A coalition of 40 stakeholders representing all segments of the aviation and travel industries sent a letter to congressional leaders in support of the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019 (H.R. 1108).
The legislation would provide FAA funding in the event of a government shutdown, enabling the agency to draw from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) in the event of a lapse.
"Jobs and economic growth in the industry were threatened as manufacturers, airlines and other operators, and small businesses faced disruption. The effect on the nation’s air transportation system and the workers charged with keeping the system safe was dramatic," the letter reads.
"We find this situation to be unacceptable and we want to work with Congress and the Administration to prevent this from ever happening again," the letter continues. "The legislation is designed to provide a limited, targeted way of ensuring stability for the aviation system and it does not change congressional direction or oversight in any way."
According to the coalition, the AATF currently has a balance of more than $6 billion.
In a letter to Department of Transportation and Office of Management and Budget leadership, an industry coalition asked the administration to request full funding of the new grant programs signed into law last year. Under the law, Congress can appropriate up to $5 million for each of two new grant programs designed to attract technicians and pilots.
Once implemented, grants may be used for scholarships, apprenticeships, establishing new training programs, purchasing equipment for schools and supporting career transition for members of the armed forces.
Members are urged to reach out to congressional leaders, especially if they have a seat on appropriations committees, in support of the funding the programs. Get information on your elected leaders and their committee assignments at www.govtrack.us/congress/members/map.
On Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 1:00 PM CT, ATEC will present a webinar briefing members on developments in avionics certifications.
Early this year, in response to a petition from the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), the FAA formally recognized ASTM International's National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies (NCATT) Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) certification as equivalent to formal training when showing eligibility for the issuance of a repairman certificate. Get a briefing on what that means for graduating students leaving with the certification, initiatives underway, and how schools can become ASTM NCATT Approved Training Providers.
Steve Kane, Executive Director, CerTec
Ric Peri, Vice President of Government & Industry Affairs, Aircraft Electronics Association
Michael McDaniel, Director of Aviation Programs, Alabama Community College System
The webinar is free to members. Advance registration is required.
For years, ATEC has partnered with the Northrop Rice Foundation to recognize outstanding educators, and promising aviation maintenance professionals. New this year, JSfirm.com will generously contribute a $750 cash award to each honoree.
The James Reardon Aviation Maintenance Technician Student of the Year Award and Ivan D. Livi Aviation Maintenance Educator of the Year Award recognize individuals who - through academic excellence, community involvement or professional skill - makes a direct, positive impact on their associates, school or community. Honorees will be recognized at the ATEC Annual Conference awards luncheon on Monday, March 18.
In addition to the cash award, winners receive a plaque, complimentary registration, and travel reimbursement to the ATEC annual conference, being held March 17-20 in Wichita.
On Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 1:00 PM CT, ATEC will present a webinar addressing English training for aviation maintenance, and the need for a specialized branch of Workplace English that is customized to job performance.
Speaker Anne E. Lomperis, MA in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), is a specialist in language planning and language policy for the labor force, serving in 20 countries across a wide range of industry sectors. She spearheaded a nine-year initiative to develop international standards, or best practices, in workplace language training. These best practices provide guidance for customization to job performance. She has been involved in Aviation English since initial discussions to form the Study Group for Proficiency Requirements in Common English (PRICE-SG), under the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). She focuses now on advancing the development of Aviation English for maintenance.
Anne will also present on the subject at the upcoming ATEC Annual Conference in Wichita. The Jan. 29 webinar is free for ATEC members. Advanced registration is required.
ATEC joined industry allies urging the president and congressional leaders to end the U.S. government shutdown.
In its plea, the coalition highlighted the negative impacts created by personnel furloughs, including the degradation of moral for FAA personnel, the halting of certification and regulatory reform activities, hinderance and delays for mechanic testing, and stalls in workforce personnel training.
The letter made specific mention of mechanic testing delays, stating that FAA personnel furloughs are hindering knowledge testing activities, and preventing some designated mechanic examiners from getting requisite approvals from local office personnel to commence oral and practical testing.
"This partial shutdown has already inflicted real damage to our nation’s aviation system and the impacts will only worsen over time,'' the letter says. "We urge you to act quickly to resolve these issues.''
Of the nearly 45,000 FAA personnel, roughly two thirds are currently working without pay, nearly all of those in air traffic control.
