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Maintenance Professionals Taking a Wider View
As we started the new year, I spent some time thinking about the NBAA Maintenance Committee’s accomplishments in 2007 and the great projects and challenges we have in store for 2008. Last year truly was an exciting year for our industry in general and the Committee in particular.
An increasing number of maintenance professionals are realizing that their jobs entail more than just the traditional aircraft inspection, preservation and repair work. And I have really enjoyed following the careers of several technicians who have become flight department managers responsible for the whole aviation department. These professionals have the knowledge – and now the responsibilities – that go well beyond maintenance-specific duties.
Another rewarding experience has been to watch other maintenance technicians when the proverbial light bulb goes on and they fully understand their role in the “big picture” of business aviation. Developing aircraft budgets and maintenance forecasts, meeting customer-service expectations and instituting neighborly environmental policies are all part of our responsibilities. If you feel that these issues have nothing to do with you, or that they are someone else’s responsibilities, you need to reevaluate your personal return on investment (ROI) to your company.
You might also want to determine what knowledge and skills you will need to get your next promotion or new job. If you haven’t noticed, American companies are shifting from a traditional, long-term workforce to one in which individuals may change jobs several times in a career. This means that benefits, career development and many other human resource functions are geared towards higher turnover and greater mobility. This is neither good nor bad, just the current environment that business aviation technicians are working in. We need to ensure that we are providing the best service to our current employer, but, more importantly, that we are constantly developing our own personal skills, both for our current and future jobs.
Any challenge that your flight department faces is a challenge that you face, and you need to find ways in which you can help positively influence the outcome. A good example is the user fee battle that is raging in Washington, DC. If you haven’t sent a note to your members of Congress supporting the current equitable system of aviation taxes, then you should do so now by using NBAA’s Contact Congress resource at www.nbaa.org/userfees. This issue isn’t directly related to maintenance, but it will influence business aviation and your long-term future one way or another.
Another example is your company’s health and safety requirements and how they compare to those of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Don’t wait until an incident or accident investigation reveals discrepancies in the rules and regulations you need to know to work in your hangar.
That’s enough preaching from me. Just keep an eye on the Maintenance Committee’s page on the NBAA web site (www.nbaa.org/about/leadership/committees/maint/) and the Association’s various publications (such as NBAA Quick Turns, NBAA Update and Business Aviation Insider) for more information on the great projects we are working on in 2008. And don’t forget to attend the Maintenance Management Conference (MMC) in Daytona Beach, FL, from April 15 to 17. I guarantee that if you come to the Conference, you will not be disappointed.
- Project Bootstrap – This aviation maintenance technician certifcation and advanced education program is moving forward as the newly formed Aviation Standards Group has begun to defne the educational and experience/life cycle learning elements and prerequisites.
- OSHA vs. FAA Regulations – In order to help resolve the sometimes conficting OSHA and FAA regulations in the aviation workplace, the Committee is drafting a letter to aircraft manufacturers requesting that instructions for continuous airworthiness take OSHA requirements into account.
- Operational Resource Development - The Committee continues to work to see that operational guidance (i.e., best practices) fnd their way into NBAA products like the NBAA Management Guide and International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO).