When the FAA Reauthorization Bill H.R. 302 is signed into law, ATEC and its industry allies will have successfully secured a congressional mandate for a fast-tracked new part 147.
The directive in section 624 of the reauthorization bill currently reads:
(a) REGULATIONS.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall issue a final rule to modernize training programs at aviation maintenance technician schools governed by part 147 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations.
(b) GUIDANCE.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall coordinate with government, educational institutions, labor organizations representing aviation maintenance workers, and businesses to develop and publish guidance or model curricula for aviation maintenance technician schools referred to in subsection (a) to ensure workforce readiness for industry needs, including curricula related to training in avionics, troubleshooting, and other areas of industry needs.
(c) REVIEW AND PERIODIC UPDATES.—The Administrator shall--
(1) ensure training programs referred to in subsection (a) are revised and updated in correlation with aviation maintenance technician airman certification standards as necessary to reflect current technology and maintenance practices; and
(2) publish updates to the guidance or model curricula required under subsection (b) at least once every 2 years, as necessary, from the date of initial publication.
(d) REPORT TO CONGRESS.—If the Administrator does not issue such final rule by the deadline specified in subsection (a), the Administrator shall, not later than 30 days after such deadline, submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report containing--
(1) an explanation as to why such final rule was not issued by such deadline; and
(2) a schedule for issuing such final rule.
In November 2015, the FAA issued a part 147 notice of proposed rulemaking. ATEC submitted extensive comments, supported by a coalition of allies, calling for a less-prescriptive rule that would allow for competency-based programs and the freedom to cater training to industry needs.
In September 2017, the FAA announced its intention to issue a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM), which suggests that the proposed rule had been substantially changed in response to comments received. The public is still awaiting publication of the supplement. Government officials have indicated it will be published by year end.
Once the supplement is published, the public will have 2-3 months to comment, and the agency will take some time to adjudicate those comments before issuing a final rule.
Given what still needs to be done before a new part 147 is promulgated, it is unlikely that industry will see a new part 147 in six months as the law will direct. However, the congressional directive should ensure that the agency makes the rulemaking a high priority and help fast-track it through the regulatory process.
Given the law will also direct the agency to consider imminent mechanic airman certification standards (ACS) for program development; it would behoove program administrators to begin reviewing that draft document with an eye toward curriculum revision (the latest and future revisions of the draft document will be available at www.atec-amt.org/airman-certification-standards).
The final ACS is expected to publish in June 2019, with a June 2020 implementation date. The agency will work with industry representatives to revise the document periodically thereafter. Once published, the working group will make recommendation that the ACS not be revised for at least two years to give schools time to adapt to the change.
Since it is possible that we will not have a new part 147 before the ACS is published—even with the congressional mandate—schools will need to ensure compliance with the regulation while also adequately preparing A&P grads for the FAA mechanic test, which will be based on the ACS.
The legislation also calls for the agency to develop guidance material or model curriculum to aid program development. ATEC expects draft guidance will be issued along with the SNPRM and look forward to making extensive comment to that document to ensure alignment with the ACS.
At its September board meeting, the ATEC board moved a slate of directors vetted and recommended by the nominating committee. The council is happy to welcome the newest additions to the board--
Nominating committee members interviewed all candidate recommendations received in response to ATEC’s call for nominations this summer. Directors were chosen based on specified qualifications, and to ensure each sector of the industry and/or aviation education is represented on the board.
The council is deeply indebted to 2018 departing directors Ron Donner, Amy Kienast and Debbie Wiggins. Ron and Amy were long-time volunteers, serving as communications and annual conference chairs, respectively. Debbie served on the board on behalf of Aviation Institute of Maintenance since 2016.
Last Saturday, Congress published a five-year FAA reauthorization bill expected to pass both chambers. To the delight of the aviation maintenance community, the bill contains an entire title focused on workforce development, including a directive to create a federally-funded grant program (see related story) and a provision that will require promulgation of part 147 within six months (see related story).
An excerpt of all workforce provisions contained in H.R. 302, Title VI—Aviation Workforce are available here. To summarize--
The agency has released 2018 versions of the following handbooks--
The handbooks are part of a series directed at persons preparing for certification as an airframe or powerplant mechanic. The latest version replaces 2012 editions. Thanks to those ATEC representatives that provided comments on ways to improve the newest revision.
Comments regarding this publication should be sent to AFS630comments@faa.gov.
The ATEC Journal (ISSN 1068-5901 (Online)) is a peer-reviewed, biannual electronic publication. The publication provides an opportunity for educators, administrators, students and industry personnel to share teaching techniques and research. Authors are encouraged to submit their articles for publication consideration, whether scholarly, research, application, or opinion, by utilizing the submission form at https://www.atec-amt.org/the-journal.html.
Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
All submissions must be original work and not previously published. It is the author's responsibility to ensure the work isn't published in another publication. Additionally, the paper must be free of spelling and grammatical errors, and provided in an easily readable and editable format (Microsoft Word preferred) in accordance with the American Psychological Association (APA) style guide.
Additional Criteria for Academic Articles
Additional Criteria for 'A Word from Industry' Op-Ed Articles
Submission deadline is October 1, 2018 at https://www.atec-amt.org/the-journal.html
Questions or information, contact ATEC Journal Editor Karen Johnson.
Helicopter Foundation International (HFI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, annually offers up to 19 scholarships to help support students studying to become part of tomorrow’s helicopter industry. Maintenance scholarship opportunities include:
Bill Sanderson Aviation Maintenance Technician Scholarship
Maintenance Technician Certificate Scholarship
All applications must be submitted by midnight EST, November 30, 2018. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and to apply, visit helicopterfoundation.org/scholarships.
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.