Written testing centers have been closed since 12/26 due to the lapse in government funding. The FAA Office of Safety Standards reports that it is in the processes of getting them back up and running. Written testing should resume by Jan. 3.
Military testing, which is done through the FAA’s AKTD System, will remain suspended as long as the furlough is in effect.
If you are having issues with student testing during the shutdown, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Jay Johnson, National Secretary/Treasurer
Phone: (720) 744-6632
The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association National Executive Council is accepting applications for two scholarships. Scholarships will be $2500, payable to each recipient’s institution of higher learning. To qualify, applicants must be enrolled as a student in an A&P school, a U.S. citizen, and a demonstrated passion for the craft.
Completed applications must be submitted along with a transcript and 500-word essay entitled “safety in the air begins with quality maintenance on the ground."
Founded in 1962, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association is a craft oriented, independent aviation union. AMFA represents licensed and unlicensed technicians and related employees actively involved in the aviation industry. These technician and related employees work directly on aircraft and/or components, support equipment, and facilities. AMFA is committed to elevating the professional standing of technicians and to achieving progressive improvements in wages, benefits, and working conditions of the skilled craftsmen and women it represents. For more information about AMFA visit www.amfanational.org.
Industry Making Progress Filling Aviation Maintenance Technician Gap, But Pace Of Success Must Accelerate To Avoid Shortages, Report Finds
The aviation maintenance industry continues to face both internal and external challenges as it strives to ensure it has enough technicians to keep aircraft flying in the coming years, including excess capacity at technical schools and the perceived attraction of other industries over aviation. But efforts to reverse these trends are gaining traction, a new status report on the report the aviation maintenance technician (AMT) career pipeline concludes.
The report, based on data collected by Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC), found that mechanics continue to retire faster than they are being replaced. ATEC’s model projects that, absent a shift in pipeline development and retirement trends, the mechanic population will decrease 5% in the next 15 years.
New entrants make up 2% of the population annually, while 30% of the workforce is at or near retirement age—figures that are similar to findings in the 2017 ATEC Pipeline Report. Meanwhile, forecasts by the U.S. government and Boeing continue to forecast a need for thousands of additional mechanics in the next 10-20 years.
Among the most obvious solutions: increase enrollment at AMT schools. Today, only 1 in 2 seats in technical schools are taken, meaning that an additional 17,000 students can be accommodated immediately without any school expansion. Compounding the issue: a high rate of graduates go on to use their skills in non-aviation jobs, meaning leakage from within the pipeline is also an issue.
The 2018 report offered evidence that efforts to reverse these trends are paying off, however. In 2017, the number of students choosing non-aviation jobs over their aviation counterpart dropped by nearly half over the previous year, to 13%. More good news: seventy percent of A&P students are taking the FAA mechanic exam upon graduation, a 10-point increase over the previous two years.
While the data suggests progress on several fronts, industry must do more to both replace retiring workers and accommodate anticipate demand. The study shows that 30% of the mechanic population is age 60 or above, a 3% increase from last year. Combined with Boeing’s projection of 189,000 additional technicians needed by 2037 to support North America’s commercial and business aviation needs, AMTS—which produce most of new-entrant mechanics—will have to increase their combined output by 30% to meet demand.
“While industry is making progress, there is clearly more work to do,” said Crystal Maguire, ATEC executive director. “Schools are ramping up recruitment activities and expect enrollment to increase. But there is still significant opportunity for industry employers to help define career paths and attract more students into the pipeline—students that they will need as technicians in the coming years.”
Attracting more female candidates continues to be a major opportunity. The FAA airman database includes 293,000 certificated mechanics. Females make up 2.4% of the certificate mechanic workforce—a figure that has been constant for 15 years.
Successful efforts to fill the pipeline will create other challenges. Hiring and maintaining qualified instructors is the number one threat to increased enrollments, the report found. Negative perceptions and a lack of career awareness is also adversely impacting student recruitment efforts, lending further credence to the idea that the time is ripe for development of a national campaign to increase knowledge and understanding of aviation technical careers.
“There are many effective programs that connect employers and schools, and provide exposure for the aviation maintenance field as a stable, technologically advanced career,” said ATEC President and Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics Director of Campus Operations Gary Hoyle. “However, there is an opportunity to make these programs even stronger, by supporting them with an over-arching national effort, led by industry stakeholders.”
