The “Frozen” ACS/PTS Progress!

The legal mess that has held up the publication of the FAA testing standards is finally starting to move forward. If you are an aviation educator (or a learner in training) you can now see these forth-coming standards HERE (published yesterday in the Federal Register). A previous SAFEblog described the reason for this long legal delay. All the new proposed testing standards are HERE.

One of the most important ACS documents that has been on the shelf is the Flight Instructor ACS. This is HERE for your review (the ACS committee is in session as this is published discussing any necessary changes to the standards). Please log in and SUPPORT the publication of these essential flight training documents.

BTW, I hope savvy CFIs notice the return of “Minimum Controllable Airspeed” in the CFI ACS in Section 10B – stall warner on…Yeah, we fought for that…

PSI is Quietly Killing Your Local Test Center…

A recent letter to all PSI testing centers announced a drastic reduction in the amount paid to FAA Testing Centers from $65 per test to only $22 per test (and potentially less if the candidate does not use the full allotted time). PSI is an FAA-enabled monopoly and this contract change will essentially kill many of the 800 local testing centers. These essential businesses already supply a quiet room, with four computers (one required for monitoring) with security systems (required) and live proctors to qualify to be a test center (combined with all the business expenses like rent, insurance, heat, etc). Flight test applicants now sometimes have to wait a month for a flight test, but soon a pilot may have to drive hours to access an FAA Knowledge Test; this is an avoidable “train wreck scenario.”

More important than the inconvenience, the current FAA testing revenue often partially supports your local aviation business at small airports across America. These facilities provide a place for pilots to gather and fly. These are often a local flight school, flying club or a small FBO. This change could be catastrophic to the fabric of general aviation. I encourage every reader of this blog to write immediately to the ACTS email “AirmanKnowledgeTesting[a]faa.gov” and object to this change. Fly safely out there (and often).

[Added 12/14/2022] FAA response to my letter pointing out all of the above, said basically “we assigned a monopoly to PSI and we did not specify how they should carry out their mission so long as they do not raise the price to the testing candidate:”

How the testing vendor decides to compensate testing centers, proctors, call center personnel, software engineers, administrative personnel, test content staff, or any other key position associated with carrying out the requirements in the SOW is at the complete discretion of the testing vendor and outside the scope of the FAA’s authority. FAA Reply

Really? Maybe the FAA should have included vendor protections in the contract? We pilots are the end-users and we pay for this testing service.

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Author: David St. George

SAFE Director, Master CFI (12X), FAA DPE, ATP (ME/SE) Currently jet charter captain.

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