CFI Practical Test Standards: Technical Subject Areas
Technical Subject Areas: 14 CFR and Publications
AC 00-2.15 – Advisory Circular Checklist and Status of Other FAA Publications
The FAA issues advisory circulars to inform the aviation public in a systematic way of non-regulatory material. Unless incorporated into a regulation by reference, the contents of an advisory circular are not binding on the public.
Advisory circulars are issued in a numbered-subject system corresponding to the subject areas of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) (Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter I, Federal Aviation Administration); and Chapter III, Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation, Parts 400-450.
An AC is issued to provide guidance and information in a designated subject area or to show a method acceptable to the Administrator for complying with a related Federal Aviation Regulation.
The checklist is divided into five appendices.
Appendix 1 explains the numbering system.
Appendix 2 lists cancellations that have occurred since the previous issuance.
Appendix 3 gives in numeric sequence the title and issuance date for each circular listed. A brief explanation of the contents is given for each entry. The airplane symbol preceding an AC number indicates that the AC is new or updated since the previous edition.
Appendix 4 lists FAA publications sold by GPO.
You may order the desired publications by using the forms/blanks provided located in Appendix 5
The Code of Federal Regulations is massive. Title 14 covers "Aeronautics and Space," and it has 1,399 sections. CFI Candidates only need to worry about three sections for this oral exam task.
Your examiner should not expect that you've committed all of this to memory. But you should be conversant on the overall subject matter, and you should be able to look up a regulation efficiently. You can bring a printed copy of the FAR/AIM to the practical test. Fortunately, the FARs are online as well.
Civilian pilots working their way up through the Private-Instrument-Commercial training route probably had very little contact with Advisory Circulars during their training. They may have seen them referenced from time to time by flight instructors, but otherwise they were focused on passing knowledge tests — which can be done with the assistance of a retail test-prep book or service.
However, once a Flight Instructor training program is underway, Advisory Circulars become enormously important. This is, in part, because Flight Instructors are expected to have expertise in the regulations, and particularly to understand what actions are considered to be compliant with the regs. This is why Advisory Circulars are so valuable.
AC 00-2, "Advisory Circular Checklist and Status of Other FAA Publications," functions as a table of contents for all other ACs. It also states, up front, why these documents exist:
The ACs themselves are not regulations — we are clearly told that, "unless incorporated into a regulation by reference," we should consider these "not binding on the public."
However, if your intention is to comply with the regs, an AC is the best set of instructions available.
PTS Task II. J, "14 CFR and Publications," specifically notes Advisory Circulars in the inventory of "related publications." If ACs come up during the oral exam, AC 00-2 is a good place to start.
Flight Information Publications: Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)
If you want to keep it simple
Domestic NOTAMs, referred to as D NOTAMs or NOTAM (D), receive distant dissemination (and thus sometimes are referred to as "distant" NOTAMs). Information is disseminated for all navigational facilities that are part of the NAS, and all facilites listed in the Chart Supplement. Examples include such data as taxiway closures, personnel and equipment near or crossing runways, and airport lighting aids that do not affect instrument approach criteria
Pointer NOTAMs are considered a type of NOTAM (D). They are issued to point to additional aeronautical information. Pointer NOTAMs should be issued for, but are not limited to, TFRs, Airshows, Temporary Special Use Airspace (SUA), and major NAS system interruptions.
Flight Data Center NOTAMs, referred to as FDC NOTAMs, are issued by the National Flight Data Center and contain information that is regulatory in nature. This includes changes to charts, procedures, and airspace usage. It also includes Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs).
International NOTAMs and Military NOTAMs are less likely to impact domestic civilian operations.
Details can be found in Chapter 1 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (relocated to Chapter 14 on this website).
To view current NOTAMS, go to https://notams.aim.faa.gov/notamSearch
Flight Information Publications: Misc.
The Chart Supplement (formerly known as the Airport/Facility Directory or "AFD"), is updated approximately every eight weeks. While the information is presented in a compact format, there is a useful key (essentially a training guide) at the front of each book. CFI candidates should refresh themselves on the book's formatting techniques.
VFR Sectionals and Terminal Area Charts should present CFI candidates with little difficulty. Student pilots should understand where the legend is and how to use it. However, the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide is the most comprehensive decoding resource.
"Flight Information Publications" also may refer to the several books that are published and maintained by the FAA, all in the public domain. They are typically available from online retailers, and they can be downloaded for free in PDF format. These books include
NTSB part 830
This information is located elsewhere on this website: Click here.
Practical Test Standards
Now also known as "Airmen Certification Standards" (ACS). Available for free to download, and also as a retail product from multiple vendors. You should know your way around the Private and Commercial ACS, as well as the CFI PTS.
Pilot Operating Handbooks and FAA-approved Airplane Flight Manuals
These have changed over the years, and most pilots who fly small airplanes from the '60s – '80s are familiar with more slender versions than the ones that are published with new GA aircraft nowadays. The order of content is regulated by the FAA, while the content itself is provided by manufacturers and approved by the FAA. CFI candidates must demonstrate instructional knowledge with these publications.
Details can be found in Chapter 9 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.
Practical Test Standards: Flight Instructor
II. Technical Subject Areas
Task J: 14 CFR and Publications
Objective: To determine that the applicant exhibits instructional knowledge of the elements related to the Code of Federal Regulations and related publications by describing:
Flight Instructor Test Questions
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Oral Exam Questions