Since 1995, one of the quiet successes enjoyed by the FAA Safety Program each year is the overwhelming acceptance of the Aviation Maintenance Technician awards (AMT) program by both the air carrier and the general aviation maintenance community.
Over 22,000 AMT awards have been issued in calendar year 2000. This accounts for a net gain of 11 percent over the AMT awards issued in 1999. Compared to some government programs, the AMT program’s success is considered a superstar. Let me give you a short commercial if you are not familiar with the awards program.
The AMT awards program provides for federal government recognition for the mechanics/repairman/Part 147 students and uncertificated folks working full-time in Part 121/135 air carriers. FAA recognition is by way of a bronze, silver, gold, ruby, or diamond tie/lapel pin plus the corresponding certificate. Each award is based on the training received. If you get 6 hours, you earn a bronze; 12 hours, a silver; 26 hours, a gold; 60 hours, a ruby; and 100 hours of training earns you a diamond award.
Your employer can also receive recognition based on the percentage of eligible employees that earn an AMT award. For example, if five percent of his employees get an AMT award, the company will receive a bronze certificate of excellence; 10 percent of the eligible folks earn an AMT award, then the company receives a silver certificate; 15 percent AMT participation earns the company a gold; 20 percent participation the company earns a ruby; and if 25 percent of the eligible employees are issued an AMT award, then the company earns a diamond certificate of excellence.
I won’t bug you with all the details because everything you need to know about the program is in Advisory Circular 65–25b, which spells out all of the requirements. The AC is on the FAA website www.faa.gov or you can pick one up at the local FSDO.
Besides the recognition, one of the advantages of getting an "FAA brownie button," as some mechanics call the AMT lapel pin, is that you are automatically put in the running for over 22 prizes donated by industry as part of the FAA/NASCAR 2001 AMT awards program contest.
The AMT contest runs from January 1 to December 31, 2001, and is supported by 22 industry sponsors. The drawing will be held in February 2002, but first allow me to press your "What’s in it for me?" button before I ask you to become a zealot, check out the prizes (see next page) for this year’s contest!
Why the push for the contest? We have a safety goal to meet. This year, the aviation safety program managers in the regions and local FSDOs want to issue 30,000 AMT awards in 2001. Just think, even if we just issued only bronze awards (six hours of training received), then 30,000 bronze awards would equate to 180,000 hours of training mechanics received. We also want to see a 15 percent increase in the number of employer diamond awards issued. Why are we pushing the awards program? Because every good mechanic knows that training is the heart and soul of safety!
But, in order to issue that many awards and achieve our goal, we need some zealots to help us. My definition of a zealot is a person who is an aviation professional, believes in the AMT program, and has the guts enough to sell it unabashedly to his or her peers.
I know I am asking a lot. Most mechanics are not wired internally to push something on their fellow mechanics. I personally know a 235-lb. mechanic who presses Harley-Davidson motorcycles for fun, but will quietly buy all of his daughters Girl Scout cookies every year — just to avoid the embarrassment of asking his fellow mechanics to buy a box.
I do not need an army of zealots to sell the AMT program for all of eternity — I am asking you to be a zealot just for the next 12 months! I need just a few — some from the IA community, some from large and small repair stations, a few from each Part 121 and 135 air carriers, and at least one from each Part 147 aviation maintenance technician school.
The only requirement to be a zealot is that you believe that safety is important.
So, if you can stand there and sell a box of Girl Scout cookies without focusing only on the other guys shoes, then I need you to become a zealot. We have a great awards program, we have incentives and prizes already in place, most of the training is for free, and I can assure you of having the local FSDO support. What other program could be easier to sell than this one?
Fellow zealots can contact their local FSDO safety program manager or contact me at 202-267-3796 or william.o’firstname.lastname@example.org and I will set you up with your local FAA contact or work with you myself. Together we can move mountains! Together we can sell safety.