US Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a bill to improve training programs at aviation maintenance technician schools. If enacted, the statute would require Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) promulgation of a new part 147 within six months. The regulation that governs aviation maintenance technician schools has not been significantly revised since it was re-codified into the Code of Federal Regulations in 1962.
Industry has fought long and hard for a revision to part 147, which dictates static curriculum requirements for schools teaching future aviation mechanics. Over the past decade, representatives have provided specific recommendations through a 2007 Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, proposed regulatory language in its comments to the 2015 notice of proposed rulemaking, responded to additional requests for information through submission of supplemental comments and facilitation of surveys, and participated in working groups that will improve mechanic testing standards and correlated training programs.
"While the education community will continue to lend support, and appreciates the time and effort required for well thought out and monitored rulemaking, it refuses to sit by and wait for regulatory relief while industry and our students continue to pay for outdated training regulations," said ATEC Legislative Chairman and Southern Utah University Director of Maintenance Jared Britt.
This is not the first time congress has pushed for a new rule. In the last three years, congressional representatives have sent four letters to the agency requesting a status update. "It was time we did something more than just inquire, and we are grateful that our elected leaders are taking the next step," said Britt.
An industry coalition—spearheaded by ATEC—sent a letter in support of the bill, asking Congress to support the future aviation workforce, in support of an industry constantly driving for more innovative, safer and more efficient aircraft. Signatories of the letter included:
Aeronautical Repair Station Association
Aerospace Industries Association
Aerospace Maintenance Council
Aircraft Electronics Association
Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association
Airlines for America
Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance
Aviation Maintenance Technician Association
Aviation Suppliers Association
Aviation Technician Education Council
Cargo Airline Association
Helicopter Association International
International Air Transport Association
Modification and Replacement Parts Association
National Air Carrier Association
National Air Transportation Association
National Business Aviation Association, Inc.
Professional Aviation Maintenance Association
Regional Airline Association
Women in Aviation International
The statute would also require that curriculum be revised and updated in coordination with emerging aviation maintenance technician airman certification standards, something an industry working group helping to develop the new standard has already recommended.
While the text has not been officially published as of the date of this post, it will soon be available at www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/2792?r=6.
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