In cooperation with Quality Control Management (QCM) a Swiss-approved EASA Part 147 training organization, Aircraft Technical Book Company (ATB/ATB-I) can now authorize FAA part 147 certificated schools as approved EASA testing sites for B1.1, and B2 avionics. (Passing a set of written exams enables A&Ps with 5 years of appropriate experience to add an EASA license to their credentials.)
To qualify as an examination center, schools must hold a Part 147 certificate, have an on-site secured examination room, and qualified examiners (DMEs) to supervise examinations. Opportunities to offer B1/B2 training programs for new students under the QCM approval are also available.
ATB/QCM will assist schools with recruiting and pre-qualifying of applicants, as well as no cost training of your staff to perform these functions.
For more information, contact Andrew Gold at (970) 726-5111.
After publishing its robust maintenance, repair and overhaul market outlook through 2030 in February, ARSA and Oliver Wyman have revised its forecast for MRO activity suggesting the current trajectory for fleet reductions and lower aircraft utilization would reduce global MRO demand in 2020 by over $26 billion, or almost 30%. North America and Western Europe would suffer the largest impact.
Past crises are informing the reduction-in-demand outlook for MROs with independent MROs at most risk.
In the meantime, health officials in partnership with companies are beginning to prepare for back-to-work programs that protect workers while resuming maintenance or production of aircraft. AvWeek has scheduled a podcast with AAR on its return-to-work plans.
While plans remain in flux, back to work could mean daily temperature readings before entering the shop floor, donning personal protective equipment, social distancing and robust cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, according to guidance issued by CDC for aircraft maintenance workers.
The CARES Act, as well as agreements between airlines and unions mean no layoffs for the present, according to AvWeek. Their work, however, will include maintaining aircraft ready for flight and supporting airlines as they shift to cargo operations and shift fleets to ensure continued airworthiness, which presents opportunities for MROs. Concerns have been raised about the contract maintenance workforce and ways are sought to minimize the disruption on the workforce, according to Launch Technical Workforce Solutions.
The industry is seeking further government help but, with Congress in recess, another rapid, short-term fix seems unlikely until mid-May at the earliest. In addition, industry is wondering whether the epidemic will kick-start automation in aircraft production as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul.
FAA Coronavirus Updates
In an effort to provide parents with innovative solutions to educating their children at home, aviation universities and industry have created a plethora of free online programming – including for-credit coursework – for high school students.
The aim is to develop programming not only to show the link between STEM and aviation but to pique youngsters’ interest in aviation. The development of these online programs is a great resource for the industry interested in spreading the word about aviation careers.
Raytheon Technologies created Every-Age STEM helping young people discover their passion for science, technology, engineering and math. Designed to close the gender and racial gaps in the industry, Raytheon’s course is in addition to its work with nonprofits like FIRST, Girls Who Code, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to inspire the next generation of engineers.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced two initiatives as faculty developed online courses that introduce core concepts and offer enrichment activities to help spark young people’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). “Aviation is Your Future,” a free massive open online course, or MOOC, offers an introduction to aviation for children aged 8 to 17. Another initiative that is free to Florida and Arizona high school students offers seven for-credit introductory aviation classes, all available online and none requiring previous college education.
Finally, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association listed several other resources including those from NASA, the Museum of Flight, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and other museums around the country.
Headlines may be about announcing layoffs and furloughs but workforce experts caution how employers do it will determine the likelihood employees will come back. A good employee separation experience will ensure they will want to come back.
Companies recognize workforce is a key asset they need to maintain for business continuity, according to AvWeek Senior Editor Michael Bruno, one of four speakers in the publication’s recent workforce webinar.
During the COVID-19 and the Workforce: Protecting Our Best Assets, speakers indicated employers should be planning now for the return. Sixty-seven percent of attendees indicated they were either working on stabilizing their business or strategizing for return
The big challenge, said PWC People and Change Partner, John Karren, is how industry sustains its current workforce. “They are afraid to let workers go because they might not come back in such a tight labor market. Laying off thousands of workers would mean they might go to other industries. Karren outlined the many steps employers should be taking including establishing return-to-work protocols and training. Cleaning and social distancing will remain important because the 2018 Influenza Pandemic came in three waves.
Bruno pointed to Spirit AeroSystems which is now trying to find jobs for its workforce in other companies in hopes they will remain in Wichita and be available to return once this is all over.
“Talent was always rare, and it is even rarer now if you believe the industry’s future is strong,” said Bruno.
