2018 – Edition 9 – October 5
Table of Contents
Note: The order of material varies in hotline emails, but is always presented the same on this landing page. Readers scrolling through content on or printing this page will find it organized consistent with the table of contents.
A Turning Point
By Sarah MacLeod, Executive Director
This issue of the hotline is chock full of content about the new FAA bill. “ARSA on the Hill” takes a deep dive into what’s in the bill and how ARSA made things happen for the industry. “Legal Briefs” explores the odd process by which the bill got done. “A Member Asked” discusses next steps for the workforce development grant program ARSA helped create and how to position yourself to take advantage of it.
Before you read any of that, though, let’s explore the broader context.
Christian Klein, ARSA’s executive vice president and registered lobbyist, has been quoted as calling the bill “historic.” He’s sometimes exaggerates, but this isn’t one of those times. It is historic for ARSA.
We have a long record of success on regulatory issues, but that hasn’t been the case on Capitol Hill. In fact, Congress has regularly used repair stations as a punching bag and scapegoat. Over the last two decades, FAA bills imposed new and unnecessary mandates on the maintenance sector. Unions opposed to contract maintenance have successfully used false safety arguments to achieve economic objectives (i.e., driving up costs. making you less competitive and efficient).
By “fighting” those initiatives, we have become a trusted resource for committee staff. ARSA was and is consulted about the impact of new laws and the complexities of aviation regulation; thus minimizing the impact of congressional micro-management. We’ve also prevented some bad things from happening. In other words, we’ve been playing defense, not offense.
This reauthorization cycle changed the paradigm. With staff changes in early 2017, Christian dedicated himself to expanding ARSA’s visibility and effectiveness on the Hill. Methodically working his way through the key committees’ rosters, building relationships with member offices and committee staff in a position to shape transportation, defense, trade and small business policy; participating in close to 200 meetings with members of Congress and congressional staff (197 to be exact). (If you can believe his iPhone Health app, walking more than 150 miles and 626 flights of stairs in that effort.)
At each meeting, ARSA reinforced key themes: contract maintenance makes the aviation sector safer and more efficient, there’s enormous oversight, it supports more than 200,000 in communities throughout the country, it’s dominated by small businesses (many of which serve a global customer base), it’s growing, it’s high tech and its desperate for technically competent workers. The bottom line: legislation that hurts repair stations or disrupts global maintenance trade will hurt U.S. companies and their employees.
Those messages resonated on both sides of Capitol Hill and with both parties. As a result, this was the first FAA bill in memory that didn’t attack repair stations. Not just that, it is the first FAA bill that included proactive ARSA proposals to actually make things better. We succeeded in adding several provisions to the bill, including the crown jewel: a new $5 million per year grant program to attract and train the aviation maintenance workforce.
The reauthorization activities didn’t just strengthen relationships and ARSA’s presence on the Hill. Christian built a coalition of more than 35 aviation groups in support of the grant initiative. ARSA’s leadership dramatically elevated its visibility and reputation with locally and nationally (several local aviation associations joined the effort).
The efforts gave rise to unprecedented member engagement, with maintenance industry executives participating in dozens of Hill meetings both as part of ARSA’s annual Legislative Day and ad hoc visits to D.C. More members responded to calls to action and contacted lawmakers.
I’ll confess to being very cynical about the legislative process. It’s extremely sloppy, unpredictable and hard to control. There are so many participants that it’s almost impossible to get to a good result. Even sophisticated staffers are generally clueless about the nuanced impact laws can have on regulation and how industry will be impacted.
It is difficult to quantify the value of lobbying; how do you calculate the value of preventing something? ARSA is a nonprofit, but it’s still a business. We’re always watching the bottom line and demand a return on investment for all every activity. Therefore, we must engage with Congress, which has enormous influence over FAA activities and members’ bottom lines. Having seen too many bad pieces of legislation in my time; we cannot and will not ignore Capitol Hill. We will continue to make the investment of time and resources to ensure positive results from our activities.
Unfortunately, this “historic” victory, as is the case with so many others, was made to look easy. Members and non-members alike will no doubt say, “you did it with the resources you have, so why should we invest more in ARSA” or, “ARSA did it (and will keep doing it) without me, so why should I spend the money…I’ll let someone else foot the bill.” That attitude frosts me. We do what we do on a shoestring (ARSA’s entire annual budget is less than what some executives in the aviation industry earn).
In honor of John Lennon’s upcoming birthday, imagine what could be done with more resources. Imagine what we need to keep the people we have and attract the next generation of ARSA team members. Imagine how much more influential we would be with Congress and regulators with just a few more highly-motivated, talented, smart people. And imagine if those people had the resources really needed for sustainment and growth.
Support ARSA—sponsor and attend the Symposium and Legislative Day. Use the online portal to connect every person in your organization to member resources, take training sessions; buy or download publications. Sponsor advocacy on an ad hoc basis. Reach out to non-members (your vendors and customers) and get them to join. Nothing succeeds like success, build on every success for the future.
Yes, the FAA bill is a historic achievement and ARSA has done and will continue to do well for the industry. But it cannot be just a single event. It’s the moment for more companies to join ARSA and for more members ask not what the association can do for them, but they can do for the association.
Hard Questions at FAA Workforce Event
On Sept. 13, aviation industry leaders came together in the historic terminal of Washington’s Reagan National Airport for the FAA’s inaugural Aviation Workforce Symposium. The event promised expansive discussion of challenges facing both pilot and mechanic recruitment and retention; although cockpit personnel continue to dominate attention, significant voices called for action to develop technical talent on the ground.
In the opening discussion to “set the stage,” Brett Levanto, ARSA vice president of communications, highlighted the costs to industry posed by inability to find technically-skilled workers and illustrated the direct connection between human capital and business performance. On a day when most presenters celebrated isolated talent-development programs – a feudal system of limited success that one FAA speaker described as “[everyone] inventing the same wheel” – Levanto chose instead to pose hard questions.
“I have a homework assignment for everyone here,” Levanto said regarding the fundamental cause of the technical skills gap in aviation. “Ask your friends who have kids – ask yourself or your spouse if you have them – would you like your son or daughter to become an aircraft mechanic?”
Following up on his own question to attendees, Levanto explained the weakening focus on technical skills development and hands-on careers, which have been sacrificed in the name of “college-track” learning in primary and secondary schools, has produced a deficit in applied knowledge. Without basic understanding of tools, mechanical systems and repair fundamentals in potential applicants, both technical schools and employers are left scrambling to fill workforce gaps without a reliable pipeline of individuals ready to fill open positions.
To construct that pipeline, Levanto concluded, industry must think holistically about its maintenance workforce. In addition to individually-certificated A&P mechanics, which tend to dominate discussion, employers and policymakers must embrace and encourage growth of repairman and non-certificated technicians.
