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ACS' Changes, Maximizing Accelerated Training, Pathways, and Pro Tips

January 2023

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A review of changes to the Private, Instrument, Commercial, and Flight Instructor Airplane Single-Engine ACS’.

The ACS’ that the FAA wants to incorporate by reference into the FAR are available at  The FAA is intent to associate ACSs and PTS’ to the appropriate FAR by a procedure called “Incorporated by reference.” It allows the FAA to attach other documents to an existing FAR without needing to rewrite it.  This has been done many times before by FAA for other things.

The public docket is available for you to review.  It has the proposed rule change and the ACS’ and PTS’ they want to include.  You can also view all of the public comments, including mine.

I made a pretty detailed comparison of the current Flight Instructor Airplane Single-Engine PTS with the Flight Instructor Airplane Category ACS.  I’ll discuss this last.  There is a link here to my marked-up copy of the changes.

For the Private ACS, the only changes I saw were missing elements in the appendix, like the checklist for the appointment with the examiner, the knowledge test appendix section, and so on.  I assume these will be incorporated at some point.  It’s strange that the appendix is not complete in all of the ACS’ and PTS’, which they propose to release.

The only thing that stood out in the Private ACS in the Areas of O[peration was the Cross-Country Flight Planning task.  There is no mention of whether the flight plan may be electronic.  The current ACS makes clear that an electronic flight plan is acceptable.  It’s in the Appointment with the Examiner Checklist.  Other than that, there are no significant changes.

For the Instrument Rating Airplane ACS, the Areas of Operation follow the current one with no detectable changes.  The appendix, however, is missing the section that allows an LPV approach with a DA of 300 feet or lower to be acceptable for the precision approach task.  One additional change is that they defined who an evaluator is.  Because the ACS’ use the word evaluator, we should be clear that now means:

  1. An Aviation Safety Inspector

  2. DPE

  3. Flight Instructor with Instrument Airplane rating

  4. Chief Pilot in a 141 school

  5. Check Airman

This could change the way you do an IPC.  Before this change, you could make a case that you, as a CFII, are not an evaluator.  You are required to perform all of the tasks in the ACS for the IPC but not necessarily incorporate the notes in the appendix.  Now you do.  For example, for a non-precision approach, if you include the notes from the appendix, you now have to do one without radar vectors, one that has a procedure turn or course reversal, and one that uses the backup displays or flight instruments.

Everything appears to be the same for the Commercial ACS, except in the Cross-Country Planning section of the ground portion, which includes a Note that says that using an electronic flight plan is an acceptable option. However, this does not appear in the fight segment for cross-country navigation.

For the Flight Instructor Airplane Single Engine, here are the notable changes:

  1. There are two versions of slow flight: one as we do now and one at the slowest possible speed before stalling.  Either can be selected by the DPE.

  2. There is a note in the cross-country planning area of the ground portion that allows the use of an electronic flight plan for explaining, demonstrating, and presenting the flight plan to the DPE.

  3. Secondary stalls are to be performed to full stalls.

  4. Weather theory is not included to be tested if chosen.

There are several more.  My marked-up version of this document is available here.  There are over 50 comments in the markup.

The comment period for these and the rule change has been extended until February 11th.  This is the link to take you there.

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How to maximize your results in an accelerated flight training program

If you are considering attending an accelerated program like CFI Bootcamp’s CFI or CFII course, here are some solid tips to help you get through the program and get the desired result.

  1. Get at least 5 hours of right seat time before you start the program.  This removes uncertainty when you know there is a checkride set.

  2. Get the spin training and endorsement done where you are. This can save a day. A high ceiling and good visibility are needed. Any weather delays can impact your completion date.

  3. Get an honest, thorough flight review.  Make sure you can do all of the private and commercial maneuvers to ACS or near ACS standards,  

  4. Get an IPC if you are doing the CFII.  Getting instrument proficient is a dice roll because the number of days for the CFII is not many.  Delays in training are possible if you can’t get up to speed quickly once you are on campus.

  5. Make notes of any weak areas you or your flight instructor back at home notice.  That helps fine-tune the training for you.

  6. Don’t bring anyone with you or have people come to visit while you are training.  You simply won’t have time to do anything but train.

If you do the six things above, you will be in pretty good shape to have a bit easier time, knowing you are proficient and the right seat mystery is now known. 

Introducing Pathways - CFI Bootcamp’s newest product in development

As an experienced CFI or CFI in training, you will love our latest product, Pathways.  It’s everything you need to teach, track and endorse a student.

It’s like a smart syllabus that you can just use to teach a lesson, grade it out, and record the times, all optional. Then, at the end of each stage, there are checklists that you use, and the correct endorsements will autofill with your student and your name, along with your CFI number and expiration.

All the content to teach either a ground lesson or a flight lesson is pre-loaded.  These are not lesson plans.  They are lessons, complete with images with short prompts on what to teach the student.  The very thing we have been missing in how we teach students.  There is a big disconnect between lesson plans used for a checkride and those we use to teach a student.  We wrote these lessons from scratch, and they fit into a typical ground or flight lesson time.

The instructor version of Pathways doesn’t need an internet connection.  Everything is done on your iPad or even a windows or android device.  You just need Adobe Acrobat!

There is also a student companion to Pathways that lets you log in and see their progress and that they have done the assignments, so they are ready for the lesson.  This part is online so that you can see the progress.

Pathways are coming in Feb/March of this year, 2023.  There will be a video showing it being used in next month's newsletter.  It’s going to really change fight training for the better!

Three Pro Tips for this month

  1. When doing a soft-field takeoff in a 172, there is no checklist procedures in the Normal Procedures part of the POH, right?  The procedure is in the amplified procedures section that follows the Normal Procedures checklists.  It’s under Wing Flap Settings.

  2. In light training airplanes like the Cessnas and Pipers, during an engine failure, full nose-up trim will cause the airplane to be at approximately best glide. (Don’t try this in a Bonanza or Baron - the trim is super sensitive.) Try it on your airplane. Go slow at first.

  3. Close the doors on a 172, except when getting in or out.  Don’t leave them open during preflight.  The doors don’t have stops, so if the wind catches the door, it will slam it against the hinges.  That can cause the hinge to be damaged or even the hinge to shear off of the fuselage.  The hinges are $1600 each.  Fuselage repair on top of that is a lot!

CFI Bootcamp Happy Users

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