Scott Dratch, chair, Workforce Policy Council, Aerospace Industries Association advised employers to talk to their customers to determine expected production and maintenance workflows and to help develop the framework for returning to work.
"Investing in workforce is still important," said Karren. “How do we invest in workforce as those workplace changes happen,” he asked, adding employers needed to develop strategies on how to invest in the development of their people and what new training will be necessary. How do we shape young professionals who are experiencing their first industry crisis? This is not only how to get them back to work but in getting them back to working differently. This includes not only physical safety but mental safety by using employee assistance programs, adding telemedicine to the benefit package. One company secured a contract with Uber Eats to ensure families are taken care of.”
Dratch said companies are experimenting with adopting new technologies such as augmented reality. Other new technologies will be enabled with 5G and employers need to think about incorporating them into the Post-Covid workplace. Working virtually will be part of the future and companies also need to develop strategies for that, added Karren, who reported productivity has remained high despite working from home.
Dratch advised employers to read a National Defense University paper Weathering the Storm Leading Your Organization Through a Pandemic, calling it an ideal resource for employers.
“In 2013, open jobs numbered just of 19,000,” said Moderator Carole Rickard Hedden, executive editor, Aviation Week Executive Intelligence. “Today it is 55,000 and companies are poaching each other’s employees so there is an increased emphasis on retaining employees. We are seeing young professionals seeking jobs but mostly within their own companies.”
In addition, aerospace companies are very much pressing forward on internships, considered lifeblood of the talent pipeline. Fifty-four percent of webinar attendees plan to honor their job and internship offers.
But that raises other questions, said Karren, such as the development of virtual internship programs that are meaningful and productive.
While delivery of “level 1” part 147 content is relatively straightforward—aviation maintenance instructors are getting very familiar with zoom and other platforms that allow for student-instructor interactions—how are schools providing students with the opportunity to complete lab work needed to graduate their A&P programs? Get information on some online resources, how some are narrowing the scope of what needs to be done in-person vs. remotely, and utilization of real-world experience as a stopgap for part 147 requirements.
The webinar will take place on Friday, April 10, 2020 at 11 AM CT. Registration is free to ATEC members.
Industry Building Momentum To Eliminate Aviation Maintenance Technician Gap, But Opportunities To Fill Pipeline Further Are Clear, Pipeline Report Finds
Industry is making measurable progress developing a sufficient, sustainable pipeline of aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs), but clear opportunities remain that can increase momentum, led by filling available slots in technical schools, a new report on AMT career development finds.
The report was developed from data collected by Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) and includes findings from a broad survey of accredited aviation maintenance technician schools (AMTS). The data was compiled and analyzed before the novel coronavirus pandemic triggered a significant decline in commercial air transport. While the near- and medium- term implications of airline capacity cuts on maintenance demand remains unclear, demand projections made as of February suggest that industry must focus on continuing to fill the skilled-worker pipeline to meet the long-term need for technicians.
The report’s analysis shows that the 7,363 airframe and powerplant (A&P) certificates issued by the U.S. FAA in 2019 were nearly 10% more than in 2018, and the most in 17 years. The industry is attracting more prospective aviation mechanics as well: A&P school enrollments grew by 2% in 2019, the biggest annual jump in five years.
These clear positives show that extensive industry efforts to develop more certified aviation mechanics is paying off, but more needs to be done. Mechanics are still retiring faster than they are being replaced. Industry will need to increase its annual figure of new mechanics by 37% relative to 2019’s figure to meet the projected 20-year demand.
One place to start: filling more slots at technical schools. Despite the uptick in mechanic certifications and A&P program enrollments, two out of every five A&P program seats remain open.
"The report reflects the shortage of skilled workers in aviation and shows that we were just starting to see some positive, longer-term trends developing,” said Crystal Maguire, ATEC’s executive director. “We have been working hard to get this pipeline in the direction it’s going, and this is the first report indicating that many of the things we are doing are taking hold. We can’t forget that there was a shortage prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we can’t lose the people we’ve worked hard to get in the pipeline.”
The report’s other key findings provide more details on the challenge facing industry as more mechanics near retirement, while highlighting opportunities to ensure enough new entrants are coming online to replace them and meet anticipated additional needs. Among them:
The report’s findings suggest that one fruitful strategy will be increasing efforts to highlight aviation technical careers. While the awareness issue was cited by schools of various sizes, smaller schools—which make up the majority of AMTS—are less likely to implement their own marketing campaigns to sell aviation technical programs and post-graduation career opportunities. This spring, ATEC formalized a national campaign to support local recruitment efforts to alleviate some of these barriers. Learn more at www.chooseaerospace.org.
