Washington, DC – An amendment submitted by Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Bill Keating (R-MA) to H.R.4, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization, passed the House of Representatives. It is expected that H.R. 4 will pass the House later in the week.
The Ryan-Keating Amendment would direct the FAA to lead coordinated efforts between government, educational institutions, labor organizations, and the private sector to regularly evaluate workforce priorities and ensure aviation maintenance training programs are preparing the next generation of the aviation workforce to fill the types of jobs the industry needs. According to Boeing, from now until 2036, North American commercial airlines will need over 100,000 new technicians. An example of the type of institution that is preparing new technicians to meet this urgent industry need and would benefit from the amendment is the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics - Youngstown and Warren Campus.
The Ryan-Keating Amendment also directs the U.S. Government Accountability Office to make evidence-based recommendations on how to best strengthen and expand aviation training programs by addressing public funding, equipment, and other needs.
“I am pleased that our amendment to strengthen aviation technician training was included in the FAA reauthorization bill. This legislation will be beneficial to programs across the United States, including at Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics - Youngstown and Warren Campus by better preparing enrolled students to fill the jobs that are needed by the aviation industry. Public-private partnerships are critical to our long-term economic success, and this new collaboration between government, educational institutions, and the private sector will be a shining example of what we can do when we come together to transform our economy, and our communities,” said Congressman Tim Ryan.
“As the scarcity of aviation personnel becomes ever more critical, aviation maintenance educators are encouraged by the proposed Ryan-Keating Amendment, which would provide the necessary coordination among all parties impacted by this labor shortage. In order for technical schools like Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics – Youngstown branch campus to attract students into this highly specialized field which often escapes the notice of the traveling public, we must be able to provide students with the best possible educational facilities, updated equipment and technology which mirrors the aircraft systems currently in use, a means to inform youth and displaced workers about aviation careers, ample flexibility by the FAA to ensure the most current and effective course content and delivery, and funding for students in educational programs which support the future aviation workforce,” said Suzanne Markle, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics.
“There are good union jobs out there for the taking and we need to make sure our people are trained and ready to fill them,” said Congressman Keating. “Aviation maintenance is a field where we know high-skilled, well-paying jobs will be available in the near future and with aviation safety constantly evolving, programs like the ones at Cape Cod Community College need to have our full support. It is so important that Cape Cod Community College and others have spearheaded these programs with their limited resources to prepare our students for these jobs. We need to do our part to make it easier for these programs going forward so that even more can emerge around the country and so that current programs can access the information and resources they need to keep up with industry needs so our aviation maintenance program graduates are ready to hit the ground running.”
On April 13, a coalition of aviation industry organizations delivered a letter to the FAA seeking objective criteria for adding and reviewing paragraphs to any certificate holder’s operations specifications.
The letter was coordinated by the Aeronautical Repair Station and sent to Flight Standards Service Executive Director John Duncan. It described a series of issues related to the government’s failure to differentiate between air carrier and air agency certificates in applying operations specifications paragraphs. The signatories noted that the agency lacks defined standards for the working group advising on promulgation of these paragraphs under 14 CFR part 119, which includes air carriers and commercial operators, but does not seek any kind of industry input from repair stations or other air agency certificate holders.
The timing of the group’s submission takes advantage of language in this year’s omnibus appropriations bill signed into law in March. The legislation included a provision restricting the FAA from promulgating any operations specification, policy or guidance that imposes more burdensome restrictions than those defined in the rules. The letter was delivered “to assist the agency in complying with the congressional mandate.”
Specifically, the letter suggests the agency establish a committee of government and industry personnel that would review the FAA’s management of operations specifications for every type of certificate holder. The regulatory experts on the new body would establish criteria for promulgation of new paragraphs and review existing ones to ensure currency and consistency with specified regulations.
“The legislative language was a helpful reference for encouraging the agency to act,” said ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod, noting how the provision in the spending bill coincided with an already-developing effort to address the issues outlined in the letter. “The truth is that the regulators shouldn’t need Congress to tell them to apply objective standards. Regardless of what the law says, the FAA can and should coordinate with the industry to make sense of how it applies operations specifications paragraphs.”
To read the full letter, click here.
In addition to ATEC, the letter was signed by:
Aircraft Electronics Association
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Airlines for America
Aviation Suppliers Association
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Helicopter Association International
Modification and Replacement Parts Association
National Air Carrier Association
National Air Transportation Association
Regional Airline Association
The Boeing Company
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
MOOG Aircraft Group
This spring, the ATEC board of directors elected new leadership. In furtherance of the council succession plan, ATEC Treasurer and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Associate Professor & Department Chairman Charles Horning was elected to serve as vice president, and ATEC Vice-President and Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics Campus Operations Director Gary Hoyle will serve as president. Two-term ATEC President and Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology Vice President of International Business Development Ryan Goertzen will remain on the board as immediate past president.
At the ATEC Conference, Mr. Hoyle formally recognized Goertzen for his contributions to the council. During his term, the council quadrupled its operating budget and increased membership by 30%. Under his leadership, the council adopted a three-year strategic plan, established its annual workforce report, institutionalized an annual legislative Fly-in, and positioned itself as the voice of aviation maintenance education.
