Industry Viewpoint

Let’s take the path of professional advancement


Training, really?

Training … (noun) acquiring of skill, the process of teaching or learning a skill or job.

Not surprising, our technical education is branded on us as training from the very beginning. To gain a foothold in professional advancement we need to stop, think, change our lexicon, and teach others who we really are, aviation maintenance professionals.

We spend two years (1,900 hours) learning the basic FAA Part 147 regulated curriculum followed by oral tests, written tests, and practical tests after going in hock to the tune of 33K, 50K if you attach an associate degree to the mix. We are then told by everyone in the aviation industry this is training. We buy it.

Then after three years experience in the industry we take a deep dive into the CFR 14 Part whatever they throw at us followed by yet another round of written and oral tests conducted by the very government body that regulates us to gain our IA certificate having spent some more precious coin. Once again we were trained.

If that is a reasonable start many spend more time and effort to gain their own FCC GROL to prove they have an understanding of avionics. Too bad the FAA never recognized that especially to the ones who gained their FCC 2nd Class followed by a 1st Class FCC with a radar endorsement. These folks spent another fortune plus two more years of time still not being endorsed by anyone in the aviation industry except the airlines who sometimes paid as much as 50 cents per hour for this highly won prize. Oh yeah, some get another associate degree from it.

Yet we are still told and we believe this is training.

Through this gauntlet we ran … no education for our careers but being highly training! Much to the credit of airlines I’ve stored over 2-inch-thick books of training accomplished by my peers produced when I hired them. That training took more than 10 years to accomplish. Much to the credit of general aviation’s elite corporate flight departments we gain another 2-inch-thick book of certificates over 10 sometimes 30 years. Still we are trained.

I’m still not through. Today there comes through much toil and effort the first industry-certified avionics technician program via a trustful and dedicated few called NCATT, the National Center of Aerospace and Transportation Technologies originally sponsored by none other than the National Science Foundation. There’s another article to write about the need for industry sponsorship of this very special entity but someone will have to call me and ask to write it. It is a keystone of our professional advance plan. Many of you write Eli Cotti at NBAA and ask for training advice or how Project Bootstrap is doing or where you get training for Project Bootstrap. PB is the professional career advancement program offered by the NBAA Maintenance Committee, which I currently have the honor of chairing.

Not through yet. I have not yet mentioned the many who have gained composite repair certification, welding certification, NDT certification at three different levels, inspection certification, human factors training, MRO required recurrent training, military aviation training for rank and job position, flight training and FAA FAASTeam training. Kudos to my new aviation department team partners for recently accomplishing on boarding training as new hires at our corporate flight department and flight technician training. The same to the high seniority technicians at the flight department I work for. They are planning advanced Master Avionics education called training to gain their NCATT AET certificates. There is also management training and NBAA CAM training. I could add much more but that would be piling on, ready for NextGen?

Education, now we’re talking

Education … (noun) the imparting and acquiring of knowledge through teaching and learning.

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