The Airmen Certification Standard (ACS) can be a bit confusing for student pilots among others. Each ACS book, from the private pilot to the Air Transport Pilot (ATP) ACS book, are all written the same.
Here is how it is broken down.
The ACS is broken down in to Areas of Operation, a few examples are:
Airports and Seaplane Base Operations
Takeoffs, Landing, and GO-Arounds
Within each Area of Operation are tasks. Each task in the ACS is coded, and is broken down in to four elements.
PA = Applicable ACS (Private Pilot ‒ Airplane)
I = Area of Operation (Pilot Preparation)
D = Task (Cross-Country Flight Planning)
K3 = Task element Knowledge (Calculating)
CA = Applicable ACS (Commercial Pilot ‒ Airplane)
I = Area of Operation (Preflight Preparation)
B = Task (Airworthiness Requirements)
K3a = Task element Knowledge (Flying with inoperative equipment)
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