The Education Dilemma

July 12, 2018
The wait for FAA to modernize the curriculum and methods in which we teach aircraft maintenance students has become unacceptable

The how and what we teach new aircraft maintenance students is regulated in 14CFR Part 147. This rule has not significantly changed since the 1960s yet technology, aircraft, propulsion, and teaching methods have flown past us at high-speed. Industry has been engaged in numerous efforts to modernize the curriculum and teaching standards for a decade. And still there seems to be little urgency on the part of our regulators – at least little that we in industry can really see.

There are a few activities fundamental to developing the current and future generation of aircraft maintainers: promoting the career of aircraft maintenance to young people, what we teach them, and how we teach them.

Many aviation industry organizations, leaders, and hiring companies will agree that as an industry we have not done well promoting aviation as a career to youngsters over the past couple decades. I believe this is a responsibility we share. When did you last explain your role as a maintenance professional to a middle school student?

Teaching methods need to evolve to those that the current and future generation of students understand and accept. The current generation of young people learns differently. We should be using methods aligned with their way of study and learning.

The curriculum of subjects we teach students must also better align with the types of aircraft and cutting-edge technologies we are and will be maintaining in the decades ahead. Most people who know me understand my passion towards antique and classic aircraft. But, do we really need to spend hours or days of boring classroom lectures teaching students the principles of a pressure carburetor any longer? I believe not. How about we replace this course with the principles of FADEC?

In this issue of AMT Magazine, we have assembled a handful of articles and columns having to do with some aspect of training, education, and the aircraft maintenance workforce. These articles are meant to provide you with some of the challenges faced by aircraft maintenance schools, the organizations that support these schools, the attempts to modernize the curriculum, and how some in the industry are working hard to keep up with the demand for technicians.

I encourage you all to read these articles. If you want to pitch-in and help, consider joining the program advisory committee at your local A&P school, assist in a donation of equipment or training aid, or contact your representative and ask to support the activities in Washington.


About the Author

Ronald Donner | Aviation Consultant | AMT

Ronald (Ron) Donner has spent his entire life devoted to aviation and he holds FAA certificates as an A&P/IA, and a Commercial Pilot with Single and Multi Engine Land, Instrument Airplane and Glider ratings. Ron has worked in a variety of maintenance related roles, both technical and management in general aviation as well as with a major airline. Ron was the recipient of the 2012 National Air Transportation Association (NATA) Aviation Journalism award.  

Contact: Ron Donner

Chief Editor | Aircraft Maintenance Technology

[email protected]


>> To download the AviationPros media kits, visit: Marketing Resource Center

>>Check out our aviation magazines: Ground Support Worldwide |  Airport Business  | Aircraft Maintenance Technology