The FAA plans to expand its Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program to incorporate designated examiners, providing a much-needed expansion of access to designated examiners for aviation technician school graduates seeking certification.
An Oct. 13 letter from the FAA to ATEC confirmed that a draft revision to FAA Order 8100.15, is being reviewed internally.
"The FAA anticipates the revised order will be available for public comment this fall, and we expect to publish the final order in the first half of 2024," Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety David Boulter wrote. "After publication, the FAA will accept applications from interested organizations that qualify for this new ODA type."
Boulter's letter came in response to one from the council reiterating the move's importance and requesting a timeline (https://www.atec-amt.org/news/dme-accessibility-update-atec-pushes-expedited-oda-solution). He confirmed that the new order is both on the way and will be supported by related materials out of AVS-60, the FAA's ODA office.
"[AVS-60] is actively pursuing outreach and education opportunities and developing materials to help implement the revised order," Boulter wrote.
Access to FAA-designated examiners has long been one of the biggest hurdles keeping aviation technician school graduates from earning certification--and one of ATEC's top priorities as a result. ATEC has been pushing for a solution, urging the agency to follow through on a meeting held five years ago where it pledged to expand ODA to allow air agency certificate holders, including part 147 schools, to designate examiners.
The FAA’s Designee Management Policy is housed in Order 8000.95. Specific requirements for designated mechanic examiners (DME)—contained in the Order’s Volume 5, Chapter 2—used to mandate that DME applicants exercise the privileges of a mechanic certificate for five years in accordance with part 65 or when employed by a repair station, air carrier, or part 147 school. Revision C mandates the same five years’ experience, but allows the candidate to mix and match experience to meet the requirement.
For example, a certificated mechanic with three years’ experience at a part 145 repair station and two years’ experience at a part 121 air carrier would qualify as a designee under revision C, where previously that candidate would not have been eligible.
The change, while subtle, will hopefully present new opportunity for stakeholders seeking to increase local testing capacity.
The Order also revised the DME limitations section, striking a provision that prohibited a designee from testing an applicant “outside the authorized geographic area without specific approval.” The revision also removed language requiring authorization from a local office to administer a test not listed on the designees Certificate and Letter of Authority (CLOA), a document issued by the agency.
While ATEC applauds the edit, there is no positive net effect if local offices will not agree to add additional locations to a DME’s CLOA, since mechanic examiners are still prohibited from testing at a location if it is not listed on their CLOA.
ATEC recommends that a future revision remove specific test locations from the CLOA entirely, putting full responsibility on the DME (with FAA oversight) to ensure required equipment is present no matter the testing location. This approach would align with DPE oversight, as set forth in the Order and Notice 8900.485.
That recommendation accompanied several others recently submitted by the council, including suggestions to:
Members are encouraged to submit additional feedback and suggestions to council Leadership.
On September 20th, over 40 ATEC members, industry partners, and federal officials gathered in Alexandria, VA to discuss policy updates, legislative priorities, and aviation workforce provisions found in the current FAA reauthorization bill.
After a full day of policy discussions with the FAA and briefings on legislative initiatives, ATEC representatives headed to The Hill and held over sixty congressional meetings representing over twenty states.
The timing could not have been better as both chambers are poised for a final vote on FAA reauthorization, the bill that will set agency priorities for the next five years. Included in the draft legislative text are provisions that would aid military transition, increase funding available for the FAA workforce grant program, ensure industry involvement in further development of the FAA mechanic airman certification standards, and encourage development of early pathways to mechanic certification.
Thanks to everyone that was able to join the council for this great event. See the program and speaker presentations on the Fly-In event webpage, and plan to join us in 2024. Dates will publish soon!
This morning, ATEC Executive Director Crystal Maguire presented a briefing for part 147 programs on how they can utilize the Choose Aerospace aviation maintenance curriculum to grow enrollment of their A&P program. The webinar gave an overview of the curriculum, how and why it was created, and reviewed commonly asked questions (as set forth on our Q&A page).
If you missed the live version, you can still check out the 45-minute recorded version, below.
You can also download the slide deck here.
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.