ATEC is involved in several grassroots efforts that connect aspiring technicians with employers and to spread the word of aviation’s value as a career path. Its latest is the Choose Aerospace effort (www.chooseaerospace.org), a coalition of industry stakeholders dedicated to a broad outreach campaign to quantify staffing needs and promote aerospace technical careers. ATEC also hold a series of briefings and networking events at its annual conference, scheduled for March 17-20 in Wichita. More information at www.atec-amt.org/annual-conference.
Other notable findings provided in the report:
Download the Pipeline Report at www.atec-amt.org/pipeline-report.
As reported in the recent ATEC Pipeline Report, 30% of A&P school graduates do not take the exam necessary to receive a mechanic certificate. Access to practical testing examiners was identified as one of the top barriers for students seeking FAA mechanic certification. An ATEC contingency recently joined FAA officials to discuss one possible solution to the testing bottleneck.
The agency is considering organization designation authorization (ODA) for practical testing. That means that a school (or other properly certificated entity) could create its own quality system to manage a group of designated mechanic examiners (DME), alleviating the need for FAA oversight of each individual DME.
The system would free up FAA resources while expanding the DME workforce. FAA officials in charge of the potential expansion to the existing ODA program will present more information at the upcoming ATEC Annual Conference.
For more information, see related story that published in the December edition of Aviation Week's InsideMRO, FAA Considers Organization Designation Authorization For Practical Testing.
The Aircraft Electronics Association will award more than 20 scholarships totaling more than $125,000 for the 2019-20 school year to students pursuing a career in avionics or aircraft maintenance, as well as students from AEA member companies.
Since its inception, the AEA scholarship program has awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships. Numerous awards are available, ranging from $1,000 to more than $35,000 each.
The deadline to submit applications for the 2019-20 academic year is April 1, 2019.
Learn more at https://aea.net/educationalfoundation/scholarships.asp.
BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today launched a new digital curriculum for high-school students, parents and educators as part of Generation Beyond, its free, online STEM education program used in thousands of U.S. classrooms. The new Generation Beyond: Aviation curriculum includes video challenges, a virtual field trip to Lockheed Martin's famous Skunk Works® and surprise STEM lab takeovers in select U.S. high schools.
"Generation Beyond: Aviation uses the excitement of aerospace to inspire and educate high school students about STEM careers," said Michele Evans, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics business. "We're challenging high school students to think differently, take risks, innovate and collaborate – skills that are necessary to succeed in today's high-tech economy."
The new Generation Beyond: Aviation curriculum puts students in the shoes of scientists and engineers to tackle real-world technology challenges – from fighting wildfires to making flight suits for military pilots safer. Students will learn about a range of cutting-edge technology areas, apply critical thinking skills, discover the exciting work that a STEM career can offer and hear directly from people who are doing that exciting work today.
The curriculum's Virtual Field Trip: Think Like the Skunk Works® will premiere live from Palmdale, California on Tues., Dec. 4, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT. Students will travel virtually to Lockheed Martin's famous Skunk Works, go behind the scenes, and meet some of the "skunks" pioneering technologies that will change the future of flight. Educators, classrooms and communities can register for the virtual field trip at generationbeyondinschool.com.
As part of Generation Beyond: Aviation, Lockheed Martin will also surprise select high school classrooms in multiple U.S. communities in early 2019 with STEM challenges. Lockheed Martin engineers and scientists will visit classrooms, work alongside students to complete "top-secret" missions and engage them in the interesting work STEM careers offer.
Lockheed Martin launched Generation Beyond in 2016 in partnership with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms.
In addition to supporting STEM educators and developing career-focused STEM education curriculum like Generation Beyond, Lockheed Martin has directed $50 million in previously announced tax reform savings to fund STEM scholarships over the next five years, and $100 million to ensure our existing employees are prepared for jobs of the future through education and training opportunities.
This month, the FAA notified the public of changes made to the written test bank (as further explained in revised sample exams and the latest "what's new" document).
The FAA, in collaboration with industry representatives, are currently reviewing the knowledge test bank to ensure correlation with imminent Mechanic Airman Certification Standards. Through an exam review board "boarding" process, some questions in the test bank have been removed or archived. The agency has also stated that some questions have been reassigned from the general test bank to the airframe test bank. In addition:
The council continues to work through the ACS working group to ensure a documented and transparent process for creating, vetting and revising test bank questions. The FAA is currently utilizing the ACS to review and edit the test bank. ATEC Treasurer and Embry-Riddle University Aviation Maintenance Science Department Chairman Chuck Horning is the industry representative on that review board.