“We need to help the market and we need to help our students” Levanto said after the event. “When it’s hard to find people who can turn a wrench, it’s going to be hard to fill hangars and component shops with technicians and even harder to perform work to keep the world in flight.”
Maintenance also took center stage during a lunch address by Suzanne Markel, president and CEO of Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA). Markel used her 20-minute presentation to highlight PIA’s focus on providing useful aviation skills to students will minimizing cost burdens and complications. She underscored the challenges facing any organization seeking to develop technical talent, including duplicative and inconsistent FAA oversight, lack of available testing resources, restrictive curriculum and poor outreach to underrepresented populations.
In her closing, Markel urged industry stakeholders to collaborate in order to improve career pathways. She specifically noted the good work of ARSA and its colleagues at the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) and implored symposium attendees to get involved in addressing the aviation community’s most-pressing challenge – growing a sustainable and healthy workforce.
The agenda included addresses from Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell and Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in addition to panels of industry and government leaders. “I’ve never seen such a collection of experience talking on a single issue,” Elwell, who remained in the room or nearby for most of the day, said in his closing remarks. Based on his observations from listening to other presenters as well as from discussions held during networking breaks, Elwell noted the group’s “violent agreement” that workforce development is a real and pressing challenge.
ARSA members have been increasingly clear in recent years that technician recruitment is one of the most pressing challenges facing the industry. The association has become a leading proponent of efforts to improve aviation skills. To see a brief overview of the issue and access some resources related to skills-based advocacy, check out the workforce resources in the “Quality Time” section of the August hotline.
Beyond Big Data Buzzwords
On Sept. 12, ARSA Vice President of Communications Brett Levanto spoke during FlightGlobal’s Big Data Americas event in Miami about aviation technology advancements and their impact on business and regulatory matters.
The two-day event had begun on Sept. 11 and featured presenters, panelists and participants from across the aviation world. It was the second installment of FlightGlobal’s series focusing on “Big Data”: operational information and analytical tools used to predict maintenance needs, improve system efficiency and reduce costs.
“I came here as much to learn as to share,” Levanto said, reflecting on the apparent disparity between the “buzzword” laden topics championed by aviation media and the actual interests of the small business-dominated repair station community. “We read all the time in the trade press about well-hyped developments like ‘big data,’ but for most of the industry these enhancements feel more myth than reality. I came here to try and decode that difference.”
Levanto participated in the panel discussion “How are data and technology developing a new ecosystem for maintenance?” He joined moderator Jon Hemmerdinger from FlightGlobal and Jazz Aviation’s Aircraft Contracts Manager Tiymor Kalimat. The three built off key topics that had emerged during the event’s first day; they explored data ownership, contracting requirements and likely regulator likely regulator responses to emerging technologies.
“The people performing this [analytical] work are pretty excited about it, so I allowed myself to become excited, too.” Levanto said. “Aircraft are already gathering and storing reems of data during each flight. Getting access to it in a timely manner, building mechanisms to analyze it, making predictions based on that analysis and providing transparent access to the entire process could be a transformational challenge for the industry.”
To learn more FlightGlobal’s continuing series of “Big Data” events, visit: www.flightglobalconferences.com/ehome/bigdataseries.
Talk Big Data with Brett
ARSA members and industry colleagues with experiences to share or questions about the use of analytical data and predictive maintenance should contact Levanto at email@example.com.
Engaging Industry Through U.S. Chamber
On Sept. 6, ARSA Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein attended a meeting of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Infrastructure & Logistics Committee in Washington, D.C.
Klein is a long-time TILC member. The committee is composed of business executives representing transportation providers and users as well as related associations and members of state and local chambers of commerce. The TILC is the Chamber’s primary policy-originating body on transportation policy issues. In addition to aviation, the committee addresses surface, rail, and marine transportation and water infrastructure.
The Sept. 6 event featured a keynote presentation by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), one of the most influential lawmakers involved in transportation policy on Capitol Hill. Shuster briefed attendees on the status of FAA reauthorization, saying negotiations between the House and Senate were ongoing with the goal of completing work on a final bill before the FAA’s authority lapses on Sept. 30.
The meeting also included discussions about grassroots engagement to support enactment of a major transportation infrastructure package in 2019 and an update on water infrastructure legislation.
Klein used the meeting as an opportunity to brief his fellow TILC members about ARSA’s lobbying campaign to create a new aviation maintenance workforce grant program and encourage other organizations to join the ARSA-led supporting coalition. Given the cross-industry impact of the technical skills gap, there was significant interest in the initiative.
The Chamber is the world’s largest business organization, representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. Its members range from small companies and local chambers to leading industry associations and large corporations.
“The Chamber is an important ARSA ally and the TILC an excellent forum to gain knowledge, share intelligence and network with other transportation advocates,” Klein said. “The more aviation associations and companies that participate, the more prominent our issues and industry will be.”
Editor’s note: This material is provided as a service to association members for educational and informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice and is not privileged or confidential.
By Christian A. Klein, Executive Vice President
In following the FAA reauthorization process, you might have noticed something unusual about how the bill ultimately became law.
Americans learn about the legislative process at an early age and we’re all taught the same thing (whether by our civics teacher or by Schoolhouse Rock): A bill is introduced in the House or Senate, if it passes that chamber, it’s introduced in or sent to the other ”side.” If it passes there, the House and Senate hold a conference committee to resolve differences between the two versions of the bill. Then both chambers vote on the compromise version of the legislation and, if that bill passes, it’s sent to the president for his signature.
In the case of the FAA bill, several of those things never happened. For starters, the Senate never actually considered or passed its version of the FAA bill. The bill was “reported out” by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last summer, but then stalled under the weight of other priorities. Even the looming Sept. 30 expiration of the FAA’s budget authority wasn’t enough to get the bill to the Senate floor.
But thankfully, the leaders of the Senate Commerce and House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) committees understood the urgency of getting FAA reauthorization done and started what’s called a “pre-conference” (informal negotiation) to craft a final bill.
I’ll admit that even though I’m very pleased with the final result, as ARSA’s lobbyist the pre-conference process was a bit frustrating. During a traditional conference, the House and Senate-passed bills are the starting point for conversation. If a provision is exactly the same in both bills, it’s certain to be in the conference report. If there are similar provisions that aren’t exactly alike, conferees negotiate middle ground. If a provision is in one bill but not the other, there’s horse-trading back and form to decide whether to include it at all in the final legislation.
Because the Senate hadn’t passed any bill and there were dozens of pending amendments (including the workforce grant program) that might or might not be added the parameters of negotiations were unclear. Since it wasn’t a traditional conference and the normal rules didn’t apply, the “conferees” had wide latitude to develop a bill that could and would pass the House and Senate. While it kept hope alive for the grant program, it also left the door open for something we didn’t like getting in the final legislation.
