Developing technical knowledge and skill standards

NCATT is moving full speed ahead and the aerospace industry is its driving force. The support and participation of the industry has led to continued success of accomplishing the NCATT mission: To provide a forum through which subject matter experts from industry, government, and education develop technical knowledge and skill standards.

NCATT stands for the National Center for Aircraft Technician Training and was established through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

NCATT strives to be recognized as the premiere resource for the aerospace industry in the creation of knowledge and skill standards, certifications, and accreditations for training providers. NCATT has been working with industry since 1999 and the industry has witnessed its labor come to fruition when the first Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) was certified in March 2006. Since then the number of certified AETs has grown to more than 350 technicians nationally. These technicians cover the scope of the aerospace industry to include civil and military manufacturers, commercial flight operations, corporate flight departments, repair stations, service centers, fixed base operators (FBO), and military and transport category operations.

AET certification
The NCATT AET certification is available nationally and in select foreign locations through our testing partner, PSI LaserGrade. The AET certification is the core certification requirement for the area of aircraft electronics/avionics. In order to obtain the specified endorsements in this field, the technician must first pass the AET. The first endorsement to become available for the AET is radio communications. This endorsement is in the final stages of development and will be available to the public in the fall of 2008. Three additional endorsements are also in the latter stages of development. These AET endorsements are onboard communications and safety systems, autonomous navigation systems, and dependent navigation systems. Next on the list for AET endorsements is the area of installation/integration. This area will be comprised of four endorsements: installation/integration planning, mechanical installation and removal, electrical installation, and installation/integration final checks and documentation. These endorsements represent just a few of the subjects to be covered in this field. NCATT will continue to enhance the AET certification with future endorsements in advanced digital, autopilot, bench, enhanced vision, flight management systems, in flight entertainment, instruments, power generation/distribution, surveillance, and weather and terrain awareness.

Addressing industry needs
NCATT also has the capability to respond to needs identified in other areas of the aerospace industry. These areas include maintenance, manufacturing, repair and overhaul, including advanced and specialized standards addressing airframe, powerplant, and safety. NCATT has taken the initial step of addressing areas outside of aircraft electronics/avionics at the request of manufacturers led by Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

This industry-led initiative addresses the need for standards, certifications, and educational programs to combat the $4 billion problem created by Foreign Object Damage (FOD). This request evolved into the industrywide standard in Foreign Object Elimination (FOE) — Elements of Basic Awareness. This standard was developed based on NAS 412, the primary guideline used by the Department of Defense to address the issues of FOD. By utilizing the NCATT process, the industry has adopted standards and created resources, and it is developing a certification that will be available in fall 2008.

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