Part 66: Proposed Changes
Balancing safety, technology, and training
By Barb Zuehlke
The FAA Flight Standards Div. recently released a 100+ page report titled Aviation Maintenance, Keeping Pace with the Future. The report reflects its findings on recommended revisions and updates to Federal Aviation Regulations for maintenance personnel training and certification.
The Part 66 revision proposals are designed to meet the needs of current and future aviation maintenance operations regarding technology and training requirements.
Recommended changes include replacing the term mechanic with aviation maintenance technician; adding an aviation maintenance instructor rating; increasing English competency; Inspection Authorization (IA) renewal extended from each year to every second year; renewal possible by completing at least eight hours of refresher courses within 12 months preceding renewal request; and an IA renewal refresher course required every four years.
Applicants for an AMT certificate must have a certificate from a certificated school or document that indicates at least 18 months of practical experience with the procedures, practices, materials, tools, machine tools, and equipment used in constructing, maintaining, or altering airframes or powerplants along with the successful completion of an AMT orientation training program. A minimum of 30 months practical experience concurrently performing the duties appropriate to both airframe and powerplant ratings, and successfully completing an AMT orientation training program is acceptable. Successfully completing a 24-month employer-sponsored classroom and on-the-job training program or a joint FAA/U.S. military A&P certification program is also acceptable.
The proposal adds the rating of aviation maintenance instructor and aviation repair specialist (ARS) I, II, and III certificates that replace the existing repairman certificates. ARS I would be issued to individual airmen in specific skill areas and apply only while working under an approved aircraft maintenance provider’s certificate (Parts 119, 121, 135, 145). ARS II remains the same as the existing repairman certification. And ARS III is for qualified amateur aircraft builders.
Adjustments to Part 147
An update to Part 147 was also considered with revisions for technological changes and curriculum adjustments.
The core curricula (Appendix B) has increased to 600 hours from 400. Additional courses are principles of aviation maintenance which includes history of aviation maintenance and maintenance program development, role of maintenance personnel, and use of tools and equipment. AMT privileges and responsibilities has been expanded with human factor elements; hazardous material identification and safety implications; and error management and safety. Another new area is core inspection covering theory, fundamentals, and application. This includes understanding the differences between approved and unapproved parts; nondestructive inspection; welding inspection techniques and practices; and aging aircraft and corrosion inspections.
Airframe curriculum, Appendix C, requires at least 750 hours. New areas include track and balance rotor systems; inspect rotor systems; and inspect, check, and service aircraft doors under assembly and rigging. Instrument, electronic and computer systems is another new area that covers inspection, service, and troubleshooting. New areas under airframe inspections include an understanding of inspection programs associated with aging aircraft, hard landings, sudden stoppage, overspeed, and lightning strikes.
Powerplant curriculum, Appendix D, has been decreased by 200 hours to 550 hours. Engine electronic systems and engine inspections are new areas in this section, while other areas have been revised or consolidated. The overall intent was to eliminate unnecessary program duplication, introduce new material, and not increase the overall program length.