ATEC will hold a live webinar on Thursday, May 21 at 2 PM CT, the fourth in a series of webinars intended to assist aviation maintenance technician schools navigate part 147 programs in the current COVID-19 environment.
The webinar, entitled "Best Practices: Facilitating Lab Work During COVID-19," will look at how AMTS are adopting longer-term plans to address the reality for many localities—that social distancing measures will be in place through at least the summer, and likely the fall. Many schools have worked through FAA mandates and successfully implemented distance learning programs for lecture content, but finding ways for students to complete lab work is an ongoing struggle. Panelists will share what they are doing to facilitate safe student access to facilities and equipment so they can satisfy hands-on project requirements.
Preliminary results from an ATEC survey currently out in the field suggests facilitation of lab requirements is the biggest challenge facing part 147 schools today. The results are not surprising given the hands-on experience necessary to train aviation mechanics, and the restrictions on campus access during massive school closures.
A special thank you to the panelists that have offered to share their experiences with the community:
Dr. Raymond Thompson, Associate Dean and Interim Chair, Western Michigan University
Jeremiah Scarbrough, Regional Director, Aviation Institute of Maintenance
Ty Harrison, Aviation Maintenance Technology Program Director, Colorado Northwestern Community College
ATEC is redoubling efforts to educate legislators about the Promoting Aviation Regulations for Technical Training (PARTT) 147 Act (S.3043/H.R.5427), bipartisan and bicameral legislation to modernize part 147 regulations dating back to 1962.
A newly-published policy brief provides a thorough history of industry's advocacy efforts to update the rule, and highlights current FAA proposals that would have a toxic impact on an already inflexible framework.
The brief calls attention to the negative impact the current rule has on schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. FAA-mandated approvals of online delivery and limitations on what can be taught outside the classroom has hindered operations and innovations at part 147 schools. In the brief, the council argues that had the Act been passed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many aviation programs would be in a different position today.
ATEC encourages the community to share the brief with their legislative leaders on capitol hill, and encourage them to sign on as a co-sponsor to the PARTT 147 Act.
For the past several years, Premier Aircraft Service, Inc. has been converting Diamond aircraft to newer engine models. In doing this, Premier has obtained several of the older 1.7 diesel Thielert engines which are no longer needed for flying aircraft. Premier is therefore making the Continental basic 1.7 teardown engines available to schools for $4,950 plus shipping. Discounts are available for larger quantities.
Interested schools can contact Premier Vice President of Operations and ATEC Director Art Spengler for more information.
AMTS are adopting longer-term plans to address the reality for many localities—that social distancing measures will be in place through at least the summer, and likely the fall. Many schools have worked through FAA issues and successfully implemented distance learning programs for lecture content, but finding ways for students to complete lab work is an ongoing struggle. Hear what other schools are doing to facilitate safe student access to facilities and equipment so they can satisfy hands-on project requirements.
The live event is scheduled for Thu, May 21, 2020 at 2:00 PM CDT. Visit the link below to register and see a list of confirmed panelists.
ATEC is running a survey targeted at aviation maintenance technician schools. The objective is to gather information on COVID-19 impacts on school operations and graduate and enrollment expectations, and identify ways the council can support the community during the on-going pandemic.
All schools certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration under 14 CFR part 147 are encouraged to respond to the short, 15 question survey.
A new initiative in support of STEM education is being considered by Congress. The legislation would provide education funding for rural and underserved communities, something that has not been addressed in previous Coronavirus relief packages.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. TJ Cox and Troy Balderson is in response to a study showing the educational resource disparities in rural America as well as a the lack of internet-related infrastructure.
The STEM Education Coalition, of which ATEC is a leadership council member, is a large supporter of the initiative. Get more information at www.stemedcoalition.org/2020/05/06/coalition-calls-on-congress-to-address-stem-education-and-infrastructure-in-next-coronavirus-response-bill/.