Hoyle also recognized the service of Kansas State University – Salina Professor Andrew Smith. Smith served numerous terms as director, and was long-time chairman of the regulatory committee. Last year, he was recognized as ATEC Educator of the Year.
Nominations for ATEC Board directorship are considered in the fall, in conjunction with the ATEC Fly-in. Interested nominees should review the duties and responsibilities as here. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 1.
FAA Flight Standards Service Executive Director John Duncan, Director, Office Safety Standards Rick Domingo and Director, Flight Standards Service Larry Fields provided a policy briefing at the 2018 ATEC Annual Conference. During the question and answer portion, attendees posed the following question: How do I best educate my students on the new part 23?
The new performance-based rule, governing airworthiness standards for general aviation airplanes, went into effect last year. The long-awaited change replaced previous prescriptive design requirements, with a performance-based approach that relies on consensus standards. The forward-thinking regulatory approach allows for greater international harmonization and encourages innovation.
While the new rule was a welcome change, educators were faced with challenges when 1) the knowledge test wasn’t revised in time for the part 23 effective date, students still see questions on the previous rule’s prescriptive airworthiness requirements and 2) very few specific requirements in part 23 left some educators struggling with how best to teach the material.
Following the conference, FAA representatives coordinated a plan to address the issue. The FAA testing standards branch has prioritized review of all part 23 test bank questions. Questions based on historical part 23 regulations will be revised or deleted. Applicants should expect the written test to be in line with the current rule by the June test roll. In the meantime, applicants should still be prepared to answer part 23 questions based on the historical regulation, accessible at eCFR.gov (the old part 23 is available in the library of historic e-CFRs here).
In addition, the agency has agreed to provide a summer webinar on “teaching to the new part 23.” Educators can get an overview of the new rule, better understand the intent of performance-based regulations, and how they can be best incorporated in a training program. Stay tuned for the date and registration details.
After almost a year in limbo, FAA reauthorization legislation is on the move again on Capitol Hill. The FAA bill is important because it provides several years of budget authority for the agency and establishes policy priorities. The agency has been operating under a series of short-term extensions since the last multi-year bill expired in September of 2015.
Industry is angling to include a provision in the bill that would establish a new program to attract and train the next generation of aviation maintenance workers. The legislation would authorize $5 million dollars per year for a new grant program to incentivize collaboration between businesses, labor organizations, schools, and local governments to address the aviation technical workforce skills gap.
The workforce language was introduced as a stand-alone bill (S. 2506) in the Senate last month by Senators James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). A House companion bill is expected to be introduced this week, an industry coalition will be working to add it to the underlying FAA bill when it goes to the House floor the week of April 23.
Those interested in becoming more involved in the effort to enact S. 2506, should contact coalition leader and Aeronautical Repair Station Association Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein at email@example.com.
As ATEC members well know, the FAA is in the process of replacing the Aviation Mechanic General, Airframe, and Powerplant Practical Test Standards (PTSs) with a single Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Airman Certification Standard (ACS).
The ACS is an “enhanced” version of the PTS that will connect standards to guidance and test questions, provide a single set of standards for the AMT airman knowledge, oral, and practical tests, and tell the applicant, instructor, and evaluator what the FAA expects AMT applicants to know, consider, and do to earn an FAA AMT certificate with Airframe and Powerplant ratings.
For now, the AMT PTS (FAA-S-8081-26A, -27A, -28A) remain in effect; and applicants, instructors and evaluators should continue to use the current PTS for the oral and practical tests.
The agency published a draft version of the AMT ACS so stakeholders may familiarize themselves with the new document and provide feedback.
The final version of the AMT ACS is expected to be effective June 2020. The draft document is available at https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acs/.
Comments are due to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 31, 2018.
Southern Utah University (SUU) petitioned the FAA for an exemption from part 147 seat time and general curriculum requirements. The University requested that it be allowed to utilize emerging airman certification standards as the basis for its new A&P program curriculum.
In its comments, ATEC voiced its support for "any innovative solution that will enable AMTS to provide quality programs, despite static curriculum requirements that do not reflect the needs of today’s employers."
Council representatives have long fought for a new part 147. If successful, the petition would provide an alternative path for schools to cater their A&P programs to local employer needs. A summary of the council's part 147 advocacy efforts are available at http://www.atec-amt.org/part-147.html.
Public comments close April 18. The petition is available at www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FAA-2018-0215.
CA2VES, an NSF ATE Center housed at Clemson University, produces curriculum disseminated through its online learning platform, EducateWorkforce.
Program administrators are looking for feedback on content and efficacy; as such, AMTS are invited to take part in the CA2VES Spring 2018 pilot program, free of charge. Pilot participants will have access to the online materials to supplement current curriculum.
Courses included in the Spring 2018 pilot include: Mathematics; Basic Physics; Basic Electricity; Materials, Processes and Hardware; Aircraft Drawings; Hand Tools and Measuring Devices; Inspection Fundamentals; Fluid Lines & Fittings; Aircraft Weight & Balance; Cleaning & Corrosion Control; Mechanic Privileges and Limitations; Safety Ground Operation, Servicing; Maintenance and Pubs, Forms and Records.
For more information and sign up, visit mailchi.mp/2ee73c77ac49/faa-part-147-online-modular-curriculum-pilotspring-15611933.
Stay tuned for updates on everything ATEC members need to know as well as ways that you can help the council and the AMTS community.