Also, because it wasn’t a true conference, the House and Senate didn’t formally appoint conferees, which meant it was unclear who was involved in the negotiations. As a practical matter, however, it was easy to guess: T&I and Commerce Committee staff, House and Senate aviation subcommittee staff, senior members of those committees and their staffs, and representatives from House and Senate leadership. Throughout the process, ARSA kept in close contact with its allies to maintain insights on the process. Although conference negotiations are usually shrouded in mystery, there’s also the public component. It may be a pro-forma public session before the conference goes behind close doors to hammer out tough details, but at least you can find where and when those discussions are happening.
Once the FAA bill was negotiated, one final and unusual parliamentary trick was used to speed up passage. The FAA language was added to H.R. 302, a bill extending protections for sports medicine, which had already passed the House and Senate. That legislation was placed into conference and served as the formal legislative vehicle for final negotiations on the FAA verbiage. That’s important because conference bills are privileged and subject to fewer procedural hurdles, which means they can be passed more quickly.
As you’ve read elsewhere in the hotline, the end result of this FAA reauthorization process was very positive. However, things might also have turned out otherwise. The process the FAA bill went through is becoming increasingly common given limited floor time and the challenges with getting legislation through the Senate, where just one senator can cause major delays. On the plus side, Congress can use the pre-conference strategy to get bills done more quickly. But that comes at the cost of transparency.
There’s an old joke about the legislative process being like sausage making: you may like the end-product but you don’t want to watch it being made. As a heavily-regulated industry that’s significantly impacted by what’s happening on the Hill, we can’t ignore the any step in the process. Knowing who’s making the sausage and what the ingredients are being added is important. As pre-conferencing becomes more common, it will become increasingly important for ARSA and its members to build connections with as many allies on Capitol Hill as possible. We must prevent hostile or well-intentioned provisions with unintended consequences from being added to the sausage behind closed doors.
ARSA on the Hill
FAA Bill Enactment Huge Win for ARSA
By Christian A. Klein, Executive Vice President
It’s no exaggeration to say that the FAA reauthorization bill President Trump signed into law is ARSA’s most significant legislative achievement. The association and its members were more visible and more involved than in any past reauthorization and (as a result) almost of all policy objectives were achieved.
Before reviewing the results of the authorization process, thanks to all the ARSA members who took the time over the past two years to come to D.C. for Legislative Day and ad hoc meetings, sent emails and made calls to Congress on our collective behalf. Give yourself a pat on the back; this victory belongs to you!
Now read on…
Reauthorization: A Budget Blueprint Plus
FAA reauthorization has been ARSA’s top legislative priority for two years. At its core, ARSA is about good government and part of good government is providing predictability for industry and regulators. The FAA bill does just that: It authorizes the agency and all its programs through fiscal year 2023, putting an end to the series of short-term extensions that have kept the agency functioning but created considerable uncertainty. In fact, Congress hasn’t passed a five-year FAA bill since 1982.
The reauthorization bill isn’t just the FAA’s budget blueprint. It’s a vehicle for lawmakers to set aviation policy priorities. That can be a blessing and a curse. Past authorizations have included unnecessary new mandates on repair stations. ARSA’s top priority was ensuring that this year’s FAA bill at least did no harm.
Of particular concern at the start of 2017 was a political atmosphere hostile to international trade in addition to delays surrounding the FAA’s issuance of drug and alcohol (D&A) testing rules for foreign repair stations. Word on Hill was that lawmakers hostile to aviation maintenance (and foreign repair stations in particular) wanted to use the D&A rule delay as an excuse to once again impose a certification ban (potentially on foreign and domestic part 145s).
Wearing out Shoe Leather
With that threat in mind, last January ARSA launched an intensive campaign to educate members of Congress and congressional staff about the aviation maintenance industry. In meeting after meeting with Democrats and Republicans in the winter and spring of 2017, the story about how repair stations are contributing to the safest period in the history of civil aviation, how the industry creates jobs and contributes to the economy in every state and U.S. maintenance companies benefit from international trade was told.
The miles logged walking the halls of Congress (and resulting sore feet and worn
|ARSA FAA Bill Amendment Box Score|
|ARSA Recommendation||In House Bill (H.R. 4)||In Senate Bill (S. 1405)||In Final Bill (H.R. 302 as amended)|
|Add “aviation maintenance” to stakeholders on new Certification & Oversight Advisory Committee||Yes – Amendment by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) adopted by voice vote||Yes – Amendment by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) adopted by voice vote||Yes|
|Ask FAA to explore making repairman certificates portable||No||Yes – Amendment by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) adopted by voice vote||Yes|
|Direct FAA to undertake rulemaking to reinstate voluntary surrender of repair station certificates||No||Yes – Amendment by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) adopted by voice vote||No|
|Direct GAO to study causes, effects, and solutions to aviation technician shortage||Yes – Amendment by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) adopted by voice vote||No||Yes|
|Create $5 million per year/five-year grant program to support aviation maintenance workforce development initiatives||No – Amendment by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) withdrawn in committee. Reps. Sam Graves (R-Missouri), Dan Lipinksi (D-Ill.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich) introduced H.R. 5701 on May 8, 2018.||No – Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced S. 2506 on March 7, 2018. Included in chairman’s mark of bill post-markup.||Yes|
out shoes) paid off. The messages resonated on both sides of the aisle and a victory was achieved when initial drafts of the bill didn’t contain anything bad for repair stations. That allowed ARSA to shift from a defensive to an offensive posture and pursue objectives to actually help the industry.
Making Workforce a Priority
Most ARSA members would agree the technician shortage is one of – if not “the” – biggest threat to the industry’s growth and stability. ARSA therefore set the objective of making workforce development a central theme in reauthorization and, ideally, getting Congress to do something about the problem. ARSA also set the goal of ensuring the maintenance industry was represented on the new Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (SOCAC) created by the draft FAA bills.
A package of workforce-related proposals was developed, including tasking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study causes of and possible solutions to the technician shortage and directing the FAA to explore enhancing the value of repairman certificates to better utilize specialized skills and creating career paths for those possessing them.
ARSA’s biggest task was for Congress to create a new grant program supporting maintenance workforce development. The concept was fairly straightforward: $5 million per year would be authorized for a new FAA-administered initiative. Grants of up to $500,000 would be available for a wide variety of workforce development activities, including apprenticeships, equipment for schools, outreach, veteran transition to civilian careers, etc.
What made the program unique was that in order to be eligible for consideration a grant application needed to be submitted jointly by a business or union, school and governmental entity. The point of the program wasn’t just to throw money at the problem; but to incentivize local conversations to align education with business needs.
Inhofe Takes the Reins
Our earliest and most important ally was Sen. James Inhofe, the senior Republican senator from Oklahoma. As a pilot, Inhofe understands the importance of the maintenance industry. The senator also knows how important repair stations are to Oklahoma, which has more people per capita employed in aviation maintenance than any other state.