FAA will publish a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) to provide relief for mechanic applicants who have testing periods expiring between March and June 2020. Title 14 CFR 65.71 requires that an FAA mechanic applicant pass all prescribed testing (i.e., written, oral and practical) within 24 months. The FAA SFAR extends the testing period by three months for those whose testing period has or will expire between March and June 2020.
The SFAR also extends inspection authorization (IA) renewal deadlines for those FAA-certificated mechanics that hold IA. For those IA holders that were unable to meet renewal requirements by March 2020 (as required by 65.93), they will have until June 2020 to do so.
The SFAR, prompted by industry groups, also extends deadlines for pilots, crew members, and flight schools.
The SFAR is scheduled to publish in the federal register on May 4. The version available for public inspection as of May 1 is linked below.
In cooperation with Quality Control Management (QCM) a Swiss-approved EASA Part 147 training organization, Aircraft Technical Book Company (ATB/ATB-I) can now authorize FAA part 147 certificated schools as approved EASA testing sites for B1.1, and B2 avionics. (Passing a set of written exams enables A&Ps with 5 years of appropriate experience to add an EASA license to their credentials.)
To qualify as an examination center, schools must hold a Part 147 certificate, have an on-site secured examination room, and qualified examiners (DMEs) to supervise examinations. Opportunities to offer B1/B2 training programs for new students under the QCM approval are also available.
ATB/QCM will assist schools with recruiting and pre-qualifying of applicants, as well as no cost training of your staff to perform these functions.
For more information, contact Andrew Gold at (970) 726-5111.
After publishing its robust maintenance, repair and overhaul market outlook through 2030 in February, ARSA and Oliver Wyman have revised its forecast for MRO activity suggesting the current trajectory for fleet reductions and lower aircraft utilization would reduce global MRO demand in 2020 by over $26 billion, or almost 30%. North America and Western Europe would suffer the largest impact.
Past crises are informing the reduction-in-demand outlook for MROs with independent MROs at most risk.
In the meantime, health officials in partnership with companies are beginning to prepare for back-to-work programs that protect workers while resuming maintenance or production of aircraft. AvWeek has scheduled a podcast with AAR on its return-to-work plans.
While plans remain in flux, back to work could mean daily temperature readings before entering the shop floor, donning personal protective equipment, social distancing and robust cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, according to guidance issued by CDC for aircraft maintenance workers.
The CARES Act, as well as agreements between airlines and unions mean no layoffs for the present, according to AvWeek. Their work, however, will include maintaining aircraft ready for flight and supporting airlines as they shift to cargo operations and shift fleets to ensure continued airworthiness, which presents opportunities for MROs. Concerns have been raised about the contract maintenance workforce and ways are sought to minimize the disruption on the workforce, according to Launch Technical Workforce Solutions.
The industry is seeking further government help but, with Congress in recess, another rapid, short-term fix seems unlikely until mid-May at the earliest. In addition, industry is wondering whether the epidemic will kick-start automation in aircraft production as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul.
FAA Coronavirus Updates
In an effort to provide parents with innovative solutions to educating their children at home, aviation universities and industry have created a plethora of free online programming – including for-credit coursework – for high school students.
The aim is to develop programming not only to show the link between STEM and aviation but to pique youngsters’ interest in aviation. The development of these online programs is a great resource for the industry interested in spreading the word about aviation careers.
Raytheon Technologies created Every-Age STEM helping young people discover their passion for science, technology, engineering and math. Designed to close the gender and racial gaps in the industry, Raytheon’s course is in addition to its work with nonprofits like FIRST, Girls Who Code, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to inspire the next generation of engineers.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced two initiatives as faculty developed online courses that introduce core concepts and offer enrichment activities to help spark young people’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). “Aviation is Your Future,” a free massive open online course, or MOOC, offers an introduction to aviation for children aged 8 to 17. Another initiative that is free to Florida and Arizona high school students offers seven for-credit introductory aviation classes, all available online and none requiring previous college education.
Finally, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association listed several other resources including those from NASA, the Museum of Flight, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and other museums around the country.
Headlines may be about announcing layoffs and furloughs but workforce experts caution how employers do it will determine the likelihood employees will come back. A good employee separation experience will ensure they will want to come back.
