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FAA can end ACS logjam, groups say

The April 1 letter, which followed up the industry’s broaching the subject with officials in February, urges the FAA to make the publication of ACS volumes—a key component of a yearslong effort to modernize the training and testing of pilots, mechanics, and other aviation personnel—an agency priority.

The industry’s position is that any perceived barriers to issuing new ACS volumes noted during a 2019 government review of agencies’ rulemaking procedures were removed on March 24 when Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg signed a final rule to end “internal policies and procedures relating to the issuance of rulemaking and guidance documents.”

While the freeze has been in place, the flight training industry and practical test applicants have endured uncertainty about what test standards might apply to some practical exams. Also, the release dates of numerous FAA handbooks that were being reworked to go hand-in-glove with the new ACS volume remained to be determined. 

The letter, which was signed by AOPA and 22 other aviation industry groups and individuals, notes that 12 new ACS volumes await rollout.

The FAA now has a clear path to “take the needed steps to fully implement this policy change by resuming ACS publication on a consistent and predictable timetable. This will serve to deepen the trust and collaboration between community and agency for a truly effective framework, and ultimately result in a safer National Airspace System,” it said.

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