After much work and determination on behalf of council members and FAA representatives (see previous story), the FAA part 147 aviation inspector training course is available to industry attendees. The registration fee for the in-person training, held at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, is $241.65. For instructions on how to enroll, visit https://av-info.faa.gov/DsgReg/sections.aspx?CourseID=409. If there is not a course currently scheduled, email ATEC to get on the waiting list.
The course prerequisite, FAA27100162, Intro to Part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools for GA Airworthiness ASIs, is available online for $150. Those who wish to attend the FAA part 147 aviation inspector training course in Oklahoma City are required to take the prerequisite in advance: https://av-info.faa.gov/DsgReg/Sections.aspx?CourseInfoID=384.
On June 15 the FAA released change 460 to the Flight Standards Information Management System, harmonizing inspector guidance with language in Advisory Circular (AC) 147-3B. The revision also institutes FAA inspector part 147 course attendance (also available to industry) and integrates the agency’s new compliance philosophy.
ATEC applauds the FAA for making needed revisions and adopting council-proposed language (see letters here, here and here). Further improvement can be made by removing continued reference to “makeup assignments” which ATEC maintains is not supported by the regulation.
Section 147.31(e) requires that AMTS show how missed material will be made available to students; FSIMS however states that “a student must complete all makeup assignments, class assignments, and exams missed in a module before an instructor can administer any written, oral, or practical test” and that “failure of a student to complete all makeup assignments and material within the school’s approved allotted time period may result in the student being required to repeat that subject” (see Vol. 2, Ch. 12, Section 2, paragraph 2-1449(G)). While some inspectors interpret the provision in the context of school policy and procedures, others seek to enforce prohibitive and prescriptive conditions that misallocate AMTS and agency resources. ATEC therefore requested that the provisions be removed in their entirety.
Even more concerning, the agency added a provision that “instructors cannot use the material from distance learning offerings to make up material missed from a classroom or lab offering, or vice versa.” While there are certainly limitations to what can be virtually taught (i.e., hands-on lab projects, etc.), the assumption that distance learning is substandard to “traditional” forms of teaching flies in the face of innovation, access to education and the good work of joint FAA/industry advisory committees. The manner in which material was originally taught should not dictate how it is subsequently made available, especially when technology provides the opportunity for unrestricted access.
ATEC will continually engage with its FAA counterparts to ensure internal government documents work in concert with the plain language of the regulation. Members are encouraged to submit feedback on this and other regulatory compliance matters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A red-lined document outlining the specific changes in FAA Order 8900.1, Vol. 2, Ch. 12, Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3 and Vol. 6, Ch. 10, Section 1 is available here.
An FAA/industry working group is creating an airman certification standard (ACS) that will replace current mechanic testing standards (see previous stories here). Members that are helping to develop mechanic test standards include:
The first draft ACS, dictating general knowledge and skill testing standards is available for industry comment.
The draft ACS was created over the course of several weeks and is a compilation of the general practical testing standard (FAA-S-8081-26A), the general knowledge test guide (8082-3A), the FAA “oral and practical test generator”, and the 2009 part 147 aviation rulemaking advisory committee recommendation (see page 69).
The steps taken to create the draft ACS is memorialized in the May and June working group meeting minutes; those seeking additional information on the inclusion or exclusion of particular subject areas should reference those minutes or contact a member of the working group.
Send edits, comments and recommendations to email@example.com by July 8.
By: Jackie Spanitz, Curriculum Director, Aviation Supplies & Academics
An FAA and industry working group are currently developing new airman certification standards (ACS) which will replace current practical test standards (PTS). The ACS will dictate the knowledge and skill needed to obtain an FAA mechanic certificate, including those tested through both the oral and practical (O&P) and written exams. The purpose of the new ACS is to ensure applicants, educators and evaluators understand what the FAA expects an applicant to know, consider, and do in each phase of the certification process.
The first ACS was initiated in 2011 as an effort to fix the pilot knowledge tests. With many questions that seemed outdated, irrelevant and more “tricky” than “meaningful,” test preparation became an exercise in memorizing correct answers solely for the purpose of passing the test. The first ACS for Private Pilot Airplane and Instrument Rating Airplane applicants is effective June 2016.
Given the similar challenges presented in mechanic certifications, the pilot working group was expanded to include maintenance. Once the mechanic ACS is established, an FAA/industry review board will evaluate all general, airframe and powerplant knowledge exam questions against the ACS. If a question no longer “fits” (because it is not relevant, meaningful, or current to today’s technologies, regulations and practices), it will be rewritten or tossed. New questions will be written consistent with the ACS. In this way, the ACS will serve as guidance for the test writers, ensuring applicants are tested on subjects that really matter to safe maintenance operations.
ATEC has a big role in developing the new ACS, get involved to ensure your curriculum and training guidance remain aligned with the FAA testing standards. You can also visit and subscribe to the FAA airman testing web page to stay informed of FAA activities.
Jackie Spanitz is curriculum director for Aviation Supplies & Academics (ASA, Inc.). She has participated on all three of the committees that worked on the ACS development over the last five years. Having spent over 20 years working with FAA knowledge exams and documents, she is grateful to her industry and FAA colleagues who have worked so diligently to improve the training and testing environment. Questions? Contact her at Jackie@asa2fly.com
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.