The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published the Instrument Rating Airplane Airman Certification Standards (ACS) document to communicate the aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and flight proficiency standards for the instrument rating (IR) in the airplane category, single-engine land and sea; and multiengine land and sea classes. This ACS incorporates and supersedes the previous Instrument Rating Practical Test Standards for Airplane, FAA-S-8081-4.
The FAA views the ACS as the foundation of its transition to a more integrated and systematic approach to airman certification. The ACS is part of the safety management system (SMS) framework that the FAA uses to mitigate risks associated with airman certification training and testing. Specifically, the ACS, associated guidance, and test question components of the airman certification system are constructed around the four functional components of an SMS:
Safety Policy that defines and describes aeronautical knowledge, flight proficiency, and risk management as integrated components of the airman certification system;
Safety Risk Management processes through which internal and external stakeholders identify and evaluate regulatory changes, safety recommendations, and other factors that require modification of airman testing and training materials;
Safety Assurance processes to ensure the prompt and appropriate incorporation of changes arising from new regulations and safety recommendations; and
Safety Promotion in the form of ongoing engagement with both external stakeholders (e.g., the aviation training industry) and FAA policy divisions.
The FAA has developed this ACS and its associated guidance in collaboration with a diverse group of aviation training experts. The goal is to drive a systematic approach to all components of the airman certification system, including knowledge test question development and conduct of the practical test. The FAA acknowledges and appreciates the many hours that these aviation experts have contributed toward this goal. This level of collaboration, a hallmark of a robust safety culture, strengthens and enhances aviation safety at every level of the airman certification system.