Inhofe and his staff quickly picked up the mantle. The senator authored three maintenance-related amendments to the FAA bill that were adopted by the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee in June 2017. Although it wasn’t added to the bill in committee, Inhofe also agreed to continue pursuing the grant program concept.
In the House, early allies, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.). Johnson succeeded in getting aviation maintenance added to the SOCAC and offered the grant program amendment to the bill in June 2017 (the amendment was withdrawn when both the chairman and ranking member voiced concerns about where the money would come from). Bustos led a bipartisan group of House members who succeeded in adding the GAO report to the House bill.
ARSA Builds Support
With those early points, ARSA focused on the grant program. Not surprisingly, the association wasn’t the only aviation organization hearing from its members about workforce problems. Slowly but surely ARSA built a coalition of other leading industry groups that embraced and endorsed the grant program legislation (thanks, in particular, to Airlines for America, the Aviation Technician Education Council and Helicopter Association International for being the first three to sign on).
In March 2018, Sen. Inhofe formally introduced the grant program bill (S. 2056) with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Marian Cantwell (D-Wash.) as co-sponsors. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) introduced the House version (H.R. 5701) in June with co-sponsors Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.). The Senate bill’s timing corresponded with the arrival of participants for the 2018 Legislative Day, who spent time crisscrossing the Hill in an immediate grassroots advocacy campaign.
As each bill was introduced, ARSA coordinated a grueling schedule of Hill meetings for coalition partners and engaging members as part of nationwide grassroots effort. Ultimately, the coalition grew to more than 35 groups representing airlines, manufacturers, business and general aviation, labor, schools and communities with big aviation sectors.
The coalition was notable. First, the current reauthorization cycle was particularly fractious, pitting airlines against general and business aviation over the issue of air traffic control privatization (which was ultimately dropped from the House bill and was never seriously considered in the Senate). Workforce issues were something that helped get everyone back on the same page and pushing in the same direction.
Second, labor groups have traditionally been hostile to contract maintenance so it was significant that ARSA and unions were working together on an issue of mutual concern. As it turned out, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association became one of the closest partners in the effort and participated in more coalition meetings with ARSA than any other group.
Ultimately, 26 senators and 21 House members from both parties sponsored the grant program bill. Thanks to that strong support, when the chairman’s mark of the Senate bill (i.e., the version the Commerce Committee intended to send to the full Senate) was unveiled, S. 2056 was included.
The Senate never took up its own FAA bill but, given FAA’s authorization was set to expire on Sept. 30, House and Senate leaders began negotiating a final deal (called a “preconference” in D.C. parlance). With Sen. Inhofe pushing hard the grant program, along with the GAO and repairman provisions got into the bill (because aviation maintenance was already part of the SOCAC in both bills, the outcome of that issue was less of surprise). In fact, ARSA and its allies did such a good job making the case about workforce issues that there’s an entire title of the bill dedicated to the issue. (A title is a group of provisions in a bill dedicated to a common subject drafters considered to be a high priority.)
So, What Did Congress Actually Do?
Here are some details of the major provisions of the bill impacting maintenance (the ink from the president’s signature isn’t dry, so look for more analysis in the weeks and months ahead):
- Aviation Workforce Development Program (Sec. 625): Directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a program to provide grants of up to $500,000 to an aviation business or union, school and governmental entity that partner to educate and recruit aviation maintenance workers. The program is authorized at $5 million through 2023. Sec. 625 includes a similar program for pilot training modeled on the maintenance grant program. (For more information about how to tap into these resources, see this month’s “A Member Asked.”)
- GAO report on maintenance workforce (Sec. 621(e) to (g)): Directs GAO to analyze (among other things) the current Standard Occupational Classification system with regard to aviation maintenance workers, how FAA regulations affect employment, and ways for government and industry to address the technician shortage.
- Repairman Certificates (Sec. 582): Directs the FAA administrator to task the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to make recommendations about whether repairman certificates should be made more-easily portable (currently, the certificate lapses if the holder leaves the employer who recommended the individual for the certificate).
- Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (Sec. 202): Directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a committee to provide advice on policy-level issues facing the aviation community that are related to FAA safety oversight and certification programs and activities. “[A]viation maintenance, repair, and overhaul” companies are among the interests that must be included on the SOCAC.
- Part 147 Update (Sec. 624(a) to (d)): Directs the FAA to issue a final rule to update 14 CFR part 147 to modernize training at aviation technician schools.
- Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force (Sec. 602): Creates a new task force to recommend strategies to get more high school students involved in aviation. Repair stations must be represented on the task force.
- Flight Standards Reform Task Force (Sec. 222): Directs the FAA to establish a task force of stakeholders (including repair stations) to consider, among other things, ways to simplify and streamline Flight Standards regulatory processes (including issuance and duration of certificates), how best to organize the directorate, safety inspector training and performance standards.
- Report on Airline and Passenger Safety (Sec. 328): To the extent there’s anything at all negative in the bill, this is it (and it’s pretty tame). “[C]ontractor assisted maintenance” is one of several aviation safety issues (along with aircraft age, the impact of metal fatigue, etc.) the FAA is asked to review as part of a report on passenger safety.
The bill text can be found at: docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180924/HR302-2.pdf
A summary of the bill can be found at: https://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hr_302_as_amended_summary_final.pdf
Celebrate and Plan
There are a lot of positive storylines in the narrative about the FAA bill. The policy outcomes leave no doubt that ARSA and its members moved the needle on the Hill, while at the same time improving the maintenance industry’s image and visibility among lawmakers, elevating the associations stature with allied organizations and building new partnerships. All done on a shoestring budget. Next time someone tells you that lawmakers only respond to big money, special interests, you can point to ARSA as an example of why that’s simply untrue.
The FAA bill is ARSA’s greatest legislative success and we’re popping champagne corks. There’s a lot more work to do. In addition to working with DOT to stand up the grant program, money from Congress must be appropriated for the program (federal budgeting is a two-step process: first you need an authorization, then you need an appropriation). ARSA and its members will also need to engage in all the various committees and task forces created by the bill. And, of course, next year we’ll be dealing with a new Congress and massive number of new lawmakers (whoever’s in charge).
That’s all in the future. For now, let’s relish the taste of victory. We earned it!
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Technician Shortage a “Gathering Storm” … with Solutions on Horizon
A shortage of maintenance technicians is hurting small aviation companies, the aerospace sector and the entire U.S. economy, Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) Vice President of Communications Brett Levanto told Congress.
Levanto’s comments came during a Sept. 26 House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce hearing entitled, “Troubled Skies: The Aviation Workforce Shortage’s Impact on Small Businesses.” ARSA is the international trade association for repair stations, maintenance facilities certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other civil aviation authorities. Its membership also includes manufacturers, parts producers, operators and other aviation stakeholders around the world.
