One of the biggest hurdles keeping aviation technician school graduates from earning certification is access to FAA-designated examiners--and the issue is only getting more challenging.
The most recent ATEC Pipeline Report showed 40% of graduates do not take the exam necessary to receive FAA mechanic certification. That's up 10% from just a few years ago.
The issue, which remains one of the council's top regulatory priorities, is on the FAA's radar. The agency plans to expand its Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program to include delegated examiners, but progress has been slow. In early May, the council wrote to FAA Acting Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety David Boulter to reiterate the issue's importance to the aviation maintenance community--and the need to act fast.
"Five years ago, the agency called a meeting with industry stakeholders to discuss a planned expansion to the ODA program that would allow air agency certificate holders (including part 147 schools) to manage their own testing delegates, greatly expanding capacity to meet student testing demand," ATEC wrote. "Since then, industry has eagerly awaited the welcomed change; unfortunately, the policy approval process has stalled while testing capacity challenges have grown worse."
The FAA's plan is to revise the Airman Certification ODA Order (8100.15) to include examiners. But a timeline provided several years ago is slipping. ATEC's letter asks for an updated schedule and urges "expeditious expansion" of the ODA program "to include examiner delegations."
Read the full letter here.
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