Companies recognize workforce is a key asset they need to maintain for business continuity, according to AvWeek Senior Editor Michael Bruno, one of four speakers in the publication’s recent workforce webinar.
During the COVID-19 and the Workforce: Protecting Our Best Assets, speakers indicated employers should be planning now for the return. Sixty-seven percent of attendees indicated they were either working on stabilizing their business or strategizing for return
The big challenge, said PWC People and Change Partner, John Karren, is how industry sustains its current workforce. “They are afraid to let workers go because they might not come back in such a tight labor market. Laying off thousands of workers would mean they might go to other industries. Karren outlined the many steps employers should be taking including establishing return-to-work protocols and training. Cleaning and social distancing will remain important because the 2018 Influenza Pandemic came in three waves.
Bruno pointed to Spirit AeroSystems which is now trying to find jobs for its workforce in other companies in hopes they will remain in Wichita and be available to return once this is all over.
“Talent was always rare, and it is even rarer now if you believe the industry’s future is strong,” said Bruno.
Scott Dratch, chair, Workforce Policy Council, Aerospace Industries Association advised employers to talk to their customers to determine expected production and maintenance workflows and to help develop the framework for returning to work.
"Investing in workforce is still important," said Karren. “How do we invest in workforce as those workplace changes happen,” he asked, adding employers needed to develop strategies on how to invest in the development of their people and what new training will be necessary. How do we shape young professionals who are experiencing their first industry crisis? This is not only how to get them back to work but in getting them back to working differently. This includes not only physical safety but mental safety by using employee assistance programs, adding telemedicine to the benefit package. One company secured a contract with Uber Eats to ensure families are taken care of.”
Dratch said companies are experimenting with adopting new technologies such as augmented reality. Other new technologies will be enabled with 5G and employers need to think about incorporating them into the Post-Covid workplace. Working virtually will be part of the future and companies also need to develop strategies for that, added Karren, who reported productivity has remained high despite working from home.
Dratch advised employers to read a National Defense University paper Weathering the Storm Leading Your Organization Through a Pandemic, calling it an ideal resource for employers.
“In 2013, open jobs numbered just of 19,000,” said Moderator Carole Rickard Hedden, executive editor, Aviation Week Executive Intelligence. “Today it is 55,000 and companies are poaching each other’s employees so there is an increased emphasis on retaining employees. We are seeing young professionals seeking jobs but mostly within their own companies.”
In addition, aerospace companies are very much pressing forward on internships, considered lifeblood of the talent pipeline. Fifty-four percent of webinar attendees plan to honor their job and internship offers.
But that raises other questions, said Karren, such as the development of virtual internship programs that are meaningful and productive.
While delivery of “level 1” part 147 content is relatively straightforward—aviation maintenance instructors are getting very familiar with zoom and other platforms that allow for student-instructor interactions—how are schools providing students with the opportunity to complete lab work needed to graduate their A&P programs? Get information on some online resources, how some are narrowing the scope of what needs to be done in-person vs. remotely, and utilization of real-world experience as a stopgap for part 147 requirements.
The webinar will take place on Friday, April 10, 2020 at 11 AM CT. Registration is free to ATEC members.
Industry Building Momentum To Eliminate Aviation Maintenance Technician Gap, But Opportunities To Fill Pipeline Further Are Clear, Pipeline Report Finds
Industry is making measurable progress developing a sufficient, sustainable pipeline of aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs), but clear opportunities remain that can increase momentum, led by filling available slots in technical schools, a new report on AMT career development finds.
The report was developed from data collected by Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) and includes findings from a broad survey of accredited aviation maintenance technician schools (AMTS). The data was compiled and analyzed before the novel coronavirus pandemic triggered a significant decline in commercial air transport. While the near- and medium- term implications of airline capacity cuts on maintenance demand remains unclear, demand projections made as of February suggest that industry must focus on continuing to fill the skilled-worker pipeline to meet the long-term need for technicians.
