Southern Utah University seeks exemption
Immediate Application of Airman Certification Standards
New Part 147 allows focus to specific Industry Needs
Recently noted here, US Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have introduced a bill (S. 2792). This bill was proposed at the behest of the industry(20 associations, spearheaded by the Aviation Technician Education Council) and the goal is to improve training programs at aviation maintenance technician schools by mandating that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issue a revised 14 CFR Part 147, by updating the standards and curricula for AMT training schools.
Southern Utah University, Department of Aviation Sciences, a member of ATEC, did not wait for Congress or the FAA to act. Brilliantly, SUU submitted a petition for exemption from the aforementioned Part 147 and substitute temporarily, while the NPRM process slowly grinds, the ARAC developed new program.
The petition can be viewed by this link and here is one quote
“Aviation maintenance technician schools with curriculums that emulate
industry realities and adequately prepare students for much needed
positions will be better equipped to attract students to careers in aircraft
maintenance, create job growth, and enhance an industry that already
greatly benefits the public.”
The SUU proposed and ATEC endorsed curriculum is based on the new Airman Certification Standards (ACS). ACS is based on the work of industry, educators and government officials. The framework covers the knowledge and skills required of today’s A&P mechanic.
SUU Aviation Director of Maintenance Jared Britt made comments which reflect the FAA’s current collaboration, cooperation and individuation. The new SMS approach and the philosophy behind the new Part 23 avoid the “one size fits all” of the old FARs’ structure. He explained, ““The ACS removes antiquated subject areas and adds new elements we believe are important…While our peers in Alaska may need mechanics well-versed on dope and fabric, we will better serve our students in Utah if we use that time to focus on troubleshooting, human factors, avionics or rotorcraft.”
By focusing the course of study on the skill sets required for the position, the education reduces irrelevant materials and thus produces a qualified graduate more quickly and better trained. The antiquated Part 147 curriculum consumed teaching time and superfluous investment in expensive teaching equipment. The SUU exemption, if granted, and the ACS Part 147, will increase the graduation of highly qualified mechanics in less time and at lower costs.
ATEC voiced its support for “any innovative solution that will enable AMTS to provide quality programs, despite static curriculum requirements that do not reflect the needs of today’s employers.” Such substantive support should help the FAA and may help expedite the process.
Further, the fact that SUU is an ongoing program with a large alumni population from their aviation program should provide the FAA with an objective basis for judging their existing educational competence, thus minimizing the risk of poor quality. The FAA should notice that SUU has an ab initio pilot training with SkyWest.
In a perfect regulatory world, the criteria and curriculum requested by SUU would be available to all, now. The brilliance of the exemption request is not only will it expedite these improvements at SUU, but its goal, testing the concepts in a real world situation is exactly why Congress granted the FAA the power to make such temporary changes (there’s case law on point).
Go SUU Thunderbirds
This more focused ACS regimen should stimulate aviation companies to collaborate with their local community colleges to graduate much needed, well-trained AMTs for their good paying jobs.
P.S. SUU sent a team to the Aviation Maintenance Competition:
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