The FAA has published Change 1 to the Flight Instructor Practical Test Standards (PTS) for Rotorcraft (Helicopter and Gyroplane) on March 22, 2016. The change is specific to the helicopter class rating and focuses on a change in the policy concerning the performance of autorotations during the CFI practical test. The updated PTS can be found at the following web address – https://www.faa.gov/training_
The change in policy effects the way the Flight Instructor practical test may be accomplished when testing autorotations. As in the past, instructional knowledge must be demonstrated on the practical test in autorotations, either straight-in or 180°, as per Area of Operation X for a helicopter class rating.
The change in policy states that an examiner may accept, at his or her discretion, a logbook endorsement in lieu of demonstrating these tasks during the practical test. This logbook endorsement must be given by a current flight instructor with a rotorcraft category and helicopter class rating on his or her flight instructor certificate that provided the training and can attest to the applicant’s competence in these tasks. The following areas must be trained, and documented in the endorsement, as evidence of instructional knowledge relating to the elements, common errors, performance, and correction of common errors related to straight-in and 180° autorotations.
This logbook endorsement may be accepted, at the discretion of the examiner, provided the practical test is not a retest as a result of the applicant failing the previous practical test for deficiencies in instructional knowledge pertaining to the elements, common errors, performance, or correction of common errors related to straight-in or 180° autorotations.
In the case of an applicant who was found deficient in these areas, the examiner must test the applicant in the instructional knowledge pertaining to the elements, common errors, performance, and correction of common errors related to straight-in and 180° autorotations. The applicant must provide a helicopter appropriate for performing autorotations if demonstration of this task is required during the retest.
The purpose of this change is four-fold. This change will:
1. Align the policy for helicopter CFI practical tests with airplane CFI practical tests for critical maneuvers.
2. Allows the personnel who are most proficient at performing autorotations (active CFIs) to certify an applicant’s instructional knowledge and proficiency in these high risk tasks.
3. Makes the helicopter CFI a more integral and accountable part of the applicant’s training leading to a higher level of professionalism among CFIs.
4. Greatly enhance safety during the CFI practical test.