Members are encouraged to provide feedback on student experiences while the test bank undergoes revision to coincide with the new ACS. Send comments to email@example.com.
The Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) is conducting a survey of US-based educational institutions with aviation technical programs. The submission deadline is Nov. 7.
The purpose of the survey is to assess key trends in aviation maintenance education, gather demographics of the entering workforce, support industry recruitment programs and initiatives, and guide future association activities and priorities.
The survey was delivered to the primary contact at each institution, schools are asked to make one submission per location. For those institutions with multiple campuses, survey response requests were sent to the primary contact at each location. If your school did not receive an invitation to participate or would like to confirm your school's primary contact, please email ATEC.
Aggregate results will be published in the ATEC Pipeline Report, participating schools will be listed in that report. Specific identifying information regarding programs offered, current enrollment, graduation expectations and dates will also be included in ATEC’s online school directory.
Since data from various sources may be required to complete the survey, respondents are advised to collect information before beginning an electronic submission. To aid those efforts, a PDF version of the questionnaire is available here.
The Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance is now accepting applications for 2019 awards and scholarships. Applications must be submitted online by Nov. 1.
Last year, AWAM awarded $140,000 in scholarships to 30 recipients. With the assistance of corporate sponsors, this program continues to grow to support the industry and the needs of the future.
Scholarship opportunities are not only for initial students or women. Many are for those already working in the field, transitioning from the military, and for men as well.
For more information and to apply, visit http://www.awam.org/scholarships/.
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.
ATEC joined 32 industry allies calling on the U.S. Senate to expedite its consideration of FAA reauthorization legislation.
The effort, led by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, implored Senate leaders to provide a long-term authorization for agency activities and programs, stating "The aerospace industry needs dependable authority from the FAA and policymakers to continue to provide the highest level of service for aviation customers and meet the needs of the aviation industry and workforce."
The coalition pointed to unrest created by incessant short-term extensions, and praised efforts by committee leadership to move a five-year funding bill.
Once the legislation is passed, Senate and House leaders will need to resolve any outstanding differences between the two bills, before the current authority for FAA activities expires on September 30.
On March 13, ATEC members will crisscross the nation’s capital to meet with members of Congress on issues impacting aviation maintenance technician education. Get prepared by scheduling meetings with your senators and representatives in advance. ATEC will tell you how.
Register for the ATEC Fly-In preparation webinar, taking place Aug. 16 at 1:00 CT.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
In a letter to leaders of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, 29 organizations urged that legislation to create a new aviation maintenance workforce development program be included the Senate’s FAA reauthorization package.
The workforce bill, S. 2506, was introduced in March by a bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.). It would create a new grant program administered by the FAA to attract and train the next generation of aviation technical workers. Twenty-one senators have cosponsored S. 2506. A parallel House bill (H.R. 5701) introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), has 16 cosponsors.
The July 20 letter was coordinated by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association and signed by 28 allied organizations representing maintainers, airlines, manufacturers, business and general aviation, schools, labor and communities with significant aviation sectors.
FAA legislation is expected on the Senate floor in the coming weeks.
Over $21,000 has been added to the coffers of the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association Scholarship Program so far this year to aid prospective pilots and aviation maintenance technicians to pursue what has become an costly career objective.
During the association’s annual spring meeting in April, the golf tournament, silent auction and personal donations set a record in raising more than $8,190 which will be awarded to three deserving students at $2,000 each at the association’s board meeting in November. In addition, two additional scholarships, for $2500 each, will be awarded to UPS interns.
The scholarships, including the association’s newest – the Richard Mills Memorial Scholarship –will go to college students currently enrolled in an aviation program who is a resident of the US. Eligibility includes a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants for the UPS Intern Scholarship must meet the same requirements but must also be a UPS intern.
The RACCA Aviation Scholarship is designed to promote and assist in making aviation a career choice and to make students aware of the opportunities in the air cargo industry. Scholarship funds may be used for tuition, flight training, or to obtain new or additional licenses.
Applications can now be submitted online where scholarship requirements can be found, including a 200- to 400-word essay and letters of recommendation.
A new feature on the RACCA scholarship website includes the ability to donate to the scholarship fund online.
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.