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FAA Knowledge Test Aviation Rulemaking Committee Report Released

WASHINGTON, DC.  (June 19, 2012) - The FAA released the FAA Knowledge Test Aviation Rulemaking (ARC) Report yesterday.  This report is the culmination of months of work by industry representatives from associations,  including NAFI, and training product providers to offer feedback to the FAA intended to improve the airman testing process.


FAA and industry representatives have worked collaboratively over the past five months to evaluate the current FAA Airman Knowledge Test process, including how test questions are developed and administered, what reference guidance is used in airman training, and what best practices other industries use to create and maintain high quality testing processes.  The overall goal of the entire process was to continue the evolution of FAA airman testing to ensure safety in the national airspace system through development of high levels of skill and knowledge in airmen. 


"We are honored to have been a contributing partner to this effort of evaluating the areas of airman testing where improvement can be made," said NAFI Executive Director Jason Blair.  "The collaborative approach to airman testing and training content development shows where the FAA and industry can work together to continue the evolution of the airman knowledge process.  It shows that a regulatory approach to any changes is not always necessary, that partnership can bring about faster and more effective solutions."


"NAFI has fielded a wide variety of questions over the past few months based on rumors about changes in FAA tests.  The reality is that the industry remains confident in the efforts of the FAA's Airman Testing office, that the process it continues to use to introduce new material in tests is logical and does not in general represent any divergent or significant changes from the historical process it has used.  Small changes are always being made, but they do not warrant some of the alarm that recent rumors have insinuated," Blair added.


Through the ARC process the FAA has remained committed to working with the industry to improve the overall testing process.   In the future, and as a result of the ARC report, NAFI expects that the FAA will work to improve communication of any changes in testing and training materials more directly to the industry, that it will allow changes to be communicated for at least 6 months before any testing is done on new material, and to allow increasing industry participation in the evaluation of testing materials.  FAA also indicated that an improved website for communicating changes to training and testing information would soon be released, creating a single clearing house as a resource for the most current information. NAFI strongly recommends that instructors and students carefully review the most current information provided by the FAA to ensure they are training and testing based on the most current information.


Discussion about making the entire set of questions public was a part of the ARC process in order that instructors and pilots would know all the content of the tests. NAFI does not believe this will occur.  One of the recommendations of the ARC was that the FAA would allow selected industry representatives to help with the development and evaluation of new test questions and training standards; this is something we believe will receive positive reception from the FAA with possible implementation in the near future.  The long term goal is to ensure that FAA knowledge test items are aligned with training standards and material..


FAA and industry remain committed to continuing the evolution of the testing and training process that enhances safety and knowledge in airman throughout the national airspace system.  The goal of airman knowledge tests is to sample the knowledge base of pilots seeking certification.  It is clear that this process is sound and will only improve with the collaborative approach that has resulted as a part of this committee's work.


This effort included significant resource allocation on the part of the participants whose costs are not reimbursed for the effort.  The effort included numerous meetings that required travel, significant allocation of staff time and knowledge, and dedication to the improvement of aviation testing and training.  All of the participants worked at their own cost to try to improve, on behalf of the aviation industry, the entire process.  NAFI thanks all of the participants for their significant dedication of time and resources to this effort.


The final report of the ARC can be viewed at http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/draft_docs/arc/


The National Association of Flight Instructors’ members work at flight schools, universities, FBO’s, corporate flight departments, in the military, and as independent instructors. NAFI was founded in 1967 and its members, who now teach in 17 countries, are dedicated to raising and maintaining the professionalism of flight instruction.


NAFI members influence active pilots daily; pilots training to advance their skills with new ratings or certificates and students working to become pilots. NAFI staff also works with industry and government and serves as a voice for flight instruction. NAFI shapes the direction of flight training.


For more information, visit www.NAFINet.org or call 866-806-6156.