In a Sept. 29 letter to FAA Flight Standards Executive Director Rick Domingo, ATEC advocated for a stream-lined approach to distance learning approvals for aviation maintenance technician schools that provide other FAA-approved curriculum outside of part 147.
Blue Ridge Community College has for years sought FAA authorization to provide its Light Sport Repairman Training, approved through the FAA's Specialty Aircraft Examiner Branch, to students remotely. (AOPA recently highlighted the course in its Pilot Magazine (non-subscribers can click "Not a Subscriber" to access) as an underutilized opportunity for individuals wanting to explore aviation maintenance pathways.) FAA officials have thus far refused to allow the remote offering given the lack of inspector guidance specific to Light Sport Repairman Training online delivery.
ATEC argues that part 147 programs already go through rigorous approval processes to obtain distance learning authorization and that duplicative review is inefficient and unnecessary. "[Distance learning] authorization is based on a local office’s review of the policies and procedures in place for remote learning and has little to do with the content offered," said ATEC in its letter. "It is the association’s position that if the Light Sport Repairman Training course content has already been approved (here through the Specialty Aircraft Examiner Branch) then the method of delivery (i.e., distance learning) should not necessitate separate scrutiny."
ATEC asked that the FAA rely on a part 147 school’s distance learning authorization when assessing non-part 147 content for online delivery. It is currently awaiting the agency's response.
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.