“Recruiting and retaining the next generation of aviation professionals is the most pressing strategic challenge facing the aviation maintenance community,” Levanto said. “For aviation businesses – large and small – the development, production, operation and maintenance of the world’s safest transportation system depends on a skilled, dedicated and knowledgeable workforce that is personally invested for the long term.”
Levanto emphasized that while the popular perception is that the aviation industry is dominated by big companies, “small businesses are the rule, rather than the exception” and of the 4,900 aviation maintenance firms worldwide, 81 percent are small and medium sized companies.
The workforce data Levanto presented during his testimony paint a picture of a gathering storm: Eighty-two percent of respondents to a recent ARSA survey have had difficulty finding technicians and ARSA projects its members have as many as 2,500 unfilled technical positions. The association projected in 2017 that unfilled positions cost U.S. maintenance companies $1.95 billion in lost opportunity and foregone revenue each year.
Levanto said that because of the technician shortage ARSA members are taking longer to complete work for customers, declining to add new capabilities, turning down work and electing against facility expansion. Those impacts, in turn, make the nation’s aviation system less efficient and slow economic growth, both nationally and in communities across the country where repair stations are located.
And the technician shortage could get much worse. Boeing projects the need for 189,000 new technicians in North America over the next two decades and a mass of retirements (27 percent of FAA certificated mechanics are older than 63) will leave a daunting bigger hole to fill.
But the news isn’t all bad. Levanto told the subcommittee that Congress has woken up to problem and the FAA reauthorization bill that was quickly approved by the House and Senate in the week following the hearing contains an entire aviation workforce development title, including a new grant program to help attract and retain the aerospace technicians. Highlighting the “shared responsibility to grow the next generation of aviation professionals,” Levanto encouraged the subcommittee’s members: “By voting for the FAA bill, you will be doing just that.”
He also suggested that Congress could mobilize the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the effort.
“Small aviation businesses have limited size and reach, tight margins and heavy regulatory burdens; they need assistance developing relationships and resources in order to obtain and maintain a technical workforce capable of harnessing sustained economic growth,” Levanto said.
By providing points of connection through the SBA between technical education institutions, supportive industry groups and other stakeholders, Congress can provide venues for growth, lessons learned and career development between and among repair stations and other aviation businesses.”
To read Levanto’s complete written testimony, click here.
For more information on the hearing, click here or watch the video below:
Have You Seen This Person? – U.S. Sen. James Inhofe
Jim Inhofe is the senior U.S. Senator from Oklahoma.
His long history of public service began in the U.S. Army and continues in his congressional service, where he prides himself on “commonsense Oklahoma values, including less government, less regulation, lower tax rates, fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense.”
Inhofe, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and an avid private pilot, has long worked in support of the aviation industry at large. He is also a longtime champion of the aircraft maintenance community and on March 7 introduced legislation aiming to address the persistent challenge repair stations face finding and retaining technical talent. That bill, on which the senator and his staff worked closely with ARSA, was included as an amendment to the comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill that passed through both houses of Congress in late September.
With over 11,000 flight hours, Inhofe became the only member of Congress to fly an airplane around the world when he recreated Wiley Post’s legendary trip around the globe. He is a tireless advocate for aviation professionals and was recognized by the association with its 2018 Legislative Leadership Award, which he accepted during ARSA’s Legislative Day on March 14.
Prior to serving the people of Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Inhofe served in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Oklahoma House and Senate and as Mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sen. Inhofe and his wife, Kay, have been married 58 years and have 20 kids and grandchildren.
To learn more about Sen. Inhofe, visit www.inhofe.senate.gov/biography. To see the results of his aviation policy leadership, review the FAA reauthorization-related content in this edition of the hotline.
Constituents Matter – Facility Visits
If this Congress’ FAA reauthorization process has demonstrated anything, it’s that there is incredible power in educating members of Congress about how the industry works. The easiest way to ensure that your lawmakers want to help your business is to make sure they understand the positive impact your company has on the both local economy and aviation safety is to host them at your company’s facilities.
Facility visits give members of Congress and legislative staff an opportunity to see first-hand and up close what your company does and how it fits into the aviation industry. It’s also an opportunity for lawmakers to meet your employees (whose votes they want to win) and to show their commitment to the local business community.
Here are simple steps for you to follow when inviting lawmakers for a facility visit. Remember that representatives and senators have tremendous demands on their time, so you must be flexible in scheduling a tour and even be willing to have a congressional staffer come and visit.
Steps to inviting your member of Congress:
Determine your lawmakers. To find your representative and senators, visit www.govtrack.us/congress/members/map. You can find your legislators by entering your address and zip code.
Locate scheduler contact information. Go to http://arsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ARSA-Schedulers-20181004.xlsx and search the excel spreadsheet for your lawmakers’ schedulers. If the scheduler isn’t listed, please contact us.
Draft an email to the scheduler. Use ARSA’s facility visit request template and be sure to enter pertinent information where indicated. Either place on company letterhead and send as an attachment or copy into the body of an email.
Let us know you’ve sent the request. Either copy firstname.lastname@example.org on your request or send a copy after the fact so the legislative team can follow up.
If you don’t receive a response. One week after sending the letter to your lawmaker, call their congressional office to verify that they received your invitation. Tell them your name, what company you’re from and when you sent the request; then ask about the likelihood of a tour, possible timing and be sure to offer that staff may come if the member is not available. Congressional staff are the “issue experts” for members, and it’s just as important that they understand your business!
Schedule the meeting/visit. Once the site visit or meeting is scheduled, let ARSA’s legislative team know. We’ll send you an ARSA briefing packet with information about specific issues you may want to raise, as well as useful background information about your congressional representative.
Enjoy! Make sure you capture the event with photographs. You can share these photos with the visiting member of Congress, who may even display a photo in his or her office. Give them a hat, t-shirt, or other takeaway with your company’s logo so they’ll remember the visit.
Let ARSA know what happened. Whether it’s a facility visit or office meeting, let ARSA know you’ve been in touch. As a politically active member, you may even be featured in ARSA’s publications! Be sure to forward us some of those pictures too!
Keep communication going. Setting up a visit or meeting is an important first step. However, many members find keeping an open dialogue with their congressional staff is beneficial to their business, and the industry. Although we encourage you to talk about the issues important to the industry, businesses face problems every day and sometimes congressional intervention can help. So be sure to keep those communication lines open!
Taking the initiative to invite a member of Congress to your facility is an easy and fun way to raise the profile of your company and your industry. And it’s a great way to build relationships with legislators that will serve your interests down the road.
If you have any questions about planning or scheduling a tour, let me help.
Transformation Update – AIR Releases Strategic Plan
On Sept. 7, Dorenda Baker, executive director of the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service (AIR), announced the publication of AIR’s Comprehensive Strategic Plan.
