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More Training Needed Say Airline Technicians
More Training Needed Say Airline Technicians

Sep 9, 2003

Airline technicians in the United States are calling for better standards of training in the wake of three recent accidents where maintenance on aircraft has been called into question.

The Professional Maintenance Association says that specific training programs are needed, similar to those required by the Federal Aviation Administration for pilots, flight engineers, flight attendants and dispatchers.

The association is urging that a review of commercial aviation, being conducted by the industry and government, should put maintenance training firmly on the agenda.

PAMA refers to three recent aviation accidents: Alaska Airlines Flight 261, Swissair Flight 111 and Air Midwest Flight 5481. In each of these tragedies, the National Transportation Safety Board pointed to specific problems with maintenance.

In Flight 261, improper maintenance left a critical jackscrew without proper lubrication. The NTSB said that poor training contributed. On Flight 111, wire bundles were clamped improperly. The Flight 5481 crash in Charlotte earlier this year appears to be the result of improper on-the-job training, says PAMA.

The organization's President, Brian Finnegan said: "It is clear that the time is right for FAA to apply standardized training requirements to ensure the airworthiness of our fleet and the safety of our passengers."

In its statement, the association said that Federal Aviation Regulations are quite specific in training requirements for pilots, flight engineers, flight attendants, and dispatchers. Professionals in those positions must receive approved training at the time of their employment and regular recurrent training thereafter. These universally accepted standards of professionalism are appropriate, but missing for maintenance technicians.

Calling for the completion of the circle of aviation safety, Finnegan said: "It is necessary to equally apply these standards to aviation maintenance professionals as well."

Edited to add the url to PAMA's comments regarding this issue:
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