Keeping up with the latest and greatest!
So you’re probably going to be a commercial pilot for many years to come. And as time goes by it is inevitable that things WILL change, especially in the rules we follow as pilots.
There are a couple good ways to keep up on the changes and be able to show the examiner that you not only know where to go for reference material now as a commercial applicant, but also in the future to maintain your proficiency and currency. Let’s take a look at the different ways and places you can look to keep up to date!
New Proposed Rules and Changes in Aviation
Check out regulations.gov, specifically the link below that shows you all of the proposed changes and rules up for comment and debate right now. The link below shows you anything the FAA has submitted as proposed rule changes, from Airworthiness Directives to Airspace changes, and more.
Advisory Circulars are produced to help pilots interpret rules and elaborate on topics that the basic title 14 CFR leaves out (note Title 14CFR is the appropriate name to call the “FARs”, Federal Aviation Regulations don’t really exist, simply Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations is what governs aviation).
AC’s are broken up into several categories with prefix numbers shown below (i.e. an AC numbered 61-65f would deal with airmen certificates):
- AC 00+: General
- AC 20+: Aircraft
- AC 60+: Airmen (certificates)
- AC 70+: Airspace
- AC 90+: ATC and General Operating Rules
- AC 120+: Aircarries and Commercial Ops
- AC 140+: Pilot and AMT Schools, Repair Stations
- AC 150+: Airport Information
- AC 170+: Nav Facilities
- AC 210+: Aeronautical Charts and Flight Information Publications
Where do you find the latest advisory circulars? Go to faa.gov or use this link: https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/
The Newest Forms
Not only do you of course need to be using the latest version of forms when submitting anything to the FAA, seeing what the latest forms published or updated are gives you great insight into what exactly is changing in the aviation industry.
Using the link below, you can see all of the latest forms to be published and updated in date order.
The Latest Handbooks and What Has Changed
Think about all the awesome publications that FAA puts out every year from the PHAK to AFH, and more. If you’ve never read these handbooks, I’d highly recommend you give them a look (lot’s of great material and illustrations in there). For you as a commercial pilot, it will be important to know exactly what is changing and when. To keep up on that, use the link below to view the list of FAA handbooks and their latest revision dates. When you see a book that has been revised, go ahead and open it up and take a look at the first few pages. You will find a page labeled “record of changes” that will spell out exactly what has been updated so you do not have to go reading the entire book all over again! Take a look at this PDF HERE and see if you can find the record of changes in the first few pages….
What the FAA is supposed to be doing….
With all these things changing, you may one day disagree with how the FAA is handling something (from a ramp inspection to request for an LOA or your Part 135 application so you can go fly freight). Well if this is the case with you, there is somewhere you can go to find the exact instructions that FAA Safety Inspectors follow in all of their duties. This system is called FSIMS (Flight Standards Information System) and makes it easy to search FAA Order 8900.1 (the document that gives instructions to an inspector for their duties). You can search this document and find how part 141 flight schools are to be inspected and approved, how investigations are conducted, and even how a safety inspector should conduct a checkride if they are doing it rather than a DPE. Literally, everything an FAA safety inspector does is in this document, and it can be very advantageous for you to be familiar with it!