FAA Should Notify Flight Training Industry Before Changing Test Questions

The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) attended an annual review meeting hosted by the FAA Airman Testing Standards Branch (AFS 630) in Oklahoma City. According to the FAA, the purpose of the meeting was to “update and receive feedback from aviation industry representatives and education organizations on the current and future initiatives” of the testing branch.

The FAA recently made numerous changes to its test questions; subsequently, the test failure rate has risen significantly. In preparation for the meeting with AFS 630, SAFE conducted a survey of its members. Ninety-six percent of the 191 respondents were flight or ground instructors, 37% were Master Instructors, and 14% were Designated Pilot Examiners. Respondents had collectively provided more than three-quarters of a million hours of instruction, conducted nearly 12,000 check rides, and been involved in aviation education for a combined 3,600 years. By more than a 2-to-1 margin, these educators feel the FAA should notify the flight training industry before making changes to test questions.

SAFE issued a full report to the FAA that included eight recommendations to modernize and improve written testing. According to SAFE Chair Doug Stewart, “The people at AFS 630 were very receptive to our recommendations, and we look forward to working in partnership with the testing branch in the future.” A copy of the report is available on the SAFE website.

SAFE represents nearly 600 of the industry’s top aviation educators, including the majority of Master Instructors and numerous local and national General Aviation Award winners in the flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and FAA Safety Team categories. SAFE is also chairing the GA Pilot Training Reform Symposium in Atlanta on May 4-5, 2011.


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Rich Stowell (Lifetime Member)

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