Within just the past decade, aircraft have seen a huge overhaul on the types of technology that has been used to construct them. The reliance on electronics and engine technology has become a huge part of the advancements that have created aircraft we know and use frequently today, such as the Boeing 787 or the Airbus A380.
However, as aircraft technology continues to trek forward, the education of those who maintenance these powerful aircraft has lagged behind. The last time the FAA has made a major change to the regulations of Part 147 of education requirements for aviation maintenance technician schools (AMTSs) came in April of 1970. Minor changes were made to the rules in 1992 covering basic curriculum requirements.
Finally, the FAA is planning to make another large revamp of these regulations to bring the education of AMTs up to speed.
“Since the 1992 rule changes, the industry has produced larger, state-of-the-art transport aircraft (such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380) that incorporate very advanced technologies and complex systems. Similar advancements in technology have also evolved in all other levels of aircraft such as general aviation aircraft and business aircraft,” the FAA explained in the NPRM’s preamble. “The FAA has also not updated Part 147 to account for recent advances in rotorcraft technology, composites, unmanned aerial vehicles, glass panels, light sport aircraft, and the spread of electronics into every other aspect of aircraft.”
In order to increase the educational requirements, the FAA’s change to Part 147 includes increasing the general and airframe work by 50 hours each and reducing powerplant hours to 650. There are additional detailed course requirements for AMTS’s.
These new educational requirements are aimed to better prepare AMT’s for real work experience. “Since A&P mechanics that are newly graduated from aviation maintenance technician schools lack the skills to work on modern aircraft, officials at some major airlines said they are reluctant to hire them directly from school,” the Government Accountability Office report said. The updated course requirements and hours will make recent graduates of AMTS’s more hirable in the work force, instead of having companies hire uncertified technicians as the often do today.