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21st Century Aviation Maintenance Training

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Aerospace Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.12.1 - 24.12.6



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Paper Authors


Terry Allen Michmerhuizen College of Aviation, Western Michigan University

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Terry Michmerhuizen is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Aviation at Western Michigan University, located in Battle Creek Michigan. He has been involved with aviation manufacturing, maintenance and training since graduating from LeTourneau College in 1975 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Management in 1992. He holds an FAA Airframe and Powerplant technician certificate, with Inspection Authorization privileges. He is an FAA Designated Airworthiness Representative, in both manufacturing and maintenance. Terry has his own personal consulting business conducting aircraft conformity inspections and providing FAA related industry training.

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ABSTRACT 21ST CENTURY AVIATION MAINTENANCE TRAININGAviation maintenance training providers are subject to FAA regulations as defined in 14CFR147. Thelast time that regulation was revised was 1992! The aviation industry however has undergone rapidadvancements in recent years, especially in the areas of cockpit avionics, airframe structural materials,and on-aircraft information management systems. Should the training institution incorporate a list ofhigh-tech “cutting edge courses” that reflect current industry technology into the existing curriculum?After all, FAA requirements set the “minimum standards” for acceptance, whether they specify aircraftdesign or aircraft maintenance training.If the maintenance training school does incorporate this higher level of training, should all the studentsbe required to take these classes? What about the student who desires to only work on older generation“historical” aircraft that do not have the high-tech advancements? Should they be required to take theseadditional courses, and spend the associated extra time and money?Finally, should the different maintenance and repair organizations that exist within the aviationcommunity also be considered in this education equation? Will the mechanic be working independentlyand therefore be responsible for a broad range of technical skills? Will they be employed at a repairstation that focuses on a single item repair? Or maybe a large aircraft overhaul facility that has specialtyteams assigned to airframes, avionics, powerplants, etc?How can the training institution properly educate the current students given this diversity of options?Obviously an approved training curriculum requires compliance with the regulations. Beyond that,schools are free to enhance their training program as they see fit. These enhancements will depend uponeach instructor’s area of expertise, and funding for related training aids. In order to properly preparestudents for the challenges of maintaining aircraft in this century, the training institution shouldincorporate the following “Four-C’s” into their curriculum.  Critical thinking skills  Clear ability to communicate  Concern for quality and integrity  Comprehension of the effects of human factors on them and their work The first three may already be a part of the existing maintenance classes required by 14CFR Part 147. If they aren’t, instructor emphasis can be encouraged to do so with no impact to the student’s cost for courses. Although the impact of human factors should also be discussed in the technical classes, a formal one semester course which would cover history, definitions, various approaches, and case studies would be best way to emphasize the importance of this knowledge. The greatest impact in aircraft safety in the future will not come from improvements in technology, as important as they are. Rather, it will come from educating the employee to recognize and prevent human error.The “Four-C’s” are all transportable skills that will help the new technician find his/her place in theglobal aviation work force as a “team player” in reducing human error.

Michmerhuizen, T. A. (2014, June), 21st Century Aviation Maintenance Training Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--19903

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