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CFI Lesson Plans and ACS Governance

This KB doc was last updated on October 2, 2023
at 1:25 PM Eastern
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This support document should be used to help with CFI Lesson Plans and ACS Governance. If you need further assistance, please contact us and we'd be happy to provide further assistance.

Table of Contents

Diffusing Confusion

Years ago, the FAA introduced Airman Certification Standards (ACS) for various pilot certificates. However, as of the current writing, ACS has not been published for the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certificate. To provide clarity, CFI applicants are evaluated and tested based on the existing FAA Practical Testing Standards for CFI with Change 6. Therefore, any material used for the CFI Practical Test should strictly adhere to the standards outlined in the Practical Testing Standards (PTS), not ACS.

Following certification as an FAA Certified Instructor, the expectation is to evaluate your own students based on the criteria outlined within ACS, not PTS. Despite the distinction between PTS and ACS, particularly in CFI Lesson Plans, it is crucial not to be unsettled by this difference and to ensure that the material aligns with the appropriate testing standards.

Practical Test Standards (PTS)

As of now, The Complete CFI Binder Series aligns with the latest revision of the FAA Practical Test Standards (PTS) intentionally. The Airman Certification Test Standards (ACS) for CFI, CFII, or MEI courses haven't been released, and there's no prototype available as of Spring 2017. Consequently, we continue to use the FAA Practical Test Standards for all Flight Instructor Courses.

When the ACS is officially released for CFI courses, we will update our products accordingly. If you're subscribed to updates (free for the first year), the update to The Complete CFI Binder Series will be free. Once the ACS updates are completed, you can download the updated resource conforming to the Airman Certification Standards.

Airman Certification Standards (ACS)

While some inquire about ACS, it's crucial to note that, as of Spring 2017, there are no finalized ACS for CFI, CFII, and MEI Flight Instructor Courses. The Complete CFI Binder Series was crafted to assist current applicants in passing their Practical Examination under the existing FAA testing standards.

The Bottom Line

For your CFI, CFII, or MEI Practical, you will be tested and evaluated based on the current Practical Test Standards (PTS), not the ACS. It's still beneficial to review the ACS, as becoming a certificated instructor requires familiarity with the ACS for Private and Instrument Students.

The Main Differences

While the ACS and PTS are similar, the ACS introduces a more logical outline, categorizing tasks into Knowledge Areas, Risk Management, and Skills. The ACS provides a more objective approach to testing standards compared to its predecessor, the PTS.

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