It is imperative that a new student be introduced and become familiar with the role of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in aviation. For the new student, this includes introducing him or her to the parts and subparts of 14 CFR that relate to flight training and pilot certification. To be included are pertinent handbooks, the PTS, and any references the CFI determines to be valuable to the student pilot learning experience. For transitioning pilots, the PTS for the helicopter is a key reference. The student should also be introduced to the Knowledge Test Guides that can be found at www.faa.gov.
An online session at the FAA website provides the CFI with an opportunity to introduce the new student and/or transitioning pilot to the many resources now available around the clock. The site has easy-to-access handbooks, regulations, standards, manuals, references, and even online courses. With the advent of the Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (IACRA), the FAA can process airman certification documents via the Internet, interfacing with multiple FAA national databases to validate data and verify specific fields. IACRA automatically ensures applicants meet regulatory and policy requirements and forwards the FAA Form 8710-1 application and test results to the FAA Airmen Certification Branch. [Figure 1-3] While many younger students interface easily with the Internet, a CFI trains pilots of all ages. Ensuring the student is comfortable using the FAA’s Internet resources is part of a good training program.
FAA Reference Material
The reference materials described below, as revised, can be used by the CFI to assemble a handout for the student. An example of such a handout can be found in Appendix A.
- Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25)—provides essential knowledge for pilots as they progress through pilot training. Useful to beginning pilots, as well as those pursuing more advanced certificates.
- Helicopter Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-21)— designed as a technical manual for applicants who are preparing for their private, commercial, or flight instructor pilot certificates with a helicopter class rating. The handbook contains detailed coverage of aerodynamics, flight controls, systems, performance, flight maneuvers, emergencies, and ADM specific to helicopter flight, which makes it a valuable training aid. Helicopters are rotorcraft as are gyroplanes. Gyroplanes and helicopters are the two classes of aircraft in the rotorcraft category. Therefore, to differentiate between the classes of aircraft with different skill requirements, the FAA issues rotorcraft helicopter ratings or rotorcraft gyroplane ratings.
- Instrument Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-15)— designed for use by instrument flight instructors and pilots preparing for instrument rating tests, this handbook is a valuable training aid for CFIs as it includes basic reference material for knowledge testing and instrument flight training. [Figure 1-4]
- Risk Management Handbook (FAA-H-8083-2)— provides tools to help pilots determine and assess each situation for the safest possible flight with the least amount of risk. This handbook presents methods pilots can use to manage the workloads associated with each phase of flight, resulting in a safer, more enjoyable, and less stressful experience for both themselves and their passengers.
- Advanced Avionics Handbook (FAA-H-8083-6)— provides general aviation users with comprehensive information on the advanced avionics equipment available in technically advanced aircraft.
- Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)—Chapter 10 of the AIM includes items that specifically pertain to helicopter operations. The AIM also provides the aviation community with basic flight information and Air Traffic Control (ATC) procedures for use in the National Air Space (NAS) of the United States. It also contains items of interest to pilots concerning health/ medical facts, factors affecting flight safety, etc.
- Airport/Facility Directory—containing information on public and joint use airports, communications, navigation aids, instrument landing systems, very high frequency (VHF) omnirange navigation system (VOR) receiver checkpoints, preferred routes, Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS)/Weather Service telephone numbers, Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) frequencies, part-time surface areas, and various other pertinent special notices essential to air navigation, the directory is now available in digital format at www.faa.gov.
- Practical Test Standards—the Rotorcraft (Helicopter and Gyroplane) PTS establishes the standards for pilot certification practical tests for the rotorcraft category, helicopter, and gyroplane classes. FAA inspectors and designated pilot examiners (DPEs) conduct practical tests in compliance with these standards. Flight instructors and applicants should find these standards helpful during training and when preparing for the practical test. More detailed information can be found at www.faa.gov. Refer the new student to page 3 of the PTS which provides a list of references used to compile the standards under which he or she is tested. This list identifies the publications that describe the various tasks that need to be mastered prior to the test. While explaining the PTS, be sure to review the Rotorcraft Practical Test Prerequisites.
An applicant for the Rotorcraft Practical Test is required by 14 CFR part 61 to:
- Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. (If there is a doubt, use Advisory Circular (AC) 60-28, English Language Skill Standards.)
- Have passed the appropriate pilot knowledge test since the beginning of the 24th month before the month in which the practical test is completed.
- Have satisfactorily accomplished the required training and obtained the aeronautical experience prescribed.
- Possess a current Medical Certificate.
- Have an endorsement from an authorized instructor certifying that the applicant has received and logged training time within 60 days preceding the date of application.
- Also have an endorsement certifying that the applicant has demonstrated satisfactory knowledge of the subject areas in which the applicant was deficient on the airman knowledge test.