Airman knowledge testing almost back to pre-pandemic level

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The updates include revisions to some core training texts and the knowledge tests that draw on their contents, said Christopher Cooper, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs, who participated in a virtual meeting of the FAA’s Airman Certification System Working Group in September.

In a sign of flight training activity bouncing back from its low ebb during the coronavirus pandemic, Cooper noted that monthly knowledge testing volume has recovered to pre-pandemic activity following steep declines this spring and is approximately 90-percent of the activity seen during a comparable period in 2019.

The FAA, responding to the enduring complications of the pandemic, continued its policy of extending the validity of soon-to-expire knowledge tests on October 1 with the issuance of amended Special Federal Aviation Regulation 118-2. The SFAR “recognizes that the inability to complete a practical test at this time may still be outside the applicant’s control due to the available capacity of FAA inspectors or designees who can conduct the practical tests,” the SFAR notes. See the table contained in the SFAR when reviewing eligibility requirements.

Publications expected to be released in 2021 include nine reference handbooks—the list including the Airplane Flying Handbook, with many chapters revised, and an extensively reworked Risk Management Handbook.

Flight instructor candidates preparing to take the Fundamentals of Instructing Knowledge Test should note that the release on May 29 of the revised Aviation Instructor’s Handbook (FAA-H-8083-9B) was followed by the realignment of knowledge test questions on September 28 to reflect the handbook update.

Another round of activating new or revised knowledge test questions is scheduled for December 28.

As AOPA recently reported, you can keep up with the FAA as it updates its training and testing materials by visiting the Airman Testing website and reviewing the What’s New and Upcoming in Airman Testing document that was released on September 11. This AOPA article reported on other important changes in the works.

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