Aviation Maintenance Technician: Where did the term come from?

Aviation Maintenance Technician Where did the term come from? By Fred Workley Fred Workley Due to changes in aircraft technology, the amount of specialized training required to perform aviation maintenance has increased significantly...


Aviation Maintenance Technician
Where did the term come from?

By Fred Workley

Fred Workley
Fred Workley

Due to changes in aircraft technology, the amount of specialized training required to perform aviation maintenance has increased significantly since the introduction of the term “mechanic.” The highly complex and technical field of contemporary aviation maintenance requires substantially more than the manual skills typically associated with individuals classified as “mechanics.”

The FAA asserts that the term “aviation maintenance technician” more completely describes the types of skills necessary to maintain today’s complex aircraft and more accurately reflects the level of professionalism found in the aviation maintenance industry. Adoption of the term “aviation maintenance technician” would standardize terminology throughout the aviation industry and make Part 65 consistent with 14 CFR Part 147 (which regulates aviation maintenance technician schools), aviation maintenance trade publications, and the civil aviation regulations of many ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) member states.

Currently, subparts D and E of 14 CFR Part 65, pertain to mechanics, mechanics holding inspection authorizations, and repairmen. Since the recodification of the Civil Air Regulations into the Federal Aviation Regulations on Aug. 10, 1962, few significant revisions to these subparts have been made.

Blue Ribbon Panel report
The Pilot and Aviation Maintenance Technician Blue Ribbon Panel, in its report titled Pilots and Aviation Maintenance Technicians for the Twenty-First Century: An Assessment of Availability and Quality, noted that current FAA certification requirements do not give aviation maintenance personnel the entry-level experience and skills necessary for work involving transport-category aircraft that employ new technology. The panel further noted that due to the rapid acceleration of technological advances more preparation and training are now required to meet the higher levels of qualification that the aviation maintenance industry demands.

The Blue Ribbon Panel strongly recommended that the FAA develop the means necessary to train aviation maintenance personnel to a level of expertise beyond today’s requirements. The FAA agrees.

The review group conducted a series of panel discussions throughout the United States and, as a result, drafted the Industry/FAA Part 65 Review Group Working Paper, which was completed on Jan. 31, 1991. This paper presented the issues of general agreement within the review group and also presented issues that required further discussion.

FAA survey
During 1991, the FAA also conducted a survey of FAA regional offices on the certification of mechanics, holders of inspection authorizations, and repairmen. The survey was derived from issues that surfaced during FAA participation in listening sessions with aviation industry associations and the ICAO Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Licensing Panel and from issues identified in petitions and enforcement actions.

Results of this survey showed clear support for: (1) replacing the term “mechanic” with “aviation maintenance technician;” (2) developing a system for granting additional privileges and limitations for mechanics; (3) encouraging additional FAA participation with ICAO and other aviation authorities to standardize training and certification of maintenance personnel; (4) using aviation maintenance instructor experience to satisfy recent experience requirements; (5) clarifying §65.75(b), regarding written test requirements; (6) adding the term “facsimile” to §65.16; and, (7) developing a separate certificate or rating for balloon repairmen. The majority of the respondents supported changes in the English-language requirements for both mechanics and repairmen, the continued acceptance of military aircraft maintenance experience as the basis for airframe and powerplant mechanic certification, and changes in the units of time used in current §65.77 to designate experience requirements for mechanics, from months to hours.

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