Download the 2020 Pipeline Report and media kit at www.atec-amt.org/pipeline-report.
About ATEC: ATEC is a partnership of aviation maintenance training schools and employers. The council is dedicated to promoting and supporting technician education through its communications, advocacy programs and networking events. To learn more, visit http://www.atec-amt.org/.
An instructor at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics and a student from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance have been named the 2020 recipients of ATEC's most prestigious awards. The annual awards are made possible through partnership with the Northrop Rice Foundation and JSfirm.com, who provide travel reimbursements and cash prizes to recipients.
PIA Educator Al Simon was named the Ivan D. Livi Aviation Maintenance Educator of the Year Award for 2020, while Aviation Institute of Maintenance Student Nicole Cain was named the James Rardon Aviation Maintenance Technician Student of the Year for 2020.
Cain, the fourth AIM students to receive the award since 2000, was cited for academic achievement, involvement in activities that showcase leadership, and other contributions to the school and/or community. As this year’s winner, she will receive free registration, airfare, lodging, and a meal stipend to attend the ATEC Annual Conference in September. Additionally, she will be presented with a plaque and cash award at the ATEC Awards Luncheon.
Cain held a 4.0 GPA throughout her 21-month program, while also providing tutoring to fellow students and regularly leading class projects. As a wounded veteran, she devoted time to the school’s Veteran Resource Center assisting other student veteran’s transition to civilian life. Outside of class, she trained junior mechanics in maintaining the airworthiness of unique aircraft as an apprentice at the Military Aviation Museum where she has been offered a full-time position and is the first intern to convert to employee.
“Her passion for aviation is infectious,” said AIM’s Director of Education Tim Murray. She commits herself to her education, and her apprenticeship. Despite being a single mother and a wounded veteran, Nicole’s dedication to her studies and fellow students is apparent. Our institution, the local community, the organization of Women in Aviation International, and the local veteran population are all the better due to her involvement.”
Nominations for instructor of the year come from across the country to recognize AMT instructors who, either through a single event or over the span of a career, have a direct impact on aviation maintenance students. Simon joins two other PIA instructors who have received the award since 1990.
Simon’s experience began as a 1969 graduate of PIA, after which he began his service in the United States Marine Corps. His civilian career includes positions at Allegheny Airlines and FedEx. Simon is currently in his 20th year of teaching at PIA, continuing to hand down his wisdom and experiences to future technicians.
"Mr. Simon has contributed so much to the education of PIA students over the years,” said PIA Dean of Academic Affairs Jason Pfarr. “We are truly honored that he has spent his career at our institution."
Both Cain and Simon will be honored at the ATEC Annual Conference Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Avotek, scheduled for September 13-16, 2020 in Fort Worth, TX.
The Department of Transportation issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity covering $4.925 million in grants for future transportation research.
Through its University Transportation Centers program, the department seeks research into:
1. Highly Automated Transportation Systems Research;
2. Communications Technology and E-Commerce Effects on Travel Demand;
3. Implications of Accessible Automated Vehicles and Mobility Services for People with Disabilities; or
4. Strategic Implications of Changing Public Transportation Travel Trends.
Only two- and four-year U.S. non-profit institutions are eligible. Read more.
The agency revised a deviation memo, originally released on March 12 (see related post), directing the inspector workforce to provide further relief for part 147 schools electing to provide A&P program content to students online. Download the revised memo.
The original memo limited relief to current program enrollees, stating it should not be used for "new students." The limitation was problematic for schools that do not follow a traditional enrollment schedule, with rolling enrollments happening now or in the near future. The revised memo removes that limitation, and also adds a timeline (30 days after termination of the deviation memo) by which programs must return to "the AMTS standard curriculum" (i.e., for those schools that do not have permanent distance learning authorization, a return to classroom instruction).
Under the original memo, the agency stated that inspectors should approve absentee policy revisions and allow up to 80 hours of absence for a part 147 program. The revised memo clarifies that while missed material must be made available for content missed during the absence, make-up time is not (and never has been) required.
According to agency reports, around 40% of current part 147 schools have taken advantage of the deviation memo and requested approval to deliver content online and/or make a change to their absentee policy. Around 20% of schools have suspended operations, for at least the time being. The remaining 40% have yet to reach out to the agency with a request for online delivery, or suspension notification.
ATEC held an online webinar to educate schools on the memo and to provide resources for taking content online. Listen to the recorded version and see available resources on the COVID Issue Page.
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.