The report’s analysis shows that the 7,363 airframe and powerplant (A&P) certificates issued by the U.S. FAA in 2019 were nearly 10% more than in 2018, and the most in 17 years. The industry is attracting more prospective aviation mechanics as well: A&P school enrollments grew by 2% in 2019, the biggest annual jump in five years.
These clear positives show that extensive industry efforts to develop more certified aviation mechanics is paying off, but more needs to be done. Mechanics are still retiring faster than they are being replaced. Industry will need to increase its annual figure of new mechanics by 37% relative to 2019’s figure to meet the projected 20-year demand.
One place to start: filling more slots at technical schools. Despite the uptick in mechanic certifications and A&P program enrollments, two out of every five A&P program seats remain open.
"The report reflects the shortage of skilled workers in aviation and shows that we were just starting to see some positive, longer-term trends developing,” said Crystal Maguire, ATEC’s executive director. “We have been working hard to get this pipeline in the direction it’s going, and this is the first report indicating that many of the things we are doing are taking hold. We can’t forget that there was a shortage prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we can’t lose the people we’ve worked hard to get in the pipeline.”
The report’s other key findings provide more details on the challenge facing industry as more mechanics near retirement, while highlighting opportunities to ensure enough new entrants are coming online to replace them and meet anticipated additional needs. Among them:
The report’s findings suggest that one fruitful strategy will be increasing efforts to highlight aviation technical careers. While the awareness issue was cited by schools of various sizes, smaller schools—which make up the majority of AMTS—are less likely to implement their own marketing campaigns to sell aviation technical programs and post-graduation career opportunities. This spring, ATEC formalized a national campaign to support local recruitment efforts to alleviate some of these barriers. Learn more at www.chooseaerospace.org.
Download the 2020 Pipeline Report and media kit at www.atec-amt.org/pipeline-report.
About ATEC: ATEC is a partnership of aviation maintenance training schools and employers. The council is dedicated to promoting and supporting technician education through its communications, advocacy programs and networking events. To learn more, visit http://www.atec-amt.org/.
An instructor at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics and a student from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance have been named the 2020 recipients of ATEC's most prestigious awards. The annual awards are made possible through partnership with the Northrop Rice Foundation and JSfirm.com, who provide travel reimbursements and cash prizes to recipients.
PIA Educator Al Simon was named the Ivan D. Livi Aviation Maintenance Educator of the Year Award for 2020, while Aviation Institute of Maintenance Student Nicole Cain was named the James Rardon Aviation Maintenance Technician Student of the Year for 2020.
Cain, the fourth AIM students to receive the award since 2000, was cited for academic achievement, involvement in activities that showcase leadership, and other contributions to the school and/or community. As this year’s winner, she will receive free registration, airfare, lodging, and a meal stipend to attend the ATEC Annual Conference in September. Additionally, she will be presented with a plaque and cash award at the ATEC Awards Luncheon.
Cain held a 4.0 GPA throughout her 21-month program, while also providing tutoring to fellow students and regularly leading class projects. As a wounded veteran, she devoted time to the school’s Veteran Resource Center assisting other student veteran’s transition to civilian life. Outside of class, she trained junior mechanics in maintaining the airworthiness of unique aircraft as an apprentice at the Military Aviation Museum where she has been offered a full-time position and is the first intern to convert to employee.
“Her passion for aviation is infectious,” said AIM’s Director of Education Tim Murray. She commits herself to her education, and her apprenticeship. Despite being a single mother and a wounded veteran, Nicole’s dedication to her studies and fellow students is apparent. Our institution, the local community, the organization of Women in Aviation International, and the local veteran population are all the better due to her involvement.”
Nominations for instructor of the year come from across the country to recognize AMT instructors who, either through a single event or over the span of a career, have a direct impact on aviation maintenance students. Simon joins two other PIA instructors who have received the award since 1990.
Simon’s experience began as a 1969 graduate of PIA, after which he began his service in the United States Marine Corps. His civilian career includes positions at Allegheny Airlines and FedEx. Simon is currently in his 20th year of teaching at PIA, continuing to hand down his wisdom and experiences to future technicians.
