In a letter to House and Senate leadership, the aviation community urged Congress to once again fully fund the aviation workforce development grant programs created by the 2018 FAA Reauthorization bill.
The grant program, which officially started accepting proposals in January, was authorized at $10 million a year ($5 million for technician programs, and $5 million for pilot programs) through 2023. But for the funds to actually flow, they must also be "appropriated," a process that is just beginning for fiscal year 2022.
"As the industry begins to recover from the worst economic conditions it has ever experienced, the grant programs are more important than ever," said a group of 42 organizations in a letter to transportation and appropriations committee leadership. "Due to pandemic-related economic disruptions, many seasoned pilots and technicians retired early over the past year. This has only exacerbated the shortage of the skilled personnel the industry needs to operate safely and efficiently."
The initial application period for the FAA grant closed in March. FAA officials indicated that a few hundred applications were received for the two programs. To make up for implementation delays, the FAA is expected to solicit another round of applications later this year.
ATEC Executive Director Crystal Maguire recently joined the team at Jet Blast, an aviation podcast, to discuss upcoming changes to regulations governing aviation maintenance technical education. Check out season 2, episode 10, on Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Thanks to Lee, Andy, and Nathan for inviting us to tell our story, and for providing such an excellent source of information for the business aviation community.
On April 2, the Dept. of Transportation issued a final rule revoking a Dec. 27, 2019 rulemaking entitled "Administrative Rulemaking, Guidance, and Enforcement Procedures" (84 FR 71714). That rule made changes to 49 CFR part 5, the regulation that sets forth procedures for agency rulemaking and guidance documents, and effectively halted publication of FAA airman certification standards (ACS). (See related story.)
The move received broad praise by aviation groups, who saw the regulatory changes implemented in 2019 as impediments to progress since the aviation industry is perhaps uniquely dependent on routine agency updates to guidance and standards to ensure the safety organization is able to keep up as industry evolves.
In a letter praising the move, industry representatives called for quick implementation of the mandate, which the group cited as an important step forward to reestablish a process for ongoing ACS publication and revision.
..."[T]he Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) process used to create and publish current ACS has proven an efficient, effective, and transparent means to manage these standards," said the industry group. "Methods in place provide opportunity for public comment and stakeholder collaboration and continued systematic alignment between regulations, guidance, and testing. This process also preserves the flexibility needed to ensure that certification standards can be regularly revised in a timely way, to support advances in technology."
Imminent part 147 reforms are dependent on the mechanic ACS publication--the new interim final rule directed by congress will require aviation maintenance technical schools to align curriculums with the new standard. Thus, once published, the ACS will not only direct changes to the written, oral, and practical mechanic tests, but also part 147 curriculums.
Previous ATEC webinars have set forth steps the community can take now as it awaits publication of the new rule and certification standard. Most recently, a slate of school representatives shared the results of their respective "gap analysis," identifying shortcoming between their current curriculums (driven by part 147), and future curriculums (driven by the ACS). Hear about their findings and what changes they intend on implementing once the new rule is promulgated--a recorded version of the March 30 webinar and others are available on the new part 147 issue page.
Roanoke, Texas (April 7, 2021) JSfirm.com, an aviation job website, released their Hiring Trends Survey for 2021. Of the hiring professionals, executives, and business owners surveyed, over 50% are projecting growth in 2021. Additionally, 66% of those surveyed did not cut any jobs in 2020, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
• 200 aviation companies across various sectors were surveyed
• 50.84% are projecting moderate growth in 2021
• 32.93% expect to hire in the 2nd Quarter (Apr - Jun) of 2021
• Pilots, maintenance & avionics technicians remain in highest demand
Sam Scanlon, Managing Partner of JSfirm.com, said, “The results of our recent survey are encouraging for the industry. It’s interesting to see how many companies were not affected too much by the pandemic: airlines make the headlines, but the fact is, the small to medium size companies that make up the majority of our infrastructure made it through the past year and are now gearing up for growth.” He continued, “Overall traffic on our website continues to increase from both job seekers and companies - we are anxious to see how the remainder of 2021 plays out.”
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.