Aircraft Maintenance Technology

JUN-JUL 2018

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12 JUNE/JULY 2018 AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY FROM THE FAA ANOTHER LOOK AT THE AVIATION MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL SHORTAGE AND THE SOLUTIONS By Dr. Bill Johnson Everyone is talking about the current and growing shortage of aviation maintenance personnel. Johnson summarizes results from a recent international training conference and combines his perspective regarding ways to address the human resource issues threating the industry. Meeting of the Experts Perhaps the best way to understand how the industry must address personnel shortages is to bring together the parties that are hiring new mechanics and the training organizations that are preparing newly credentialed and qualified personnel. The World Aviation Training Summit, one of a series of training conferences held annually (www.Halldale.com), assembles not only training companies but also the airlines and MROs that hire new mechanics. Those employers, because of the state of work readiness of new graduates, also become trainers. This article summarizes a small portion of proceedings of the maintenance training sessions. A Real Problem? Turn on the nightly news, read the paper, peruse the magazines, or blogs. The shortage of qualified aircraft mechanics is real. Industry experts discussed the issue at a recent summit. Mark Lopez, director - technical operations of Airlines for America, quoted a 2018 Oliver Wyman report and the ATEC Pipeline Report (12-2017) to emphasize that the U.S. demand for AMTs is heading up while the supply is slipping down. They predict a U.S. shortage of 15,000 certified AMTs by 2027, unless there is a big change in the supply. The worldwide shortages are proportionately greater. Crystal Maguire, executive director of Aviation Technician Educational Council (ATEC) and author of the ATEC Pipeline Report, amplified those numbers. Maguire estimated that U.S. AMT schools currently have the capacity to double the output of U.S. certificated aviation maintenance technicians, but that is not happening. Why the Shortage of AMTs? Why Are Schools Below Capacity? There are many reasons that school seats are going unfilled while the mechanic shortage grows. Lopez, Maguire, and Mac McDaniel, director of the Aviation College for the State of Alabama Community Colleges, often citing the Oliver Wyman report, discussed many. First, the current median age of aviation maintenance workers is 51 years, with 27 percent over 64 years old. That is nearly a decade older than the broader U.S. workforce. Many mechanics are currently retirement eligible. The growing size of the aircraft fleet and the changing technology of new aircraft exacerbates the challenge. The world fleet size will increase by 40 percent over the next 10 years. That means the old aircraft are still around while many new technology aircraft join the fleet. Aviation jobs, including the piloting job, no longer lure today’s generation into aviation careers as they once did. Younger workers recognize that aviation jobs require extensive shift work, time away from home, without the pay and benefits that match the personal and family sacrifices. AVIATION MAINTENANCE TRAINING

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