ATEC Publishes Annual Pipeline Report: Downturn Hampered Mechanic-pipeline Grown Trajectory, But Doesn't Shift Long-term Needs
Strong momentum at the front of the mechanic pipeline in 2019 was slowed by the historic industry downturn, but the long-term need for more skilled technicians has not changed, says a new report from the Aviation Technical Education Council (ATEC). This, the 2021 Pipeline Report adds, increases the urgency to the already-established priority of ensuring the pipeline is leveraging all available resources, including capacity in aviation maintenance technician schools (AMTS).
In 2020, the FAA issued 30 percent fewer airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic certificates than it did the previous year—a devastating drop given the workforce development strides made in 2019 when more individuals achieved FAA mechanic certification than in any of the previous 17 years. While the dip is likely an anomaly related to the COVID-19 pandemic's ramifications, the long-term effect of the pandemic on the mechanic pipeline remains unclear.
Demand, however, has not changed. Commercial air transport passenger traffic is on track to recover by 2023-24, and the U.S. market is already approaching 2019's capacity figures. Despite the short-term decline in maintenance demand triggered by reduced flying and related employment reductions, long-term forecasts continue to project a shortage in qualified mechanics.
The mechanic population is expected to increase 13 percent over the next 20 years, but ultimately fall 12,000 mechanics short of meeting commercial aviation needs in 2041. This optimistic scenario assumes pre-pandemic certification rates return.
Despite the overall drop in newly certified A&P mechanics, 2020 did include some positive development. AMTS reported 11 percent of A&P graduates were female, compared to 2.6 percent representation in the broader mechanic population. In addition, 40 percent of graduates represent a racial or ethnic minority. In addition, AMTS enrollments increased 5 percent in 2020—a drop over 2019's increase, but still a welcome sign during an historic downturn.
"The entire commercial aviation industry was brought to its knees in 2020, and the mechanic pipeline was no different," said Crystal Maguire, ATEC Executive Director. "Despite the decline in newly certificated mechanics, the uptick in enrollments and the expanding diversity of new graduates are not only encouraging signs, but clues to how we can help bridge the gap between the number of mechanics we will have and are projected to need in two decades.”
Industry's need to innovate quickly during the pandemic has led to some positive developments. Virtual learning gained acceptance, for instance, and ATEC's new foundation, Choose Aerospace, was re-envisioned to better serve the maintenance industry by focusing on high school curriculum development.
"Successful leadership means embracing the opportunities that a crisis creates," said Gary Hoyle, ATEC President and Director of Campus Operations at Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics. "ATEC's leadership did not lose its focus on the most important issues to members and the aviation maintenance industry, and are leveraging some of the downturn's silver linings to help our community recover and grow even stronger."
Download the 2021 Pipeline Report & Aviation Maintenance School Directory at www.atec-amt.org/pipeline-report
Watch the recorded version of the report briefing at:
Alexandria, Va. (October20, 2021) – Helicopter Association International (HAI) deeply regrets to announce the passing of Harold “Hal” Summers, director of flight operations for HAI for nearly 18 years and a fixture in the rotorcraft industry since the 1960s. Service information and methods of honoring his memory are pending and will be released as soon as they are available.
“Words truly fail me today,” says James Viola, president and CEO of HAI. “Hal was an icon in the industry, a subject-matter expert on everything involving helicopter maintenance, and he felt it was an honor and obligation to share his wisdom and experience with the rest of us. We are a better industry because of his passionate contributions, and he will be profoundly missed.”
Harold’s aviation career spanned more than six decades. After receiving his A&P license, he worked in Alaska in the early 1960s. Harold joined Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. (PHI) in 1964, eventually becoming vice president of maintenance, where he presided over maintenance and support for a global fleet with more than 400 helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico alone. He later served as acting chief engineer for a joint venture between PHI and China Southern Helicopter Company in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, where he met his wife, Zhilin.
In 2004, Harold joined HAI, where he was directly responsible for managing the fly-in and fly-out each year for HAI HELI-EXPO®. In that role, he would work with local airports to coordinate staging and fueling sites and with the FAA to manage the regulatory requirements, and then managed the arrival and departure of up to 60 helicopters to be displayed on the show floor. Harold also worked with other HAI staff members, regulators, and industry stakeholders to resolve issues for HAI members.
