Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS

Private Pilot Certificate












1. Start your training with the applicable FAA ACS or PTS


Private Pilot - Airplane ACS - FAA-S-ACS-6B - Change 1

Private Pilot PTS for Rotorcraft (Helicopter, Gyroplane) - FAA-S-8081-15A with Change 1

Private Pilot PTS for Lighter-Than-Air - Balloon, Airship - FAA-S-8081-17

Private Pilot PTS for Glider - FAA-S-8081-22

Private Pilot PTS for Powered Parachute (PPL and PPS) and Weight Shift Control (WSCL and WSCS - FAA-S-8081-32 with Change 1


2. Then study the applicable Aviation Handbooks and Manuals from the list below:


Aerodynamics for Navy Aviators 

Aeromedical Safety Brochures

Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide

Aeronautical Information Manual

Air Quality Handbook

Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3C)*

Advanced Avionics Handbook

Airship Pilot Manual 

Airship Aerodynamics Technical Manual

Aviation Instructor's Handbook*

FAA-H-8083-30B, Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook – General*

FAA-H-8083-31B, Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook – Airframe*

FAA-H-8083-32B, Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook – Powerplant*

Balloon Flying Handbook*

Balloon Flying Handbook Addendum*

Balloon Safety Tips: False Lift, Shear, and Rotors

Balloon Safety Tips: Powerlines & Thunderstorms

Banner Towing Operations

Glider Flying Handbook*

Glider Flying Handbook Errata Sheet*

Helicopter Flying Handbook*

Helicopter Instructor's Handbook*

Instrument Flying Handbook*

Instrument Flying Handbook Errata Sheet*

Instrument Flying Handbook Addendum*

Instrument Flying Handbook Addendum B*

FAA-H-8083-28, Aviation Weather Handbook

Instrument Procedures Handbook

MC-4 Ram Air Free-fall Personnel Parachute System Technical Manual

Parachute Rigger Handbook (Change 1)*

Changed Pages for Replacement

Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25C)*

Plane Sense – General Aviation Information*

Powered Parachute Flying Handbook*

Risk Management Brochures

Risk Management Handbook (FAA-H-8083-2A)*


FAA-H-8083-21, Rotorcraft Flying Handbook*

Note: This handbook is to be used for gyroplane information only. Disregard any Helicopter information presented. For current Helicopter information refer to FAA-S-8083-21A, Helicopter Flying Handbook.


Seaplane, Skiplane, and Float/Ski Equipped Helicopter Operations Handbook*

Tips on Mountain Flying

Remote Pilot — Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide (FAA-G-8082-22)*

Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Flying Handbook*

Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Flying Handbook Addendum

Weight & Balance Handbook (FAA-H-8083-1B)*


Recreational Pilot Certificate














1. Start your training with the applicable FAA ACS or PTS


Recreational Pilot Practical Test Standards for Airplane, Rotorcraft/Helicopter, and Rotorcraft/Gyroplane (FAA-S-8081-3A)


2. Then study the Aviation Handbooks and Manuals


3. Be sure to review the FAA Sample Aircrew Knowledge Test Questions


4. Check out the appropriate Advisory Circulars




Instrument Rating













1. Start your training with the applicable FAA ACS or PTS


Instrument Rating Airman Certification Standards (FAA-S-ACS-8B)(Change 1)

Instrument Rating Practical Test Standards for Airplane, Helicopter, and Powered Lift (FAA-S-8081-4E with Changes 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5) - for helicopter and powered lift applicants only


2. Then study the Aviation Handbooks and Manuals


3. Be sure to review the FAA Sample Aircrew Knowledge Test Questions


Instrument Rating Airplane – IRA

Instrument Rating Helicopter – IRH


4. Check out the appropriate Advisory Circulars



InFO 15012 dated 9-8-15 - Logging Instrument Approach Procedures (IAP)


Changes to Instrument Rating Cross Country Approach Requirement Notice Number: NOTC2305

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently reviewed two legal interpretation and determined they were overly restrictive. The Glaser (2008) and Pratte (2012) legal interpretations focused on the requirements of an instrument rating under § 61.65.  Specifically, the requirement to use three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems to meet the requirements of § 61.65(d)(2)(ii)(C).  These interpretations inaccurately concluded that an applicant for an instrument rating must use three different kinds of navigation systems to meet these requirements.

On February 28, 2022, the FAA rescinded both the Glaser and Pratte legal interpretations, stating the regulation’s plain language requires three different types of approaches, not three different navigation systems.  Certificated flight instructors (CFI) and designated pilot examiners (DPEs) should be aware that the requirements for an instrument rating may be met by performing three different approaches, regardless of the source of navigation.  

More information is available at:

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Download these tips for your kneeboard, or these flashcards for your next study session

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Airspace Wx_Equip_Entry-reqs.pdf
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ADS-B Rule.pdf
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ASI_PBF_First Contact Briefing Checklist[...]
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ASI_PBF_Kneeboard Quick Reference.pdf
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ASI_PBF_Passenger Briefing Checklist.pdf
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ASI_PBF_Personal Minimums Checklist and [...]
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ASI_PBF_Using the Compassion Call Sign.p[...]
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Wilderness Preparedness.pdf
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Contact Me

Sarah Nilsson, J.D., Ph.D., MAS


602 561 8665


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Legal Disclaimer

The information on this website is for EDUCATIONAL purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. 

While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not YOUR attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.

In no event shall Sarah Nilsson be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential damages relating to this material, for any use of this website, or for any other hyperlinked website.



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