On Feb. 15, ATEC submitted comments to draft Advisory Circular 147-3B. The AC provides guidance to part-147 aviation maintenance technician schools on curriculum and operating requirements.
A working group consisting of school representatives prepared the comments on ATEC’s behalf. Members of the working group included--
· Fred D. Dyen, Professor & Coordinator, Aviation Maintenance Technology Program, Blue Ridge Community College
· Ryan Goertzen, President, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
· Paul Herrick, Professor, Aviation Maintenance Technology, University of Alaska Anchorage
· Kevin High, Associate Professor, Western Michigan University College of Aviation
· Charles E. Horning, Department Chairman, Aviation Maintenance Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
· Shannon McGurk, Corporate Director of Education, Aviation Institute of Maintenance
· Andrew Smith, Associate Professor, Aviation Maintenance Management, Kansas State University
The group’s comments suggested several modifications to the draft AC. Generally, the comments sought to ensure consistency with regulatory requirements and that the AC provides best practices and guidance as opposed to imposing new requirements. Specific recommendations included--
· Rewrite of the proposed appendix 11, addressing distance learning, including rejection of the 400 hour limit “imposed” by the AC.
· Modifications to operations specifications sections to ensure consistency with WebOPSS program.
· Removal of the question and answer (Q&A) appendices; specifically, Appendix 3 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding AMTS Certification and Operation and Appendix 4 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding AMTS Operations Specifications. The group noted that the Q&As are outdated and better suited for an online webpage where they can be frequently updated and revised.
· Rewrite of “missed material” section to ensure clarity of regulatory requirements (i.e., missed material availability vs. makeup time).
· Addition of paragraph encouraging dual-enrollment programs with accredited educational institutions.
· Rewrite of Appendix 12, “Letter of Compliance” such that it would provide a reference for both industry and government to ensure an institution’s compliance with the regulation.
The working group’s submission package is available for review at http://www.weebly.com/uploads/1/0/7/5/10756256/atec-ac147-3b-commentsubmission-web-20150214.pdf.
ATEC and the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) have released a new report examining the technical worker shortage facing the aviation industry. The study, Policy Solutions for a Stronger Technical Workforce, was authored by researchers at the College of William and Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy and sheds new light on the challenges of finding, retaining and growing a world-class aviation maintenance workforce.
In the face of expanding global markets and increased demand for a highly skilled, government-certificated labor force, business must overcome the looming retirements of more experienced employees, skill gaps, regulatory limitations on training programs and – most importantly – data sources that are inadequately designed for defining the problem.
In seeking to analyze personnel, certification and education data at the regional level, the researchers encountered a familiar hurdle: frustratingly insufficient data that is often inaccurate and inconsistently captured.
Despite these limitations, as well as the unreliable reporting of national statistics, the analysis made clear that different regions of the United States face varied realities in terms of technical workforce development. As a result, the authors recommend companies and interest groups build strategic partnerships on local and regional levels between employers, educational institutions and community and government organizations.
“This report is all about defining a problem: the desperate need for more qualified, well-trained men and women to funnel into aviation careers,” said Ryan Goertzen, ATEC’s president and president of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology. “To achieve that we must figure out how to really capture what’s going on in the workforce. Incorrect data does not help anyone and masks the real problem facing our industry today: finding skilled workers.”
The regional approach taken by the researchers provides a blueprint for the aviation community to grapple with workforce challenges. “The research team took advantage of some great examples from across the industry to give us this basic roadmap for success: think globally, act locally,” said Christian A Klein, ARSA’s executive vice president. “I know that’s an old, familiar phrase, but it’s especially useful here. The only way for businesses, government and teaching institutions to solve big, daunting national workforce problems is to look in their surrounding communities and get active in a planned, strategic way.”
“We have a passion for aviation, of course, but first and foremost we have a responsibility to our students,” Goertzen continued, speaking of the aviation maintenance training schools represented by ATEC. “We know we’re giving them valuable skills and preparing them for success in a number of technical fields, but for us true success is getting our graduates employed in the aerospace industry. This report is a part of that work.”
On Jan. 24, ATEC lost a very dear friend with the passing of Ivan Livi at age 94. Ivan was one of the council's founding fathers and provided leadership to our organization for more than fifty years. His passion for guiding aviation and maintenance students was infectious and he loved his role on the Northrop Rice Foundation, which gave him a venue to provide scholarships for young men and women to attend our member institutions.
Ivan laid the foundation for ATEC to grow and develop into what it is today. His life - spanning nine decades - is a testament to what can be achieved through dedication, hard work and a commitment to serving others.
Ivan will be greatly missed.
It is now our duty to honor his legacy through our own dedication to the future of the AMTS community and the students it serves. To this end, ATEC is proud to continue its support for the Ivan D. Livi Educator of the Year Award. Recognizing this year's winner at the annual conference will be a special moment: our chance to commemorate the loss of a great man by celebrating the outstanding achievement of a colleague. I can think of no better tribute.
Please feel free to share memories and condolences using the comments form below.
ATEC has prepared comments to the SOC Policy Committee asking it to consider changes to aviation maintenance personnel definitions in its Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The SOC system is used to collect, calculate, and disseminate occupational data on which many statistical analyses rely (e.g., O*NET Online—the foremost resource for career exploration, the census bureau, the government accountability office).
Under the current framework nearly all aviation maintenance professionals are lumped together in one group; ATEC is asking that certificated mechanics, certificated repairman and non-certificated maintenance technicians be tracked separately so that industry may have a more accurate picture of the current labor force in order to address the looming industry-wide personnel crisis. As long as the government is working from improperly defined classifications we can’t even scratch the surface.
We’re soliciting industry feedback on the draft, before asking for signatory support on the final version. Any comments on the suggested definitions, and in particular, examples in support of the need for a revision, are much appreciated.
To review the draft, please click here.
On Jan. 30, ATEC submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request to the FAA seeking the release of every question and answer utilized for the aviation maintenance technician general, airframe and powerplant knowledge test (A&P test).
ATEC has recently received reports of vague, inaccurate or unanswerable A&P test questions. Only a few hundred sample questions are available, a small fraction of the total number in the “test bank.”
Once the questions are made available, the council will ensure industry has the opportunity to review and comment on their accuracy and clarity.
If you have questions or comments or have encountered similar issues with the A&P test, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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