Since September 2011, the FAA has been working closely with a diverse group of aviation community stakeholders convened to help the agency improve the testing/training standards, guidance and test development/test management components of the airman certification process. Participants have developed the Airman Certification Standards (ACS) framework as a way to improve airman training and testing. The ACS provides an integrated, holistic system that clearly aligns airman testing with certification standards and guidance.

Built on the existing Practical Test Standards (PTS), which explicitly define the performance metrics for each flight proficiency element listed in 14 CFR, the ACS approach enhances the PTS by defining the specific elements, aeronautical knowledge, and risk management needed to support each Area of Operation/Task. By presenting the elements of knowledge, skill, and risk management in the integrated ACS format, the ACS better serves the applicant, the instructor, and the evaluator. It will also enable the FAA to clearly align knowledge/skill performance standards, guidance, and test materials.

The FAA continues to work with the industry group to refine the ACS and plan for its  implementation. Current efforts involve FAA validation of the ACS documents, review of proposed updates to H-series handbooks, intensive review/revision of knowledge test questions, and support for industry efforts to prototype the ACS approach in selected locations.

See the links below to find out more about the ACS.