The safety of millions of airline passengers depends in part on aviation mechanics--known as A&P mechanics--that are certified to inspect, service, and repair the aircraft's body (airframe) and/or engine (powerplant). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) establishes the requirements to become certified as an A&P mechanic. Concerns have been raised in the aviation industry about having a sufficient number of A&P mechanics over the long term. GAO was asked to determine how many aircraft mechanics and service technicians the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects will be employed in 2010, and the reasonableness of that projection; the sources that supply and train A&P mechanics and the likelihood that they will provide a sufficient number through 2010; and what is being done by FAA and the aviation industry to ensure that the skills of A&P mechanics are sufficient to work on technologically advanced aircraft?
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Transportation||1. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to review the minimum A&P curriculum required for FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician schools and identify courses that do not reflect widely used aircraft technology and materials on commonly flown major commercial aircraft. These courses should be de-emphasized or replaced with courses that address current conditions.|
|Department of Transportation||2. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to ensure that changes to the A&P school curriculum are reflected on the mechanic's certification examination, thus ensuring that all candidates for the A&P certificate meet the same standards.|