“The [plan] translates the Blueprint for AIR Transformation into a broad set of initiatives that, when fully implemented, will transform the Aircraft Certification Safety System,” Baker said in her message to aviation stakeholders. “These initiatives touch every aspect of the system, from safety regulations and policies to how AIR and industry must engage to achieve mutual objectives.”
The strategy for AIR Transformation will pursue major changes in five “distinct, but interdependent” strategic areas, according to the plan. The visual model produced to illustrate these areas shows the “pillars” of certification strategy, management systems and organizational improvement being supported by two “foundational, cross-cutting elements”: holistic change management and industry commitment.
Within each area, the plan defines a series of 10 initiatives intended to improve overall systems, refine regulatory approaches, make efficient use of resources and empower people both inside the agency and across the aviation industry. Each initiative’s expected output aligns with the goals established within the plan’s vision.
Making good on its own commitment to industry-government engagement, ARSA has supported the AIR Transformation effort since early 2017 (review the updates below). Managing Director & General Counsel Marshall S. Filler led the international Working Group and continues to support the Safety Oversight & Certification Aviation Rulemaking Committee (SOC-ARC) through his leadership of the Flight Standards Integration task group. The SOC ARC’s purpose is to provide a venue for industry stakeholders to identify and recommend initiatives to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the certification and safety oversight system. In that role, the committee was instrumental in helping the agency develop the Comprehensive Strategic Plan.
“The [plan] represents our first step in a longer journey toward a stronger strategic planning capability,” the transmittal letter, signed by all nine AIR senior managers and included with the release, said. “Our collective success depends on active engagement and insight from within AIR and from our many stakeholders. We encourage your inputs and ideas.”
Help ARSA continue and strengthen the industry’s engagement with the FAA. Through these kinds of collaborative efforts, aviation business across the design, production, operations and maintenance realms can help to refine what the association’s team calls “the intersection of business and government.”
To access the complete plan, which is presented across an interactive website, visit: www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/air/transformation/csp.
To provide thoughts and feedback directly to the agency, email NATL-AVS-AIR-Communications@faa.gov.
Final Documents/Your Two Cents
This list includes Federal Register publications, such as final rules, Advisory Circulars and policy statements, as well as proposed rules and policies of interest to ARSA members.
ARSA Shipping Program Update: Are You Sabotaging Your Freight Costs?
By Jen Deming, Marketing Associate, PartnerShip
Shipping expenses are one of the top expenditures for most businesses and it can be extremely challenging to them. In 2017, American companies spent a record $1.49 trillion on shipping-related expenses, 6.2 percent more than the year before. With costs increasing, many common practices sabotage a business’s ability to get ahead by protecting their bottom line.
What are some important mistakes to avoid when figuring out how to reduce your shipping costs?
It’s not always what’s inside that counts.
Proper packaging is critical in helping to reduce shipping costs. Make sure you are using the correct type of packaging materials for the product. If you have more than a few boxes, it’s a good idea to palletize all of them together. Freight shipments are loaded and unloaded at several terminal stations in route, and palletizing can keep them from being separated or lost along the way. It’s also critical to use the right size packaging and allow enough space inside to include proper cushioning, but not so much as to allow room for shifting or that make it difficult to handle – a carrier will charge for that too.
You are clueless about your customer’s location.
Are you aware whether your receiver has a dock? How about a forklift? Are you delivering to a location that risks being designated as “limited access” by the carrier? Will a 53′ dry van be able to maneuver around? In addition to that, are hours of operation restricted for pick-ups or delivery? Every one of these variables can make a delivery more difficult and more damaging to your bottom line due to costly accessorial charges. Keep in mind, the more difficult it is to get the delivery completed, the more you need to be prepared for additional fees
Assuming that delivery estimate is a guarantee.
Shippers have to keep in mind that the estimated delivery day is just that – an estimate. A more reliable measure to figure out shipment delivery is to take a look at transit times. When scheduling with a carrier, be sure to ask for this rather than relying on the estimated delivery date. That way, you know if your 5-day freight transit picks up on Monday, and an unexpected storm kicks up along the way, a 1 day transit delay actually results in a Monday delivery. If you are truly in a crunch, shop the different expedited service options among different carriers, but be aware anything last minute will cost you, especially as weather worsens as we head into winter and the holiday crunch. Avoiding last minute rush shipments is always the quickest way to reduce shipping costs.
It’s about 500lbs…ish?
Guessing just doesn’t work in an industry where being a few pounds or inches off can potentially double your freight bill. Carriers check weight and dimensions once, twice, and once more just for fun with calibrated scales every time your pallet is picked up by a forklift at a terminal. If the weight of your shipment doesn’t add up to what’s on the BOL, you can rest assured you will be billed for the difference. If you’ve already quoted your customer and billed them on shipping you estimated based on inaccurate measurements, you’re playing a risky game. Be sure your scale is calibrated and reset often. Be as thorough and as accurate as possible to avoid any surprises.
Handing the reins to your vendor.
If you are able to do so, it pays to take a look at what carrier and service your vendor is using to deliver your freight and take control of your inbound options. Some carriers have more competitive lanes in certain regions, while others may offer additional options and less expensive fees for extra services your business may require. If you are responsible for your inbound freight costs, it’s worth it to put in the time to measure which carrier and service really work best for you.
Figuring out how to reduce shipping costs starts with some simple best practices. Double checking your specs, being knowledgeable about your transit and locations and researching carrier options help keep you prepared.
The ARSA Shipping Program
Working with a freight broker like PartnerShip through the ARSA Shipping Program will help you ship smarter and stay competitive by helping you to get the best LTL freight rates possible.
Under the arrangement with Partnership, ARSA members will receive discounts on less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload, expedited and tradeshow freight shipping services. Specifically, ARSA members will:
- Save at least 70% on standard and guaranteed LTL freight shipments with UPS Freight, YRC Freight and other reputable carriers.
- Receive competitive pricing on truckload, expedited and international freight services.
- Save on every exhibit shipment to and from tradeshows and events, backed by an on-time guarantee.
- Benefit from specialized services including inbound management, freight bill auditing, invoice consolidation and more.
PartnerShip is leading freight broker that helps businesses thrive by connecting them to exceptional service and simple, affordable shipping. Customers save time and money in all facets of shipping and logistics, including LTL freight, truckload, tradeshow and expedited shipping. To learn more, please visit PartnerShip.com.
Three-Part Series on ICA
View ARSA’s three-part series on instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA), led by Managing Director and General Counsel Marshall S. Filler. ICA has been a key focus of ARSA’s work on behalf of the maintenance community for decades and it continues to demand attention from aviation businesses worldwide. Turn the association’s experience into your benefit.
