KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Aug. 19, a group of aerospace and aviation experts launched an effort to create global training standards for aviation maintenance technicians and other industry workers.
This is the first new committee launched this year by ASTM International, one of the world’s largest standards development organizations.
Called Committee F46 on Aerospace Personnel, the group aims to create consensus-driven standards that will help workers gain skills to adapt to new technologies and other advancements.
The group also hopes that its efforts will strengthen the pipeline of workers due to the industry’s aging workforce and the growing demand for air travel. Boeing, for example, recently reported that over the next 20 years, global aviation will add 38,000 planes requiring 600,000 more technicians.
The committee consists of a cross-section of industry, including manufacturers, suppliers, nonprofits, training institutes, governments and others. They are particularly interested in addressing the need for high-skilled workers in areas such as aircraft assembly, avionics, IT systems, repair stations and more.
The group’s chairman, Sam Haycraft, a technician who founded jet-maintenance company West Star Aviation, says, “Training standards need to reflect what technology is today, not what it was 40 or 50 years ago.”
The committee — whose meeting coincides with National General Aviation Maintenance and Manufacturing Week — will develop standards that define core competencies, providing a baseline for education, testing and certification requirements. These standards will help employers by providing a uniform expectation of knowledge and skills while also supporting broader efforts to attract and retain workers.
Jim Sparks, an aviation maintenance professional on the committee, cites the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative as an example of why the group’s work is crucial. He says, “It has become increasingly critical for knowledge and skill standards to evolve in step with the rapid advancement in the aviation industry. Training, education and certification need to keep up.”
Already, ASTM International has developed many standards in areas such as airplanes and jet fuel. In 2013, the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies became part of ASTM, providing a boost to ASTM’s portfolio of personnel certification programs.