Regulatory Priorities

ATEC consistently advocates for common-sense regulations with executive branch personnel, engaging particularly with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Education officials. ATEC's specific regulatory priorities are outlined below:

  • Support Continued Implementation of the New Regulation for FAA-Certificated Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools (AMTS). ATEC remains actively engaged in the ongoing development of policy and guidance to support compliance and enforcement of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 147 (effective Sept. 21, 2022). The council will continue to collaborate with agency officials to refine guidance, provide feedback on inspector training, and make recommendations for necessary “outcomes” reports. This ongoing engagement aims to ensure a seamless and standardized approach to government oversight and certificate holder compliance.
  • Ensure regular and reliable updates to the mechanic Airman Certification Standard. A new certification standard now drives curriculum and testing to ensure both are in alignment. But certification standards are inadequate for today's industry needs. The council will continually engage with the FAA and our industry partners to recommend changes to the standard that will close the gap between certification standards and industry requirements.
  • Expand access to FAA airman testing. Forty percent of aviation technician school graduates do not take the exam necessary to receive FAA mechanic certification—testing inaccessibility is one of the primary obstacles. Mechanic candidates endure extended wait times for written tests while educational institutions encounter denials or extended delays and stringent approval prerequisites for on-site testing centers. Compounding the situation is the scarcity of Designated Mechanic Examiners (DMEs) available to conduct oral and practical assessments, with some FAA field offices resisting approval of additional DMEs given oversight resource constraints. ATEC is calling on the agency to increase access to written test centers and expand its Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program to include examiner delegations—something the FAA has committed to do since 2018—which would allow schools to manage FAA testing delegates and meet student demand.
  • Create certification efficiency through systematic reforms. Currently, DMEs input redundant information across three systems for a single oral and practical test. Mechanic applicants and examiners operate outside the web-based system used for other airman certifications, leading to mailed applications due to the absence of electronic signature capabilities. Unlike their pilot counterparts, mechanic examiners lack comparable discretion during exams, resulting in standardized oral questions often irrelevant to the practical project at hand. ATEC urges the agency to transition mechanic applications to a web-based platform and grant DMEs equivalent discretion in examinations as enjoyed by pilot counterparts, streamlining processes and improving relevance in testing procedures. 
  • Provide mechanic trainees the opportunity to take a portion of the FAA mechanic test earlier in their training cycle, to support and encourage aviation maintenance programs in high school. Under the current regulatory framework, non-certificated aviation maintenance programs may not—unlike their pilot program counterparts—refer their students to an FAA-approved testing center to take the general written knowledge test. This is a disadvantage to high school maintenance programs who cannot take advantage of the generally adopted consensus that individuals completing a portion of required testing earlier in the training cycle are more likely to ultimately become certified. The council will work with the agency to make certification pathways available earlier in the training cycle.
  • Implement initiatives that will expedite service member transition into civil aviation careers. ATEC estimates the civil aviation industry is capturing less than 10 percent of exiting veterans with aviation maintenance experience. More can and should be done to ease the burden experienced by veterans with valuable experience but no clear path to civilian certification. The council asks the FAA to create a military competency exam that will provide a pathway to mechanic certification for existing servicemen and women, similar to the pathway available to military pilots.