ICA – The Basics
This session overviews the regulatory basis for ICA, including what documents are considered ICA and the obligations of design approval holders to prepare, furnish and otherwise make them available under 14 CFR § 21.50(b). It also covers the related regulations that apply to operators and maintenance providers regarding the use and availability of ICA. Finally, it shows how the FAA has interpreted some of the more important ICA requirements in Order 8110.54.
ICA – The Business Side
This session explains the importance of ICA and describes ARSA’s efforts to strike an appropriate balance between often-competing regulatory and business considerations. It also addresses various design approval holder (DAH) business practices that affect the availability and use of ICA and explains the FAA’s policy prohibiting DAHs from engaging in certain behaviors. It also explores various FAA ICA legal interpretations and some of the issues being examined in an ongoing anti-trust inquiry by the European Commission’s Competition Directorate.
ICA – Case Study: Testing Your Knowledge
This session will test participants’ knowledge of ICA-related provisions in 14 CFR and FAA guidance by presenting several hypothetical case studies. Each one will focus on one or more of the significant ICA regulatory principles.
Note: Sessions must be viewed in order. Completion of each pre-requisite – either via live session or on-demand recording – is required for access to subsequent classes.
Registration for an ARSA-provided training session includes:
- Unlimited access for 90 days to the recording made available after the live session is complete.
- A copy of the presentation and all reference material with links to relevant resources and citations.
- A certificate upon completion of the class, as well as any test material.
The association’s training program is provided through Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, P.L.C., the firm that manages ARSA. To go directly to OFM&K’s online training portal, visit PotomacLaw.inreachce.com. To learn more about the association’s training program and see course availability, visit arsa.org/training.
What is “Acceptable to the Administrator”?
In this session, Sarah MacLeod explores the vexing question inside the performance rules of § 43.13. Review the regulations that use the language “acceptable to” the FAA and how to determine what makes something is acceptable to the agency.
Registration for an ARSA-provided training session includes:
- Unlimited access for 90 days to the recording made available after the live session is complete.
- A copy of the presentation and all reference material with links to relevant resources and citations.
- A certificate upon completion of the class, as well as any test material.
The association’s training program is provided through Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, PLC, the firm that manages ARSA. To go directly to OFMK’s online training portal, visit potomaclaw.inreachce.com. To learn more about the association’s training program and see course availability, visit arsa.org/training.
Upcoming Aircraft Certification Courses in Singapore
The FAA has announced available seats in upcoming agency-instructed training at the Singapore Aviation Academy: Continued Operational Safety (begins Oct. 29) and Aviation Fuel and Propulsion Lubricants – Certifications and New Technologies (begins Nov. 13).
For more information and to register, review the FAA information flyer below or visit: www.caas.gov.sg/about-caas/events/event-details/detail/faa-saa-courses.
In case you can’t make it to Singapore…ARSA Online Training Resources
The association’s training program is provided through Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, P.L.C., the firm that manages ARSA. To go directly to OFM&K’s online training portal, visit PotomacLaw.inreachce.com. To learn more about the association’s training program and see course availability, visit arsa.org/training.
Featured Course (Click title for more information)
Regulatory Compliance Training
Test your knowledge of 14 CFR § 65.85 – Airframe rating; additional privileges.
AMS Update – Submitting Inquiries
“Access to industry expertise” is one of the premier benefits of ARSA membership. The new association management tool, which the membership team has been rolling out to members since mid-summer, allows members to submit and manage inquiries on a wide range of topics. A record of all submissions and responses remains available through each user’s dashboard on the secure online portal.
To submit an inquiry:
(1) Visit arsa.member365.com/sharingnetwork/inquiries.
(2) Log into the online portal. If you do not know your login information, use the “Forgot Password” link, which will help you generate a new password if your email account is associated with a member contact.
(3) Click the blue “+ Submit Inquiry” button on the right side of the screen. A pop-up form will appear on the screen.
(4) Select the appropriate subject – from regulatory questions, to training requests to technical issues – from the drop-down menu.
(5) Enter your question, request or comment into the “Details” field.
(6) Click “Submit Inquiry.”
As soon as your submission is made, the inquiry will appear on your dashboard and the appropriate ARSA team member will be notified. The status will remain “Open” until a response is delivered directly to you via email and recorded in the system.
Through the system, you will be able to better utilize one of ARSA’s most important member benefits. If you submit a particularly good question, you can keep an eye out for it to appear as “A Member Asked” in a subsequent hotline (personal or identifying information is removed from published questions and answers).
Welcome & Welcome Back – New & Renewing Members
ARSA’s members give the association life – its work on behalf of the maintenance community depends on the commitment of these organizations. Here’s to the companies that joined or renewed in September:
New Members (Member Category)
Action Aero, Inc., R03
Aviation Welding Technologies LLC, R02
Chicago Helicopter Experience, R01
Citadel Completions, LLC, R04
National Flight Services, Inc., R03
Ravn Alaska, Assoc
R.T. Turbines, Inc., R01
Renewing Members (Member Category, Member Since)
Aerotron AirPower, Inc. dba Fokker Aerotron, R04, 1990
Air Technology Engines, Inc., R02, 2006
AllFlight Corp., R03, 2011
Ametek Ameron, LLC dba Ameron Global Product Support, R01, 1989
Camtronics, LLC, R03, 2012
Commercial Aircraft Interiors, LLC, R03, 2010
Eagle Creek Aviation Services, R04, 2016
Empire Airlines, Inc. dba Empire Aerospace, R03, 2002
EXTEX Engineered Products- A Kaman Company, Assoc, 2002
F&E Aircraft Maintenence (Miami) L.L.C dba Global Maintenance Technologies dba FEAM, R05, 2012
Florida Jet Center, Inc., R02, 2013
General MRO Aerospace, Inc., R03, 2015
Gyro Specialist, Inc., R01, 2011
HEICO Aerospace Corporation, Corp, 1992
Helicopter Services of Nevada LLC, R01, 2005
Hot Section Technologies, Inc., R01, 2017
Innodyne Systems, R02, 2012
International Turbine Industries, LLC, R02, 2010
Marvel-Schebler Aircraft Carburetors, LLC, R02, 2011
Miami Aircraft Structures, Inc., R01, 2003
MTU Maintenance Hannover GmbH, R06, 2007
NFF Avionics Services, Inc., R02, 2010
Pacific Aerospace, LLC, R01, 2005
Paz Aviation, Inc., R02, 2016
S&T Aircraft Accessories, Inc., R01, 2003
Signature Engines, Inc., R02, 2017
Sunshine Aero Industries, Inc., R01, 2003
Unicorp Systems, Inc., R03, 2003
United Technologies Corporation, Corp, 1997
Warner Propeller and Governor Co., LLC, R01, 2010
Quick Question – Using ARSA’s Online Portal
ARSA’s effort to transition to its new association management system (AMS) has included plenty of lessons learned. As members explore the new system through the secure online portal (visit arsa.member365.com to log in, using the “Forgot Password?” function if necessary), the association seeks specific feedback regarding the user experience.
