ASTM International, one of the largest standards development organizations in the world, is forming a group to develop standards for training workers in the aerospace industry. ASTM Committee F46 on Aerospace Personnel will be led by manufacturers, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and other key stakeholders.
“We are bringing everyone together to help ensure a strong pipeline of workers who can keep up with the fast pace of technological change in this dynamic industry,” says James A. Thomas, president of ASTM International.
Committee F46 will develop internationally accepted standards that define the core competencies for aerospace personnel, providing a baseline for education, testing and certification requirements, according to ASTM officials.
“As a result, employers will benefit from a broader, more uniform acceptance of expected knowledge and skills of workers,” officials said in a prepared release. “Employers will also be able to attract and retain highly skilled workers in the face of projected shortages in the coming years.”
“Just as importantly, workers will be able to discover clearer opportunities for career advancement in many areas, including avionics, aircraft engines, hazardous materials, aircraft assembly, aircraft health monitoring and more,” the release continued.
“Over the past 50 years, there has been a dramatic change in what aircraft technical personnel need to know,” said Jim Sparks, director of maintenance at Richardson Aviation in Fort Worth, Texas. “Training, education and certification need to keep up. It has become increasingly critical for aircraft technician knowledge and skill standards to evolve in step with the rapid advancement taking hold in the aviation industry.”
Sparks cited the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative as an example of why Committee F46’s work will be crucial in the years ahead.
Notably, ASTM has a strong track record of leadership in this industry, with decades of experience developing standards in aerospace and aircraft (F07), light sport aircraft (F37), aircraft systems (F39) and general aviation aircraft (F44).
In 2013, the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies (NCATT) became part of ASTM, providing a boost to ASTM’s portfolio of personnel certification programs, ASTM officials noted.
“F46 will take the efforts to train and certify aerospace personnel to a new level, advancing NCATT and industry efforts while supporting the broader goals of agencies like the FAA,” said Lee Brewster, NCATT program representative for ASTM. “I am confident that the committee will lay a strong foundation of standards to help workers understand what skills they need in many technical areas, while also setting criteria for the certification process. Their efforts will play a key role in training and retaining highly skilled workers in this industry, while also providing new career pathways.”