Utah Senator Orrin Hatch made formal inquiry into the status of the anticipated revised proposal for 14 CFR part 147, the regulation governing curriculum requirements for aviation maintenance technician schools.
In addition to the update, Sen. Hatch highlighted the need for a rule that provides more flexibility:
"As you may know, Utah schools are home to many aviation education programs, including those for aviation maintenance technicians. I have repeatedly heard from constituents who wish to have updated, less burdensome regulations for these programs. I share in their concerns that the rule is in major need of an update to keep up with the expanding global aviation sector and modernized aircraft."
The FAA has stated than an SNPRM will be issued in October 2017.
Congressman Gus Bilirakis, representative of Florida's 12th District, joined his distinguished colleagues asking for an update on promulgation of new regulations governing aviation maintenance technician schools.
In his request, Rep. Bilirakis stated, "I am encouraged to see the FAA recognize the need to modernize and reorganize these important regulations in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice No. 15-10) and I believe the FAA should focus efforts to complete the rulemaking process efficiently."
Bilirakis joins Reps. Lamar Smith (TX), Tom Rice (SC) and Jim Bridenstine (OK) in their call for FAA action on part 147. In a Feb. 12, 2016 response to the Rice/Bridenstine letter, Administrator Huerta stated that "the part 147 rulemaking is among the highest priorities for the FAA."
Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21), at ATEC and member Hallmark University's prodding, sent a congressional inquiry asking for an update on the Federal Aviation Administration's rulemaking efforts for part 147, the regulation that governs operations and curriculum requirements for aviation maintenance technician schools.
In his letter, Rep. Smith states: "Part 147 is long overdue for modernization. Schools certificate under the current regulation are mandated by law to teach skills that do not add to the preparation of students pursuing high-tech aviation jobs. Any further delays in modernization will detrimentally affect students and industry." The congressman goes on to request that the agency respond with an expected promulgation date.
This is the second such inquiry made on behalf of the aviation community. Last February, Representatives Tom Rice (S.C.) and Jim Bridenstine (Okla.) sent a letter asking the FAA to make the rulemaking its highest priority. An FAA response stated that was indeed the case, and that the agency is committed to "delivering regulation that encompasses new technology and remains flexible to grow and adapt with the industry."
Update: On Aug. 29, 2017, the FAA responded to Smith's inquiry, stating that "several commentators suggested expanding the scope of [the] proposal to allow for competency-based training and satellite facilities... Because these two topics were not proposed in the NPRM, the FAA is required by law to publish a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) seeking public comment. We expect the SNPRM to be ready for publication later this fall, along with a draft Advisory Circular 147-3... The FAA is aware of the importance of the AMTS rule and will make every effort to expedite its issuance."
ATEC is initiating a grassroots campaign to garner legislative support for expeditious issuance of the new part 147. To support those efforts, ATEC contributed an opinion article to a leading political publication, The Hill. The piece highlights the ever-growing need for a modernized regulation governing aviation maintenance technician training. It will be used to educate lawmakers on the issue during the council's annual Fly-In, held each year in Washington DC.
Read and share the article, found here: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/transportation/345631-aviation-struggles-with-50-year-old-maintenance-training
ATEC officially enlisted Congress in the council’s effort to update 14 CFR part 147. After weeks of development, Representatives Tom Rice (S.C.) and Jim Bridenstine (Okla.) sent a letter asking the FAA to make the rulemaking its highest priority.
To ensure a final rule is issued efficiently, the letter emphasized that the “outdated part 147 mandates hinder the aviation maintenance industry's ability to compete and grow” and encouraged the agency to “continue on the course identified in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.”
The effort to produce a final rule updating 147 is a top priority for ATEC. Stay tuned as the council continues to use every avenue to improve AMTS’s regulatory foundation.
February 2, 2016 update: Administrator Huerta responds to the congressional letter, stating in part "The part 147 rulemaking is among the highest priorities for the FAA. We are committed to delivering regulation that encompasses new technology and remains flexible to grow and adapt with the industry... The FAA will proceed with this rulemaking as timely and efficiently as possible while adhering to the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act."
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