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November 18, 2020

Inhofe, Moran, Duckworth, Capito Applaud Advancement of Their Bill to Improve Aviation Technical Training

U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.VA.), applauded the Commerce Committee’s  inclusion of their bill to improve education and training curriculum at aviation maintenance technician schools as part of S. 3969, the Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act of 2020, which the committee passed today.

The Promoting Aviation Regulations for Technical Training (PARTT) 147 Act of 2019 would establish performance-based regulations to ensure aviation maintenance education institutions have the flexibility to teach core curriculum reflective of the ongoing technical advances and innovation happening across the aviation and aerospace industry. Reps. Don Young (R-Ark.) and Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) introduced the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“I am glad to see our bipartisan legislation pass through committee today that would empower schools with the flexibility to teach core curriculum reflective of the technical advances and new innovative techniques happening across the aviation and aerospace industry,” Inhofe said. “Not only this, it would reduce restrictive government regulations and ensure schools are empowering students to become productive mechanics on the flight line or maintenance floor. Outdated regulations have prevented schools from implementing modern curriculum to teach students the skills necessary to maintain and repair modern, sophisticated aircraft. It’s time we make a change. I appreciate Chairman Wicker and Ranking Member Cantwell for working with us to advance the PARTT 147 Act today.”

“Our academic institutions need flexibility and resources to teach the skills the aviation and aerospace industry require in order for students to feel confident in their trade, and meet the current demands of the industry,” said Moran. “Serving as the Senator for the ‘Air Capital of the World,’ I was pleased to support this legislation that will help our academic institutions prepare students for careers in the aviation and aerospace industry and look forward to supporting this legislation in the full Senate.”

“I’m very proud to see the bipartisan PARTT 147 Act advance through the Senate Commerce Committee,” Duckworth said. “We’ve seen important innovation and advancements in the aviation industry over the past 50 years and, to keep pace, we need to make sure our workforce is prepared to meet today’s technical demands. This effort will help modernize aviation maintenance educational programs and improve their overall efficiency and effectiveness to further enhance Illinois’s classroom-to-workplace pipeline.” 

“The Commerce Committee’s passage of the Aviation Safety and Certification Reform Act not only would make much needed reforms to improve aviation safety, but includes legislation that is important for the emerging aerospace industry in West Virginia,” said Capito. “The inclusion of our bill updates outdated regulations and ensures aviation maintenance education institutions have the flexibility needed to teach a curriculum that reflects the ongoing technical advances that are occurring across the aviation and aerospace industry. I am confident that the inclusion of this bill will go a long way in improving the training programs at maintenance technician schools.”

Stakeholder Support:

A number of stakeholders wrote a letter of support for The PARTT 147 Act of 2019, which can be viewed here.

A letter from Oklahoma stakeholders can be found here.

Background:

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations dictate what educational institutions teach aspiring aviation maintenance mechanics. These curriculum requirements, however, have not been updated in over fifty years.
  • The Promoting Aviation Regulations for Technical Training (PARTT) 147 Act of 2019 would direct FAA to promulgate a new part 147 that would establish the requirements for operating an aviation maintenance technician school certificated by FAA and the general operating rules for those holding that certificate. The bill would not change the requirement that entities operating an aviation maintenance technician school must hold an FAA certificate.
  • Industry bears the cost of retraining aviation maintenance technician graduates to complete basic tasks required to maintain a modern, sophisticated aircraft.
  • The outdated curriculum and necessary retraining upon entry into the workforce should not become a contributing factor to the looming shortage of aviation maintenance technicians that threatens to undermine the growth and competitiveness of one of the most important sectors in our economy.


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