This month’s “quick question” allows for general input. Help ARSA refine its use of the “customer-facing” functions of the new system by sharing your experience:
Note: The question is displayed in its own, embedded window. If the “Submit” button is not visible on the screen, you must scroll within the survey window in order to submit your response.
For more information about this or any other question, contact Brett Levanto (email@example.com).
Click here to see what questions have been asked and answered…and keep a lookout for more.
A Member Asked…Show Us the Grant Money
Q: We wanted to thank ARSA for the continued support in assuring our voices are being heard in Washington. We have had issues with recruiting qualified maintenance technicians and are looking into ways to promote the industry by starting an apprentice program. Do you know where we could get additional information on the grant program to help attract and train future maintenance technicians?
A: Thanks for the many kind notes of congratulations we received in the wake of the announcement that the new FAA bill includes the aviation maintenance workforce grant program proposed by ARSA (see this month’s “ARSA on the Hill” for more details).
Now that President Trump has signed the FAA bill, the grant program is officially authorized. This is the first step in a multi-part policy making process through which Congress allows the government to spend money. This means that the grant program funds aren’t ready to start flowing into industry programs.
The next step will be to prevail upon the Department of Transportation to make the program a priority and stand it up. DOT will have to create a grant application process and a methodology for selecting recipients, including consulting with representatives of aircraft repair stations, design and production approval holders, air carriers, labor organizations, business aviation, general aviation, educational institutions and other relevant sectors (as required by the law). In the weeks ahead, ARSA will be engaging DOT to make the program a priority.
The work doesn’t end there. Although the program is authorized, Congress still has to write the check to pay for it (called appropriations). That means ARSA, its allies and members will have to work with congressional appropriators to get money included in the next Transportation, Housing & Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill. If your representative or senator is on the House or Senate appropriations committee (click the links to check), reach out now and when we ask to ensure the dollars are in that legislation!
Members looking for money from the grant program need to lay the foundation now. The law requires applications be submitted jointly by a business (or union), school and governmental entity. Start conversations with representatives at local schools (high school, community college, etc.) to identify potential partners. Tell them that Congress has just created a program to support aviation workforce technical education and that grants of up to $500,000 will be available…but you have to work together.
Think and talk about ways to prepare students for jobs at your companies. Don’t just think in terms of A&P mechanics; think in terms of basic skills that job candidates need to hit the ground running. What technology do schools need? Start creating an apprenticeship program? Start a local PR campaign to make high school students aware of career opportunities in the local aerospace industry. Start an annual aviation careers day with multiple companies and schools. Work with nearby military bases to transition servicemen and women with the right skills into civil aviation maintenance careers.
Thinking creatively and building relationships with a school and governmental entity to join you in the grant application is the best way to capitalize on all the hard work ARSA and its members have done over the past two years.
Rest assured, we’ll keep you posted as the program takes shape and opportunities become available. In the meantime, we will help coordinate the efforts outlined above; all politics is local and you need to engage.
Editor’s note: Member questions may now be submitted through the inquiry system run through ARSA’s new online member portal. Members can use their portal access to submit inquiries by logging in through https://arsa.member365.com/sharingnetwork.
Make ARSA’s Voice Your Own: Advertise
ARSA has a menu of advertising opportunities for arsa.org, the hotline and the ARSA Dispatch.
Take advantage of these great opportunities today to showcase your company, a new product or event. For more information go to arsa.org/advertise.
Stand Up for ARSA by Sponsoring
In order to provide world-class resources for its members, the association depends on the commitment of the aviation community. By sponsoring events and activities, supporters can help ARSA’s work on behalf of repair stations to endure.
Need a place to start? For information about opportunities, contact Vice President of Communications Brett Levanto (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ARSA strives to provide resources to educate the general public about the work of the association’s member organizations; should you need to provide a quick reference or introductory overview to the global MRO industry, please utilize AVMRO.ARSA.org.
Since its inception, ARSA has worked to ensure that basic safety information (i.e., Instructions for Continued Airworthiness [ICA], including component maintenance manuals [CMM]) is made available at a fair and reasonable price to operators, maintenance providers, and any other person required by 14 CFR to comply with those instructions. ICA Issue Page (Updated)
On June 23, 2016, citizens of the United Kingdom voted to withdraw from the European Union in a national referendum. This page is provided as a resource for the aviation maintenance community regarding transition negotiations between the British government and the European Commission. Brexit Resource Page (Updated)
Every year, more people are flying. The expansion of the global middle class and improvements in technology have opened aviation markets – for passengers and cargo – to a broader public than ever before. As the the flying public gets larger, more men and women are desperately needed to keep the world safely in flight.
See what ARSA has asked and what’s been answered and participate in the conversation about what’s going on in the aviation maintenance world.
AVMRO Industry Roundup
ARSA monitors media coverage on aviation maintenance to spread the word about the valuable role repair stations play globally by providing jobs and economic opportunities and in civic engagement. These are some of this month’s top stories highlighting the industry’s contributions.
You can explore these stories through ARSA’s Dispatch news portal.
MRO Europe – Amsterdam – October 16-17
MRO Asia-Pacific – Singapore – November 6-8
World Aviation Safety Summit – Dubai, UAE – December 11-12, 2018
MRO Latin America – Cancun, Mexico – January 16-17, 2019
Aero-Engines Americas – Dallas, Texas – January 29-30, 2019
MRO Middle East – Dubai, UAE – February 11-12, 2019
MRO Southeast Asia – Kuala Lampur – March 6-7, 2019
ATEC Annual Conference – Wichita, Kansas – March 17-20, 2019
ARSA Annual Conference – Washington, D.C. – March 19-22, 201
the hotline is the monthly publication of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), the not-for-profit international trade association for certificated repair stations. It is for the exclusive use of ARSA members and federal employees on the ARSA mailing list. For a membership application, please call 703.739.9543 or visit arsa.org/membership/join. For information about previous editions, submit a request through arsa.org/contact. This material is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, consulting, tax or any other type of professional advice. Law, regulations, guidance and government policies change frequently. While ARSA updates this material, we do not guarantee its accuracy. In addition, the application of this material to a particular situation is always dependent on the facts and circumstances involved. The use of this material is therefore at your own risk. All content in the hotline, except where indicated otherwise, is the property of ARSA. This content may not be reproduced, distributed or displayed, nor may derivatives or presentations be created from it in whole or in part, in any manner without the prior written consent of ARSA. ARSA grants its members a non-exclusive license to reproduce the content of the hotline. Employees of member organizations are the only parties authorized to receive a duplicate of the hotline. ARSA reserves all remaining rights and will use any means necessary to protect its intellectual property.
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