FAA Removes Requirement of Demonstration of Complex Aircraft on CFI Initial and Single-Engine Initial Commercial Pilot Practical Tests

Today the FAA published FAA Notice N8900.463 which specifically addresses a change in policy in the Commercial Pilot ACS and the CFI PTS documents to allow for completion of a practical test without requiring demonstration of a complex aircraft on certain tests.

This represents a significant change of interest to flight training providers. While the changes to the ACS and PTS documents in no way (at this time) eliminate the regulatory requirement for training toward a rating or certificate in a complex aircraft or the completion of an endorsement for such a certificate, it does eliminate the requirement to bring this type of an aircraft with for a practical test. The change allows greater flexibility for training providers to utilize different aircraft in the completion of “complex aircraft training” or endorsements during the training that will not be required to be used on a practical test.

It is important to note that, “There is no change to the complex airplane training and endorsement requirements of § 61.31(e) or to the commercial pilot aeronautical experience requirements of § 61.129(a)(3)(ii) or part 141 appendix D.”

The changes are only applicable to the demonstration requirements that now previously required the demonstration of use of a complex aircraft on single-engine initial CFI and Commercial practical tests.

This restriction is specifically directed at the use of “single-engine” aircraft during a practical test. Of note, the FAA highlighted that, “the FAA finds that no longer requiring an applicant to provide a complex airplane for the initial commercial pilot with an airplane single-engine rating practical test or a flight instructor with an airplane single-engine rating practical test will not result in a decreased level of safety.”

The two new ACS/PTS documents can be found at the following links:

CFI PTS Effective April 24, 2018 –

Commercial Pilot ACS Effective April 24, 2018 –

Training providers, DPEs, and applicants are advised to review these changes before any future practical tests. The changes that were made became effective immediately upon publication.

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About Jason Blair

Jason Blair is an active single and multiengine instructor and an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner with over 6,000 hours total time, over 3,000 hours of instruction given, and more than 3000 hours in aircraft as a DPE. In his role as Examiner, over 2,000 pilot certificates have been issued. He has worked for and continues to work with multiple aviation associations with the work focusing on pilot training and testing. His experience as a pilot and instructor spans nearly 20 years and includes over 100 makes and models of aircraft flown. Jason Blair has published works in many aviation publications with a focus on training and safety.

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