"Mr. Simon has contributed so much to the education of PIA students over the years,” said PIA Dean of Academic Affairs Jason Pfarr. “We are truly honored that he has spent his career at our institution."
Both Cain and Simon will be honored at the ATEC Annual Conference Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Avotek, scheduled for September 13-16, 2020 in Fort Worth, TX.
The Department of Transportation issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity covering $4.925 million in grants for future transportation research.
Through its University Transportation Centers program, the department seeks research into:
1. Highly Automated Transportation Systems Research;
2. Communications Technology and E-Commerce Effects on Travel Demand;
3. Implications of Accessible Automated Vehicles and Mobility Services for People with Disabilities; or
4. Strategic Implications of Changing Public Transportation Travel Trends.
Only two- and four-year U.S. non-profit institutions are eligible. Read more.
The agency revised a deviation memo, originally released on March 12 (see related post), directing the inspector workforce to provide further relief for part 147 schools electing to provide A&P program content to students online. Download the revised memo.
The original memo limited relief to current program enrollees, stating it should not be used for "new students." The limitation was problematic for schools that do not follow a traditional enrollment schedule, with rolling enrollments happening now or in the near future. The revised memo removes that limitation, and also adds a timeline (30 days after termination of the deviation memo) by which programs must return to "the AMTS standard curriculum" (i.e., for those schools that do not have permanent distance learning authorization, a return to classroom instruction).
Under the original memo, the agency stated that inspectors should approve absentee policy revisions and allow up to 80 hours of absence for a part 147 program. The revised memo clarifies that while missed material must be made available for content missed during the absence, make-up time is not (and never has been) required.
According to agency reports, around 40% of current part 147 schools have taken advantage of the deviation memo and requested approval to deliver content online and/or make a change to their absentee policy. Around 20% of schools have suspended operations, for at least the time being. The remaining 40% have yet to reach out to the agency with a request for online delivery, or suspension notification.
ATEC held an online webinar to educate schools on the memo and to provide resources for taking content online. Listen to the recorded version and see available resources on the COVID Issue Page.
Aviation maintenance technical schools are facing unprecedented challenges during the coronavirus outbreak. With massive school closures, part 147 institutions must find innovative ways to serve their students. Get a brief on FAA guidance providing relief for schools that do not currently have distance learning approval, best practices from other schools that are getting online platforms up and running, and information on online resources available for programs that decide to go online.
The webinar will take place on Friday, Mar 27, 2020 1:00 PM CDT.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Those that register but are not able attend the live version will receive a link to the recorded version.
In lieu of the growing coronavirus concerns, the council will hold its traditionally springtime event in the fall. The 2020 conference which was originally scheduled for March 30-April 1, will now take place Sept. 13-16, 2020. See the latest conference information and agenda on the conference web page.
The conference will occur in place of the Washington Fly-in, which will be cancelled in its entirety. We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this has caused, and thank the membership for its patience and understanding as the association works through the process of rescheduling.
This postponement will no doubt create questions, and we ask for your patience in advance as we respond to a high volume of emails and phone calls. Please allow up to a week for us to respond to your inquiries. In the meantime, here are some answers to what we anticipate to be the most commonly-asked questions.
Should I cancel current hotel reservations?
For those individuals who made a hotel reservation through the ATEC room block at the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel, the hotel has already cancelled your reservation. If you did not receive a cancellation notification from the hotel via email, please contact the hotel directly to confirm cancellation. We will let the community know when a new hotel room block has been secured for the new conference dates. Attendees may rebook accommodation at that time.
Do I need to re-register for the Annual Conference now scheduled for September?
No. All current attendee registrations will be carried over to the September dates. There is nothing you need to do to secure a seat at the September event. See the latest attendee list to confirm whether you are already registered.
What if I'm currently registered and cannot attend in September?
You can cancel your registration for a full refund, or we can credit your organization's account to apply to a future event registration. Please submit all cancellation requests to Tarra Ruttman at email@example.com.
