airplane Updated ACSACS-11.1ACS-11A
Flight Instructor Instrument Airplane and HelicopterUpdated PTS8081-9D8081-9E  
Aircraft DispatcherUpdated PTS8081-5F.78081-10E
Table 2: Updated ACS and PTS Available

The Aviation Mechanic (ACS-1) and Remote Pilot (ACS-10B) standards were not affected and remain in effect.

What does this mean for you? The FAA is clear that no major substantive changes were made to the testing standards already in use. The incorporation of the ACS and PTS creates a clear, easy-to-use organization of the material a student is expected to know (knowledge elements), consider (risk management elements), and do (skill elements) to qualify for an airman certificate or rating. The ACS assigns a unique code to each task element, which allows for better feedback and clear alignment between the standards, handbooks, and test questions. These ACS codes replace the Learning Statement Codes (LSC) previously seen on Airman Knowledge Test Reports (AKTR) once the new publications become effective.

A common question among many applicants is, “Which ACS or PTS should I use, the newly published or the current?” The simple answer is—it depends on when you plan on taking your knowledge exam or practical test. If you plan to test prior to the May 31st effective date you will want to use the ‘‘old’’’ ACS/PTS. If you plan on testing after May 31st you will want to use the newly published ACS/PTS for the airman certificate or rating you are testing for.

All of these new or updated ACS and PTS are available for preorder at ASA to ship in late April.

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