Updated Private and Commercial Airman Certification Standards


Effective June 12, 2017 – Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course updated


FAA recently announced changes to the evaluation standards for slow flight and certain stall tasks in the Private Pilot Airman Certification Standards (ACS) and the Commercial Pilot ACS effective June 12Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course now includes the most recent ACS version.


Slow Flight – FAA maintains that the desired slow flight characteristics can be experienced without intentionally flying the airplane with the stall warning and asserts it would not be appropriate for a pilot to fly the aircraft with the stall warning present and therefore, applicants should not be evaluated in this condition.

The phrasing for the slow flight skill element has been modified to eliminate the specific speed guidance of 5-10 knots above stall speed to read as follows:

Establish and maintain an airspeed at which any further increase in angle of attack, increase in load factor, or reduction in power, would result in a stall warning (e.g., aircraft buffet, stall horn, etc.).


Stalls – To capture the essential components in the evaluation standards, the FAA has modified the knowledge elements for the stall tasks. In addition, the agency has revised the risk management elements for the stall tasks to focus on key considerations for stall prevention and full stalls.

Private Pilot – Airplane ACS, Power-Off & Power-On Stalls. FAA has added a requirement for the applicant to acknowledge the initial indication of an impending stall. The pilot could meet this requirement by simply stating “stall warning” or “buffet.” The element now reads:

Acknowledge cues of the impending stall and then recover promptly after a full stall has occurred.

The FAA emphasizes that as the pilot transitions from the initial indication and acknowledgement of the impending stall, the flight control applications should be smooth and coordinated – not abrupt or rushed – until a full stall is reached and throughout the stall recovery.

Commercial Pilot – Airplane ACS, Power-Off & Power-On Stalls. The FAA has maintained the requirement for stall recovery procedures to be executed at the first indication of an impending stall (e.g., buffet, stall horn, etc.); however, has modified the skill element as shown below to require the applicant to acknowledge the impending stall cues. The element now reads:

Acknowledge the cues and recover promptly at the first indication of an impending stall (e.g., aircraft buffet, stall horn, etc.).


Current versions of the ACS are available at:


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It was his first airplane trip at age seven that made Eric decide to become a pilot. "While boarding the airplane, a flight attendant noticed my interest in the flight deck and urged me to go talk to the pilot. I give a lot of credit to that pilot for my career choice." He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and went on to an airline career. Eric now heads Sporty’s flight school and directs the University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot Training Program. In addition, Eric serves as a Captain in Sporty’s corporate flight department.