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Aviation Standards Group (ASG)
NBAA established an Aviation Standards Group made up of qualified industry professionals to support Project Bootstrap, a proposed higher-level aviation maintenance certification program that would create a new certification category with extended FAA privileges called “aviation maintenance technical engineer (AMTE).”
The 12-member, all-volunteer ASG has two main functions. First, it exists to design the certification standards architecture necessary for professionals to pursue the proposed AMTE credential. The ASG relies on select standards providers already vetted by the industry to establish the standards criteria. The program is structured so that the certification standards will evolve with the industry and contemporary educational curricula at the same pace that new technology is incorporated by the industry.
Second, the ASG exists to provide a peer review function during the AMTE candidate review process. The resumes of AMTE applicants will be reviewed in dissertation format, much like a collegiate Master's degree program.
The Project Bootstrap AMTE certification process comprises three requirement categories: academic/testing, proof of experience and proof of recurrent training. Once the certification program begins accepting candidates, AMTEs will be required to prove before the ASG that they have 10 years of relevant work experience in any combination of category, avionics or A&P. The recurrence element was introduced to harmonize with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards.
ASG Progress to Date
To date (as of August 2010), the AMTE certification standards architecture has been created by the ASG and approved by the NBAA Maintenance Committee's Training/Advanced Education Subcommittee. It is now being reviewed by industry partners for further necessary approval before the program can be formally launched and begin accepting candidates.
Potential Pathways to AMTE Certification
Since Project Bootstrap's inception, the National Center for Aviation Technician Training (NCATT) has provided a model for certifying avionics technicians. A base level of NCATT certification is called the aircraft electronics technician (AET), and there are currently over 900 certified AET technicians. For some technicians, following the AET pathway to AMTE certification will be a potential option, because much of their advanced educational training will already be accomplished.
The Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA)/SAE Institute’s nascent professional certification efforts for A&Ps could also be a logical fit for the advanced educational portion of Project Bootstrap.
Other standards providers are under consideration. Direct questions about Project Bootstrap and the ASG to NBAA's Maintenance Committee liaison, Eli Cotti, at email@example.com.