What if I already reached out to cancel my attendance due to flight restriction or other coronavirus-related reason?
All attendees registered as of March 9 will remain on the registration list; your registration cancellation request was not processed if it was received last week. If you would like to confirm cancellation for the September event, please send an email to Tarra Ruttman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should I do about my flight reservations?
Please refer to your airline carrier’s policies regarding fees associated with cancelling or rescheduling flights. Most if not all carriers are waiving cancellation and rebooking fees.
Will there be changes to the event agenda?
As of right now we do not anticipate any changes to the agenda, the entire program will be shifted to the new dates. That said, any modification required as we coordinate re-bookings with conference vendors and partners will be reflected as they are available on the online agenda.
Will this impact the 2021 conference dates?
The 2021 event will proceed as scheduled. (We were going to save announcement for the conference, but, drumroll please...) The 2021 ATEC Annual Conference will be hosted by United Airlines at its Flight Training Center in Denver. Mark your calendar for March 28-31, 2021!
The Federal Aviation Administration's Designee Standardization Branch have moved the Recurrent DME Part II Training to a virtual format as the result of Covid-19. Those who registered for the recurrent training scheduled for April 2 in Fort Worth will have access to the virtual training, but timing depends on the establishment of the virtual training format.
“It is our intent, by offering Recurrent Designated Mechanic Examiner Part II recurrent training in an alternative format to minimize the effects on your training and your ability to conduct oral and practical tests,” said the agency.
It advised those choosing not to attend the virtual training will be able to attend an in-person training sometime later this year.
Once the virtual training is established, trainees will receive a guide on how to access the offering, thus eliminating the need for travel. While the Windows platform is preferred, students will be able to access the virtual classroom via their electronic device with internet connectivity.
Follow up alerts on how to access the offering and material will be provided no later than the end of March. If you have questions, email email@example.com or call 405-954-6495.
For the seventh year in a row, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation’s Work Ethic Scholarship Program is accepting applications for the next generation of skilled workers looking to get trained for jobs that are in demand. All aircraft-mechanics-in-training are invited to apply.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has decided to extend the deadline by one month. Work ethic scholarship applications must now be submitted by April 30th at 11:59 PM PDT.
All interested should visit www.mikeroweWORKS.org/scholarship to learn more about the program and access the application.
The assets of the Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute (PAI) will be sold at public auction after the school closed its doors in 2019.
The Clinton Essex Warren Washington Board of Cooperative Education Services (CEWW BOCES) is holding the auction which includes the FAA Part 147 Airframe and Powerplant curriculum, equipment tooling, supplies and multiple aircraft associated with the school. PAI developed a quality program and remained in good standing with the FAA during it’s 10 years as a Part 147 school. Bids and requests to acquire individual items will not be accepted.
For more information contact James McCartney III at (518) 561-1000 43. A listing of photographs and items to be auctioned can be found at the CEWW BOCES website http://www.cves.org/aviation-auction/
***Update*** The ATEC Annual Conference will be rescheduled. The team is currently working on postponement dates and will notify the membership of the reschedule no later than Tuesday, March 17. Thank you for your patience as we work through all the details to ensure a smooth transition to a fall event.
The 2020 ATEC Annual Conference will take place as planned. The safety, wellbeing and experience at the event is a top priority. We are following official guidance and working with our host to put the best preventative measures in place.
Executive leadership and our host Tarrant County Community College, are actively monitoring the situation, including the steps being taken both by local, state, and federal authorities to limit the risks to the public.
We will immediately inform attendees should there be any significant changes and will keep our website up to date with the latest information.
As ever, we will do everything we can to ensure it’s a great event.
***Update*** FAA has issued a memorandum to local offices providing guidance on processing deviations to part 147 course content delivery. Download it here.
The memo directs FAA personnel to authorize temporary delivery of content through distance learning. To facilitate a school's request for temporary distance learning authorization, ATEC is making its distance learning application template available for free to all ATEC member schools. To download it, add the template to your cart and enter the members only password in the coupon code field. (Don't know the members-only password? Email Tarra.)
