NEW Testing Under the ACS Standard

In fulfilling its responsibilities for the airman certification process, the FAA Flight Standards Service (AFS-630) plans, develops, and maintains materials related to airman certification training and testing. The FAA knowledge test measures the minimum standard of aeronautical knowledge required by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 65. Other materials, such as handbooks in the FAA-H-8083 series, provide guidance to applicants on aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and associated skills.  Current testing is based on the FAA-H-8083 series and will be under the NEW ACS standard as well.


All applicants for an FAA Aviation Mechanic Certificate must qualify by meeting the prescribed requirements as stated in 14 CFR part 65, section 65.77. They must additionally pass a written knowledge test, and the oral and practical tests for the certificate and/or rating sought, in accordance with 14 CFR part 65, section 65.75 and 65.77. FAA knowledge tests contain topics that include the maintenance, repair, alteration, and inspection of aviation products and relevant FAA regulations.


Title 49 U.S. Code Subpart III, Chapter 447 is the foundation for the FAA’s safety regulations. The FAA requires that all practical tests be conducted in accordance with the appropriate Aviation Mechanic ACS and the policies and standardized procedures set forth in the current version of FAA Order 8900.2, General Aviation Airman Designee Handbook.


You can find Title 49 U.S. Code Subpart III, Chapter 447 at the following:


The NEW ACS replacing the current Practical Test Standard (PTS) will consist of Sections (General, Airframe, Powerplant). Each Section includes Subjects appropriate to that Section and consistent with 14 CFR part 65. Each Subject begins with an Objective stating what the applicant should know, consider, and/or do. The ACS then lists the aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and skill elements relevant to the specific Subjects, along with the conditions and standards for acceptable performance. The ACS uses Notes to emphasize special considerations. The ACS uses the terms "will" and "must" to convey directive (mandatory) information.


The term “may” denotes items that are recommended but not required. The References for each Subject indicate the source material for Subject elements. For example, in Subjects such as “Fundamentals of Electricity and Electronics” (MG.I.A.K1), the applicant must be prepared for questions on electron theory presented in the references for that Subject.  The term “must” denotes items that are required.


Definitions within:

  • Knowledge-(FAA knowledge exam, oral) elements are indicated by use of the words "Exhibits knowledge in...."
  • Risk-(oral, practical) elements are indicated by the use of the words “Determine, Identify, Creates…”
  • Skill-(practical) elements are indicated by the use of the words "Demonstrates the skill to perform...."


The current PTS system has PTS codes and the new ACS knowledge test questions will be linked to the ACS codes, which will soon replace the system of Learning Statement Codes (LSC). After this transition occurs, the airman knowledge test report will list an ACS code that correlates to a specific Subject element for a given Section and Subject.  The new ACS codes will replace the current PTS codes on the DME planning sheets we currently download for airman testing.


When the new ACS systems comes on line there will be a period where the new ACS codes will not be on the Airman Knowledge Test Report (AKTR).  Until a new test management system is in place, the LSC (e.g., “AMG,” “AMA,” and “AMP” codes will continue to be displayed on the Airman Knowledge Test Report (AKTR).


From what I have been taught as a DME the mechanic ratings will not change we will still have the Airframe and Powerplant ratings.  As with the current testing you MUST take and pass the General test requirements for either the Airframe or Powerplant rating.


NOTE:  There has been a lot of discussion within the FAA to allow part 147 students to take the General written, oral, and practical tests when they complete that section in their formal curriculum.  Keep in mind the General is NOT a rating, but still required to be passed for either rating or both when combined.  If this is allowed a change will have to be approved for DMEs and for Airmen Certification Branch, for tracking since a temporary certificate cannot be issued based only on the General test.

 As you can see this is a major change and will affect everyone involved in the certification process.  Another part I have not discussed is this change is going to affect all part 147 schools curriculum as well and may cause the schools to change the courses they teach and to resubmit them to the FAA for approval.

 What I would recommend to all applicants is to start using the FAA-H-8083 series handbooks to prepare for the current and future testing at they will be based on the FAA-H-8083 series text books.

 When I get solid dates of when the change will happen and after all of us DMEs are retrained I will post that information.

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