FITS: FAA-Industry Training Standards

Classroom Ground School


FITS stands for FAA-Industry Training Standards, which is a training program created by the FAA in order to address the need for change in flight training standards.

Technologically-Advanced Aircraft - TAA

In 2003, the FAA set out to modernize flight training methods after a number of technologically advanced aircraft (TAA) hit the market. The advanced avionics systems in these new aircraft require a certain diligence from pilots.

The flight training standards currently used were created in 1973 - more than 40 years ago - and don't address  today's cockpit management challenges in a meaningful way. The influx of advanced aircraft means that student pilots would be flying the same (if not more modern) systems that are in airliners and corporate aircraft, yet these students aren't always being trained properly or thoroughly for that type of flying.

The FAA decided that rather than introduce a new set of regulations, which would make flying even more restrictive and more expensive than it is already, that the organization would implement a completely voluntary system within the flight training community that addressed the need for training standards to be updated. This new system is called FITS.


FITS is not mandatory -- only highly encouraged. The FITS program takes flight training from a maneuvers-based philosophy to a scenario-based training (SBT) philosophy.

We've known for decades now that most aircraft accidents are a result of human error, but we still focus our training on systematic, rote learning methods without addressing the human element in a valuable way. By incorporating real-world scenarios into flight training, students will hopefully improve upon their decision-making and judgment skills while becoming an active participant in the training environment.

The FITS program is meant for use in TAA training programs, but can be used for any non-TAA program as well.

SBT (and other acronyms)

There are three elements to a FITS program: Scenario-based training, single-pilot resource management and learner-centered grading. These concepts are meant to enhance the FAA's existing syllabi standards, not replace them.


Industry Collaboration

The FAA didn't work alone in creating the FITS programs. Collegiate universities and other professional pilot programs, along with other industry stakeholders assisted with the research and development needed for the FITS program to take flight.

As flight training institutions adopt FITS-based programs into their syllabi, the FAA hopes to see a decrease in human-factors related accidents and incidents. But judgment and decision-making are difficult to teach, and even more difficult to measure in a meaningful way, so these topics can often be a struggle for flight instructors and designated examiners to evaluate.

The bottom line: Teaching, or attempting to teach flight students better judgment and decision-making tactics can't hurt.


Read more about the FITS program
Read more about TAA


Examples: An example of an FAA-accepted FITS syllabus can be found here.

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