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO). The impact of this virus has caused multiple states and cities within the US to take action by reducing or limiting public gatherings which includes the closure of schools in some locations. These closures may impact student learning and schedules of some part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools (AMTS).
The FAA is preparing a devision memo for all Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) with oversight responsibilities of AMTS. The intention is to provide a path forward for AMTS that could minimize interruptions to student learning.
ATEC is working closely with the agency and has offered its expertise to help draft the language so that it provides a workable solution for all involved. The deviation memo is expected to publish by early next week. Stay tuned for more information as it is available.
With 11 million jobs and $1.6 trillion in annual economic activity, the aviation industry is a key economic driver, an aviation coalition noted in its letter to the Senate Transportation, Housing & Urban Development (T-HUD) Chair Susan Collins and Ranking Member Jack Reed, urging full funding for the aviation grant programs dedicated to the education of pilots and aviation maintenance technicians.
The grant programs, authorized by the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, sets aside $5,000 per year for each of the two grant initiatives. The coalition urged Collins to make full funding a part of the 2021 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. It also dispatched a letter to House T-HUD Chair David Price and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart thanking them for including the grant funding in their 2020 bill and urging continued support for the programs as they deliberate the 2021 funding bill.
“Today, the aviation industry faces a dire shortage of trained pilots, aviation technicians and other professionals necessary to fly, maintain, and repair commercial, recreational and military aircraft,” said the letter which is enthusiastically supported by ATEC. “These shortages come at a time when demand for new pilots and mechanics is rising due to increased consumer demand for air travel, new aircraft are entering the global fleet, and the current aviation workforce reaches retirement age.”
The coalition of more than 40 aviation organizations noted the grants promote public-private sector collaboration between businesses, labor organizations, schools, and governmental entities to pursue innovative strategies to give young people an accessible career path in aviation as a pilot or professional technician and to develop a 21st Century aviation workforce. The coalition also said the programs will empower communities to engage directly in workforce development efforts, encouraging local investment and job growth.
In September, ATEC sent a written request providing a proposed solution that would allow aviation maintenance technician schools to create more streamlined partnerships with other educational institutions.
In its letter, ATEC suggested that the FAA dispense with its continued reference to “satellite locations,” something the agency says is “prohibited” under the regulations. Instead, ATEC called on the agency to make policy changes that would allow schools to deliver AMTS content to enrolled students away from its “primary location,” via “additional fixed locations” provided on the AMTS operations specification.
Under the proposal, a part 147 certificated school could provide its curriculum at a partner high school and bestow upon that high school student AMTS credit without that student first enrolling in the A&P program. Since the high school is provided as an “additional fixed location” on the part 147 operations specifications, that location would also be subject to FAA oversight.
In its response, the FAA doubled down on its position that part 147 prohibits an AMTS from providing courses at an additional training location, “the current regulations in part 147 do not expressly allow for nor facilitate the use of satellite training locations by evidence of the FAA’s intent to allow an AMTS to have a single location.”
The conclusion suggests the agency misunderstood ATEC’s request. ATEC did not ask for the FAA to allow for an AMTS satellite location, it asked that the FAA take a new approach through utilization of operations specifications, one that would not require formal rulemaking and allow greater flexibility and bypass widespread confusion that will undoubtedly arise if the agency’s regulatory proposals in the part 147 NPRM and SNPRM come to fruition.
ATEC’s September letter was followed by extensive in person discussions with regulators at its annual Fly-in. Even given the seeming agreement with ATEC’s position at that time, the agency has refused to implement—or even properly address—ATEC’s proposed solution.
In ATEC's most recent member survey, FAA-imposed limitations was cited as one of the top barriers to development of AMTS-high school dual enrollment programs.
ATEC will not be deterred. Indeed, if passed, the PARTT 147 Act would force agency adoption of the proposed framework, despite the reluctance. That bill continues to garner additional support from legislative leaders, following recent visits to the Hill from a group of ATEC representatives. Join the effort, contact your representatives and encourage them to support the bill.
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.