Harold was equally active in using his expertise to advance the industry by participating in myriad HAI working groups, industry working groups, and national and international regulatory committees or working groups. He served as the staff liaison to the HAI Technical and Maintenance Working Group, and the Utilities, Patrol, and Construction (UPAC) Working Group. He also actively or previously represented HAI and the rotorcraft industry on the FAA Bird Strike Advisory and Rulemaking Committee working group (ARAC) (completed); FAA Rotorcraft Occupant Protection ARAC working group (completed); FAA HUMS (Health and Usage Monitoring System); FAA International Vertical Aviation Safety Conference Planning Team; NASA’s Rotorcraft Issue Analysis Team (R-IAT); Rotorcraft Maintenance Programs Industry Group (RMPIG); RTCA SC-237, WG 110, Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (HTAWS); RTCA SC-239, Interference to Radio Altimeters from Certain 5G Networks; RTCA SC-241, Guidance for Cockpit and Cabin Cleaning; and the Southern California Airspace Users WG (SCAUWG).
“Harold’s career was massive in breadth,” continues Viola. “He received the FAA’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award, which recognizes 50 years of working in aircraft maintenance. I expect many people receive that award at the end of a long and illustrious career. Not Harold. He received his plaque and pin in 2011 and continued to serve for 10 more years. He sent his last email on behalf of HAI literally hours before his unexpected passing. He will be greatly missed as a colleague and friend by many.”
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HAI is the professional trade association for the international helicopter industry and represents more than 1,100 global companies and over 16,000 industry professionals in more than 65 countries. Each year, HAI members safely operate more than 3,700 helicopters and remotely piloted aircraft approximately 2.9 million hours. HAI is dedicated to the promotion of the helicopter as a safe, effective method of commerce and to the advancement of the international helicopter community.
The Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force (YIATF) Requests Participation from K-12 Schools in New Survey
In support the FAA’s Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force, ATEC is asking its members help distribute an educator survey developed by the Task Force’s Trends Subcommittee. If your organization is, and/or has relationships with K-12 institutions or programs, please forward the following request in support of the group’s objective to encourage high school students to pursue careers in aviation:
The Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force (YIATF) needs your help. YIATF is an advisory group established to provide the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with recommendations that will encourage students to pursue in-demand careers in aviation. The group is examining trends that directly or indirectly encourage or discourage young people from pursuing aviation careers. To assist the Task Force in understanding the role of the educator and what recommendations would best support the goal, the group would like your input.
To participate in the survey, visit: https://forms.gle/NfH3AHY3U8Doe1An9
We greatly appreciate your assistance on this important effort.
While responses from post-secondary education is welcome, the Task Force is especially interested in feedback from the K-12 community. We certainly appreciate our members passing the request along to their local partners in education.
Hyannis, MA, September 13, 2021 – As the deadline for Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA) scholarships approaches, the organization is in need of applications so spread the word. Contact your students, young friends and others to ensure we can award this important money to deserving students and professionals furthering their aviation careers to become pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians (AMT) and airline managers.
“Affording an aviation education is increasingly difficult and our members and associate members are dedicated to ensuring there is funding available,” said President Stan Bernstein. “In recent years, we have helped students pursue AMT, airline management and pilot careers. Providing scholarships to deserving young people interested in a career in aviation is one of the most important efforts RACCA undertakes each year.”
RACCA, representing 50 air cargo carriers, many of which feed the FedEx, DHL and UPS networks, provides scholarships to assist in the payment of tuition, flight training, or to obtain new or additional licenses. The organization makes four $2,500 awards each year in November. The RACCA Aviation Scholarships were established for the purpose of promoting and assisting in pursuing aviation as a career choice and to make students aware of the opportunities in the air cargo industry.
Bernstein noted flying for a RACCA carrier is a valuable way to build flying time because it gives pilots experience in flying on a schedule, inclement weather, dealing with inflight and procedural issues surrounding cargo as well as night flying, operating in busy airspace, cockpit resource management and required record keeping, all of which are part of airline operations.
To qualify for the four scholarships, applicants must be:
· A college student currently enrolled in an accredited aviation program.
· A resident of the United States.
· Currently carry a Grade Point Average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
Scholarship # 1 will carry the additional requirement of obtaining a letter of introduction from an existing RACCA member or RACCA associate member since the goal is for candidates to learn about the air cargo industry. If there is a RACCA member or associate member in a candidate’s immediate area, candidates should arrange to visit their operation and become familiar with all the opportunities in the growing air cargo industry. If there is no member close, candidates should call a member and tell them who they are and ask questions about the air cargo industry.
The deadline for applications is October 15, 2021. Selections are made by November 30 and distributed on December 15 to an accredited school.
The RACCA Aviation Scholarship application is available on the RACCA Scholarship Website.
The Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA) is dedicated to representing and serving approximately 50-member Part 135 and Part 121 cargo carriers who have about 1,000 aircraft in their fleets. Their role in the aviation industry is meeting the cargo needs of small communities and connecting them to the national transportation aviation system, many via the global networks of FedEx, UPS and DHL. RACCA focuses on improving safety and representing its members in Washington.
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.