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NAFI Urges FAA to Make Available All Knowledge Test Questions
January 20, 2006 - The National Association of Flight Instructors, together with representative of other leaders in the flight training industry, has urged the Federal Aviation Administration to release to the public the entire bank of knowledge test questions for critique and suggestions for improvement.

In a joint letter to Stanley Roberts, Manager of the FAA’s Airman testing Standards Branch, NAFI Vice President G. Alexander Hill explained “when questions are in the light of day, the tests can do a better job of making sure that applicants have the knowledge crucial to safe operations. The letter arose from a December meeting in Oklahoma City, described by some participants as a “lively dialogue.” FAA had expressed concern that releasing all questions could lead to memorization of answers, rather than study of appropriate material. This concern would be eliminated if the entire bank of unpublished questions were made available on the Internet. “With such a quantity of unidentified questions,” the letter stated, “applicants would be far more motivated to study appropriate material for their certificate or rating [than] to memorize an overwhelming number of questions and answers.”

“It is the training industry’s job to prepare applicants with the knowledge they need to be safe pilots,” the letter continued. “If the general plot consensus is that knowledge test questions are irrelevant and just a memorization hurdle, then they won’t take it seriously. We want to be a part of changing that notion. At our meeting we began an important collaboration that can have a distinct impact on making the knowledge test more relevant and a key element in making safe pilots.” Among the suggestions to deter memorization was the consolidation of all questions for all ratings, including those for mechanic and parachute rigger.

Hill was joined in the letter by Mike Lorden of ASA; Irvin Gleim of Gleim Publications; James Mowery of Jeppesen; and John King of King Schools. JoAnne Hill, of NAFI’s Professional Standards Committee, also attended the meeting in Oklahoma City.