Yesterday, the FAA sent out an email notifying all Certificated Pilots (including Remote Pilots) of some upcoming changes that may impact how we take FAA Certification Exams.
According to the email sent out by the FAA, “One of the most important changes is the requirement that all applicants obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile prior to registering for a knowledge test.”
What is an FTN Number?
The FAA Tracking Number (or FTN) is exactly what it sounds like; a number assigned to you by the FAA that stays with you throughout the course of your aviation career. It allows the FAA to quickly and easily manage all of the training, testing, and certifications that you have completed. If you have been issued an Airman Certificate previously, you already have an FTN whether you realize it or not. Even mechanics have one. The FTN isn’t new; it’s been around for some time. The major difference is that it is now necessary to have one before scheduling your exam.
All Remote Pilots received an FTN when they registered with IACRA to apply for your Certificate. Many Remote Pilots take this step after they complete their Part 107 Knowledge Exam (UAG). The major difference moving forward is aspiring pilots will have to register with IACRA prior to registering for the exam. This will get them an FTN which they must provide to PSI when scheduling the test. This is an improvement over the current Applicant ID system which includes a mixture of the applicant’s name and birthdate. The FAA believes that the new system should help reduce processing times and eliminate clerical errors that occur when names do not exactly match between FAA records and government-issued ID’s used to verify identity when testing.
Changes to the Airman Knowledge Test Report (AKTS)
In addition to the new FTN requirement, changes are also coming to the Airman Knowledge Test Report (AKTS). The AKTS is the grade sheet you receive after taking an FAA exam. This provides you with your score as well as a list of ‘Learning Statement Codes’, a vague list of numbers and letters that can be referenced here to help you get a general idea of what topics you got wrong.
These Learning Statement Codes will be replaced by references to the Airman Certification Standard (ACS) which should provide students greater clarity about what questions they missed on the exam.
In addition to this the following changes will also be made to the AKTS:
- No embossment or raised seal.
- Printed FTN on AKTR in replacement of the Applicant ID number.
- The ability for the applicant to reprint lost/destroyed AKTRs from the testing vendor’s website.
What Else is Changing?
These changes are part of a new airman knowledge testing contract called the Airman Certificate Testing Service (ACTS); designed to ‘provide a comprehensive, best practices approach to enhance the overall quality of FAA Airman Knowledge Testing.’ The FAA suggests that we can expect changes in the development, assessment, maintenance, and delivery of airman knowledge tests as well as ‘enhanced knowledge test items’, knowledge tests, and supplementary material with automated state-of-the-art technology and academic expertise.
Exactly what that means is still unclear but there is one very welcome change that we can expect as part of the rollout. The following is a quote from a notification on PSI’s website (emphasis mine):
On Monday, January 13, 2020, PSI Services LLC will close this website and replace it with a new FAA Airman Knowledge Test (AKT) registration site that includes online scheduling.
You read that right; After years of having to call in, wait on hold, and then give your credit card number over the phone, Remote Pilots will soon be able to schedule their exams online! Please join us in welcoming PSI and the FAA into 2005!!
When Do These Changes Take Effect?
You will need to have your FTN prior to registering for any FAA Airman Knowledge Test scheduled on or after January 13, 2020. This includes both initial (UAG) and recurrent (UGR) exams, so if you need to get recurrent after that date, make sure to check IACRA to get your FTN before you schedule.
More info about the Airman Certificate Testing Service (ACTS) can be found here.
If you’re not yet a Part 107 Remote Pilot, you can get started on our Part 107 Prep Course for just $1.07! We will walk you through getting your FTN and everything else you need to know to pass the Part 107 Exam!