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Company President and CEO Don Chupp recently submitted comments in regards to the draft of the Overview of the Aviation Maintenance Profession Advisory Circular (AC), prior to the April 4th deadline. AC 65.30B was prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards Service to provide information to prospective Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics and other aviation maintenance professionals interested in a career in aviation maintenance. It contains general information of the requirements to become a certificated or non-certificated aviation maintenance professional.

In his submission of comments Chupp notes that “difficulties and shortages in business aviation are ever increasing. Recruiting, hiring, and retaining qualified aviation maintenance personnel continues to become more and more difficult. This, while the transitioning and retiring military aviation maintenance pool is large, highly trained, and contains a workforce that represents the working credo of a quality technician.  It is paradoxical that foreign applicants appear to have a clearer and potentially easier path to receiving credit for their experience, than do our own transitioning veterans.”

Chupp supported his comments by suggesting that “the FAA, working more closely with DoD, could both contribute actively to decreasing technician shortages. By making the military training and certification more closely aligned with FAA standards, the large qualified military pool could more easily enter the market. Currently the complicated credit transfer process and the unnecessarily stringent certification gateways make the transition process look onerous. To a transitioning veteran technician it looks a lot like ‘staring all over again’, and thus presents a deterrent to our transitioning military personnel.” He concluded his comments by suggesting the FAA convene a working group that could work closely with the DoD Departments to create a more attractive and much less onerous path from military aviation maintenance experience to civilian certification.

Chupp, a former United States Air Force 7-level aerospace maintenance craftsman, and current Honorary Commander for the Dover Air Force Base 436th Aircraft Maintenance Group, has hope the FAA will give serious consideration to the comments submitted. “The talent pool is there, and they are highly qualified, exhibit safety practices at the highest levels, understand a 24/7 mission, and display an incredible work ethic. I hope the FAA will take a hard look at the barriers to entry for our veteran maintainers, and change the processes that haven’t always kept pace with the market need”.