While at a recent IA renewal meeting in Kansas City, I was sitting in the audience listening to a presentation on entering M&D reports online. The FAA representative asked the audience the question, “Has anyone used the online form for entering M&D reports yet?” Incredibly, out of the 400+ individuals in the audience, not one raised their hand!
It occurred to me that, although we are having good success with visitors to our web site and with our online IA renewal program, there still is great reluctance from the aircraft maintenance community to take full advantage of resources now available online. I then thought to myself, “With so many resources at a mechanic’s fingertips (free of charge in most cases), why would that be?”
I then scanned the audience and noticed the shimmer of gray hairs that more than dominated the scenery. “This was not the “Internet generation” I was looking at,” I thought. “Perhaps these folks are not yet ready for Internet delivery. Perhaps few of them have access to the Internet altogether.”
When I took the podium to deliver my presentation on the Internet technology that AMT and other aircraft maintenance interests are now delivering, I asked “How many here have Internet access at home?” Interestingly, nearly everyone raised their hand. I then asked, “How many have Internet access at work?” Again, nearly all raised their hand. This in stark contrast to my opinion just a few minutes before that these folks probably don’t even use the Internet.
More than 4,000 mechanics per week visit our site at www.AMTonline.com. More than 130 have registered as regular contributors to our Forums, and thousands are currently renewing their IA online via our online IA renewal program. So why are so few apparently using the web for purposes directly related to aircraft maintenance and safety?
What probably hasn’t happened to date — is that many maintenance personnel are not aware of the resources available. Further, there needs to be a paradigm shift toward recognizing the Internet as an extension of our day-to-day toolbox. The word needs to get out that there are many tools available online that can be used to stay legal, stay informed, and stay current.
For example, the FAA now offers FARs online that are up-to-date and complete. AMTonline provides links to this and other important tools like M&D reporting where information that you input goes directly into the FAA’s Service Difficulty Reporting program, generates alerts that are delivered by the FAA and by AMT through newsletters to which you can subscribe, and ultimately this information is helpful in issuing Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives that keep aircraft airworthy.
The Internet can no longer be ignored. Information available on the Internet has the potential to impact safety and improve your workflow. The Internet needs to become an extension of everyone’s toolbox — and we all need to embrace it! Keep an eye on future issues of AMT magazine — we will be highlighting different ways to use the Internet for day-to-day maintenance tasks and help you navigate to maintenance- related sites.
Commit today to making the Internet part of your daily routine — visit AMTonline today, or visit the FAA’s web site. You won’t be sorry you did.