Why Attend Safety Meetings?

In 59 of the 89 nationwide FAA local Flight Standards District Offices, there are hard-working Aviation Safety Inspectors called Airworthiness Safety Program Managers (SPM).

Second, we airworthiness types are a relatively new addition to the overall FAA Safety Program since our conception in 1995. We bring to the FAA safety program the energy, drive and purpose, to make a difference. We are working for you and with you to bring the maintenance related, fatal accident rate for all of aviation from the current five-year average of 7 percent, down to a number so small it can only be seen with a number 10 magnifying glass. We also believe that aviation maintenance is the only career in aviation that is boring when it is done right. But, that does not mean that the safety meetings have to be boring. I have been to quite a few that have been more than stimulating to both the speaker and the audience.

Third, as an incentive to come to airworthiness safety training meetings, we have a pretty darn good award program. Prior to 1991, mechanics could not be recognized for their training accomplishments and hard work, even if they fixed the Hubbell telescope without a space suit. Now, under the FAA Aviation Maintenance Technician Awards program, any mechanic can be recognized by the United States government for training received. To the best of my knowledge, aviation mechanics of all the maintenance professions, are the only ones so recognized. Here is another benefit, if you participate and you are issued any one of the five AMT awards before September 30th, you are qualified to enter this year's National Aviation Technician Award Contest. This year's contest has some outstanding prizes such as a 7-night Caribbean cruise, Reno Air Races, escorted tours, training courses, etc. Your overall odds on winning one of the 10 prizes sure beat your odds on winning the lottery by a country mile. Your local SPM can give you all the details.

Fourth, the Charles Taylor, "Master Mechanic" Award program. This award recognizes 50 years of service to the aviation maintenance profession. The Master Mechanic award is the highest honor the FAA can grant to a maintenance professional. It is presented to individuals who for a half a century, held our hand, and took us from dope and fabric aircraft and walked with us into the jet age. Even if this article does not change your mind about attending a FAA safety meeting, do yourself a favor, put on your go-to-church suit and attend one of these Master Mechanic Awards presentations. Show your support to a profession that has put bread on your table and share your personal thanks with one of our own for a job well done. Who knows, one day you might be receiving the "Master Mechanic" award for a lifetime of work, and how would you feel if none of your peers bothered to showed up?

Fifth, the airworthiness safety training programs are getting better! No longer are they ancient 16 mm reels grinding out grainy black and white pictures on bend allowance or the endless annual repeats of "How to fill out a 337," or the importance of M&D reports.

Today, there are technical classes given by factory-trained mechanics or manufacturer tech reps using state of the art computer generated programs. Regulatory classes are given by the FAA or active mechanics that are astute in the ways of the regs and give you current information on the regulations and policy that you can use on the hangar floor the next day.

Sixth, if the mountain won't come to us, then we are coming to the mountain. The airworthiness safety training program is moving into four lines of business. Our first line of business is the regulatory and technical training of A&P/IA mechanics. This is still the meat and potatoes of our safety training program. It will get even better!.

The second line of business is to provide technical and regulatory training to Part 145 Repair Stations. From the regulatory side of the program, we intend to concentrate on both big and small repair station issues. Everything from JAA certification requirements to 3rd party maintenance will be addressed. We already have several FSDOs working on training programs for Part 145, so give your local SPM a call if your repair station is interested in this kind of training.

The third line of business is Part 147 aviation maintenance technician schools. We have approximately 172 of these FAA Approved schools nation-wide and every one that I have visited teaches the FARS just a wee bit different than the one in the next state. So, we have a built-in standardization problem. As a fix, the airworthiness safety training program, within a two-year time frame, is going to develop "FAR Maintenance Regulations Training in a Box." Each school will have the option to use the new standardized training program or keep their own. The new course will not be mandatory. It is our hope that the schools will be initially attracted to the FAA approved state of the art training approach, testing, and instructor guide. If that doesn't work, maybe the fact that it is free might be convince them.

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