Avionics News October 2019 - 17

It is important to understand that within the Federal Aviation
Administration regulatory system, as well as the European
Union Aviation Safety Agency regulatory system, the concept
of an apprenticeship is fully supported by the regulations.

realistic. As Boeing articulates in its forecast: "The aviation
industry will need to adopt innovative training solutions to
enable optimum learning and knowledge retention." Fortunately,
the regulations support innovative labor solutions.
Most of us are familiar with aviation maintenance technician
schools that are supported by Part 147 in most of the regulatory
authorities. But it is important to understand that within the
Federal Aviation Administration regulatory system, as well as
the European Union Aviation Safety Agency regulatory system,
the concept of an apprenticeship is fully supported by the
regulations. This is a critical element for (1) meeting the basic
needs of the existing industry, (2) meeting the needs for the
new and novel technology of UAS and urban air mobility, and
(3) keeping up the pace of continuing education with the new
technologies being introduced.
Within both the United States and Europe, the experience
requirements for the issuance of a mechanic certificate
recognizes "practical experience" in lieu of a graduation
certificate from a certificated aviation maintenance technician
school. In addition, with regards to the FAA, the eligibility
requirements for the issuance of a repairman certificate also
recognizes practical experience in lieu of formal training.
When we look for the needs of aviation, we tend to look
to the four largest technician populations: Texas, Florida,
California and Georgia, each state with more than 10,000
technicians. But what about the other states? All the Northeast
states combined barely account for 10,000 technicians. The four
lowest aviation populations have fewer than 200 technicians
within a state. If you're located in one of the high-population
states, you find yourself with a tight, competitive work
environment. If you're located in the low-population states, you
are trying to get someone to move to your location. And if you
are fortunate enough to recruit a certificated applicant, you will
likely have to qualify them for your particular customer base.
So how do you set up an apprenticeship program?

For the avionics technicians, your association is a good place
to start. The Aircraft Electronics Association has many useful
tools for the training and qualifying of your new hires. As
you read this, we are in the middle of the 2019 AEA Connect
Conference season where you can receive product-specific
training (as well as regulatory, of course). And as you begin to
look toward your 2020 budget, the annual AEA International
Convention & Trade Show provides nearly 100 hours of
technical training ranging from basic to advanced, as well as
regulatory and business sessions. And if that isn't enough,
or maybe the new hire is truly an apprentice and needs basic
training and education, the AEA provides basic electronics and
avionics training in-house throughout the year.
The regulations are the next solid source for an
apprenticeship structure. The curricula structure for AMT
schools is contained in Part 147 for the U.S. and Part 66
for Europe. Both provide a solid foundation of "what" a
good apprenticeship program might entail. I'll use the FAA
regulations as an example; however, this process works well in
most domains.
First, you must consider the teaching levels. I have heard
for years that the FAA regulations are so out of date because
they still include "dope and fabric." They do; however, they
are to a level 1 requirement, which is "knowledge of general
principles but no practical application." And the instruction is
in a classroom, not a lab. Most instructional items are to a level
2, which includes knowledge of general principles and limited
practical application; development of sufficient manipulative
skill to perform basic operations; and, instruction by lecture,
demonstration, discussion, and limited practical application.
There are a few topics taught to a level 3 that requires both
a higher knowledge of general principles as well as a high
degree of practical application. Without an understanding of the
Continued on page 80
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Avionics News October 2019

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