New Practical Test Standards Now in Effect

Changes to the private and commercial PTS documents may affect the outcome of your flight exam.


The FAA recently published updated practical test standards (PTS) for several certificates, including the private and commercial pilot certificates. While the FAA published these documents last fall, they just came into effect on June 1st. This is significant if you're a flight instructor or a student working on a rating since the examiners are bound by these new documents in their evaluations of flight exams.

About two dozen additional pages have been added to both the private and commercial PTSs. Some items won’t have a great effect on the exam, such as the addition of abbreviations, but others will.

For example, a section called “Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM)” has replaced the much shorter section called “Crew Resource Management.” The SRM section breaks down new objectives that the examiner must evaluate regarding the applicant’s decision-making, risk and task management, situational awareness, controlled flight into terrain awareness and automation management. The SRM section has been added to both the private and commercial PTSs.

Many other additions and revisions have been made to both of these FAA documents. If you’re working on a pilot certificate of any kind, make sure to use the most current PTS that applies to that rating.