Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine February/March 2023 Digital Issue
A new report from the Aviation Technical Education Council (ATEC) finds that a healthy but expected increase in newly certified aircraft maintenance technicians last year did not offset the number of certificated mechanics lost during the pandemic – leaving the national new-technician pipeline at least 20 percent below the levels needed to meet rising demand across civil aviation. The global aviation maintenance industry was facing a shortage of certified mechanics before the pandemic, and the Minnesota and U.S. market was no exception. The downturn’s ramifications mean meeting demand now will be even more challenging.
The latest edition of the ATEC Pipeline Report, produced annually to chart U.S. airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic workforce trends, found that 6,929 individuals obtained their FAA mechanic certificate in 2021 – that’s a 33 percent increase from the previous year. While the jump was the biggest in recent history, the increase left the total number of new mechanics short of 2019 levels and did not make up for the previous year’s 30 percent drop in certifications.
As air traffic increases and aircraft come out of storage, aviation technicians will play a vital role in inspecting, repairing, and restoring them to airworthiness. Technicians are critical to operational safety, and they play a key role in supporting the aviation industry’s recovery.
Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook 2022-2041 projects that “Over the next 20 years, 610,000 new technicians will be needed to meet demand from fleet operators and providers of maintenance, repair, and overhaul services. The combination of fleet growth, attrition, and replacement will continue to drive high demand for the foreseeable future.”
Training and aviation careers in Minnesota
Continued educational outreach efforts are necessary to increase the knowledge of careers in aviation. To increase this awareness for careers in aviation, especially aircraft maintenance technicians, MnDOT Aeronautics, the FAA and St. Cloud State University are cosponsoring the 2023 MN Aviation Maintenance Technician and IA Renewal Conference, March 13-14, 2023, at the Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
The conference attracts aviation maintenance professionals, including college and university students, from Minnesota and around the country for continuing education credit, networking, and Inspection Authorization renewal. The conference offers 11 hours of training over one and a half days. Attendees can earn their eight hours of FAA-required annual accredited training toward their IA certification. There are concurrent sessions that provide aircraft maintenance related topics. The FAA will be on-site to collect the required paperwork for training certification.
The annual aviation technician conference also showcases over 50 industry exhibits featuring the latest and best in aviation projects, technology, and services, along with career recruiting opportunities.
The 2023 Aviation High School Career Forum will coincide with the maintenance technician conference, at the same location, on Monday, March 13 from 9:00 a.m. –
3:00 p.m. This forum takes high school students, their parents and “new to aviation” participants on a high-flying journey through a comprehensive overview of how to get from point A to point B, C, or D in an aviation career. Students hear firsthand from professionals involved in the industry and learn their “how I get there” stories.
The free High School Career Forum is geared towards students (ages 16-18), introduces young people to the vast array of career opportunities within the aviation industry, and educates students on the brink of making college and career decisions. The forum consists of aviation industry leaders, vendors, guest speakers, amazing prizes, demonstrations, and – scholarship information. Students will leave this forum with many questions answered and with resources to seek the right answers to design a path to help their career goals.
To register for the Aviation High School Career Forum, or the Aviation Maintenance Technician and IA Renewal Conference, visit www.scsutraining.com/2023amt or email Darlene.Dahlseide@state.mn.us.