Society of Aviation and Flight Educators eNewsletter  
Redbird Migration
Executive Director Resigns
ACS Explained
Recent Master Instructors
1 January 2016

SAFE represents more than 900 of the industry's top aviation educators in 49 states and nine foreign countries, including the majority of Master Instructors and numerous General Aviation Awards winners in all four awards categories. SAFE developed and is now offering Regional Pilot Proficiency Projects across the U.S.


2015 Redbird Migration Notes
Redbird Flight held its sixth annual flight training conference known as " Migration" from November 2-4 in San Marcos, TX.  SAFE was represented at Migration by Board Members Michael Phillips, Ken Wittekiend and Executive Director Bill Moyle.

The conference included outstanding speakers and aviation personalities including Hartzell Propeller President Joe Brown, Redbird Chairman Craig Fuller, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, and John and Martha King.  This year's conference drew 225 attendees from the United States and overseas. 

To view Joe Brown's presentation on a plan for improving recurrent pilot training, go to

Executive Director Resigns

Citing personal reasons, Bill Moyle submitted his resignation as SAFE's Executive Director.  The SAFE Board of Directors thanks Bill for his service to the organization and to our members. The Board will use this transition as an opportunity to review the organization structure to better serve SAFE members.  


It is not too early to consider running for the SAFE Board of Directors in the 2016 election
. Three director positions are voted on annually by the entire SAFE membership.  Any current SAFE member is eligible to nominate him or herself or another SAFE member. More information about the nomination and election process will be forthcoming in SAFE e-News.  

SAFE will have an exhibit booth at SUN 'n FUN, which runs from April 5-10, 2016, in Lakeland, FL.  SAFE members get a discounted admission rate.  Watch for more information in the February e-News.

SAFE members are urged to complete their Member Profile on the SAFE website.  
An important benefit for all SAFE members is our ability to network and learn from one another.  By completing your SAFE Member Profile, you allow other members to learn more about your interests and areas of expertise.    As aviation educators, we have a lot of knowledge to share not just with our students, but also with each other.  

Monthly SAFE Board Meetings minutes are available. Please log in as Member on the SAFE Website, then click  here .

SAFE members are eligible to receive emails of SAFE news, activities, events or membership benefits.  Your email address will NOT be rented or sold, and you may opt out at any time.  To get these aviation education news updates long before the rest of the world, click here.   .  

Check out Fall 2015 Issue of SAFE the Magazine at

Upcoming Transportation R esearch Board Request For Proposals
Or, interested in making some $$?

A Request For Proposals (RFP) for a study to help State and local organizations promote aviation education for 10-25 year olds was released on 30 December by the Transportation Research Board.  Funding is $350,000.  The full RFP can be found here. Proposals are due by 1 March 2016. Work to  begin mid July for a period of performance of 18 months.

Good luck!

SAFE and the New Airman Certification Standards (ACS) Series - Part 1
by Kevin D. Murphy
This is the first of three easy-to-understand articles on the new Airman Certification Standards, which are replacing the venerable Practical Test Standards.  You'll find these articles in each month's SAFE eNews, as well as in the SAFE blog at SAFE Education Opportunities .  


In 2011, SAFE chaired a landmark gathering in Atlanta of major GA stakeholders to discuss lack of growth, decreased student starts, increased student attrition, and flat accident rate trends. [F or more information on this ground breaking symposium, click here -- Ed.]

One of the six projects recommended by this symposium was modernization of the FAA's Training Doctrine and Standards.

The FAA, as an active participant in the symposium, recognized the challenges with the current knowledge tests.  "Unfortunately, many view the knowledge test as deeply flawed because it has historically included too many questions that are overly broad, overly complex, trivial, outdated, and sometimes irrelevant. Consequently, the knowledge test is often regarded as a rote memorization exercise that has no real value for aviation safety education and training, and little (if any) connection to real world operations in today's National Airspace System (NAS)." (*)

Additionally, the sources of information used to prepare for the tests didn't always agree, especially in areas involving risk management.  The FAA appointed an advisory group of SAFE members, GA groups, industry members and government officials to fix the problems.  The new Airman Certification Standards are the result.


The new ACS tells an applicant much more clearly what he or she must know, do and consider to pass both the knowledge and practical tests.  Over the next several years, the Airman Certification Standards will replace today's Practical Test Standards.   

The new ACS adds task-specific knowledge and risk management elements to each part of the former PTS.  The ACS documents are being written now, and eventually there will be one for each certificate and rating.  Draft versions for both the Private Pilot - Airplane and Instrument Rating - Airplane CS are available at 

For checkrides, use of the more-specific ACS documents are expected to reduce subjective judgment on the part of examiners. 


One of the objectives of the ACS system is to make sure study guides and references commonly used by students in preparing for a knowledge test or checkride are consistent not only with test questions, but with each other as well.  So far, the FAA has reviewed the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Airplane Flying Handbook, Risk Management Handbook, Instrument Flying Handbook, Instrument Procedures Handbook, and CT-8080 test supplements.
In the next editions of these and other handbooks and manuals, the FAA will incorporate many industry recommendations to make sure they agree with each other and with test questions.


Of course.  Would the FAA implement anything for pilots that wasn't an improvement?

The skill evaluation requirements in the ACS remain the same as in the PTS, but ACS improves the process by:
  • Better defining knowledge needed and flight proficiency standards (skills).
  • Clearly answers the "why do I need to know that?!" question in each portion of the test.
  • Defines specific safety behaviors instead of the amorphous "aeronautical decision-making."
  • Eliminates duplicate or overlapping tasks in the current PTS.


There is a short ACS brochure with examples of knowledge test subjects keyed to exact references in handbooks here  .  Drafts of both the Private Pilot and Instrument Rating ACS documents are available on the FAA's web site here


The FAA is targeting June of 2016 as the start for the Private Pilot Airplane ACS, as well as the Commercial Pilot Airplane and Instrument Rating Airplane ACS.  Don't be surprised if this date slips however, because this represents a massive change in the FAA's testing system.

The ACSs for Authorized Instructor and Airline Transport Pilot are still in development.

Next month: How will the new ACS change knowledge and flight check preparation for my students?

Recent Master Instructor Designation
Congratulations to this SAFE member!

Burton Loyal "Burt" STEVENS, Master CFI   
Woodbury  CT
Burt Stevens, a 2-time Master and SAFE member, recently renewed his Master CFI accreditation.  Burt is a ground and flight instructor as well as president of the Oxford Flying Club at Oxford Airport (OXC) where he specializes in primary and advanced training.  He also serves as a FAASTeam representative in the FAA's Windsor Locks FSDO area.


Donna Wilt, Chair
Society of Aviation and Flight Educators
Copyright SAFE, Inc. 2016. All rights reserved.
SAFE, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Public Charity -- --