Southern Utah’s Part 147 exemption should be granted

SUU campus, planes, hangars,helicopter
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Maintenance School Seeks Exemption from Outdated Curriculum Rules

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 AMT shortage posterthe 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 program director

Jared Britt

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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3 Comments on "Southern Utah’s Part 147 exemption should be granted"

  1. This article is full of emotional arguments and presents no factual examples of its claims. The validity of the claims is never empirically established. This is not an emotionally intelligent approach. I’d like to see a more responsible advocacy. NM_FlyBoy

  2. NM-FlyBoy; thanks for your comment. The text contains no emotion (perhaps “Go Thunderbird” qualifies as emotion) and the underlying research and development for the new Part 147 provides much objective data and rationales.

  3. As a current Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) I have concerns about the exemption to change the current curriculum to an unapproved ACS standard that is not linked to the new part 147 rule that has not been released. The FAA publishes the Practical Test Standard (PTS) this is currently linked to DME testing standard which there are 862 possible practical projects that all DMEs must follow. The current PTS is linked directly to the FAA handbook series 8083 for mechanic testing.

    There is no guidance available for DMEs on the new ASC standard or any links to the FAA handbooks 8083 for the ASC in the mechanic handbooks. If this exemption is allowed the students could test with any DME that is required to test them at the current PTS standards not some untested curriculum not tied to current standards and the pass-fail rate will surely climb. This is not only a disservice to the students, DMEs but the public as a whole.

    Since there is no ASC curriculum standard tied to part 147 rules how will the DMEs download a testing planning sheet for projects and the oral test questions? This exemption will require DMEs to test at two different standards one that is proven and one that is unknown. And how will a DME know what standard an applicant trained under? Currently, there is no block on the FAA form 8610-2 to inform the DME of what standard a student was trained to. The exemption will cause confusion and possible improperly trained and tested mechanics at large.

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