Curriculum changes for aviation maintenance schools would
provide a higher quality mechanic in about four years, according to
Les Vipond, an aviation safety inspector for the Federal Aviation
Vipond was in Oklahoma City last week for a public listening
session concerning changes proposed in federal regulations dealing
with aviation maintenance technician schools.
"We are about six months into the process of changing those
regulations now," he said. "It normally takes at least two years for
rules to be changed and adopted once they are proposed."
Some of the changes will deal with strictly administrative
rules, such as what type of teacher can be instructor for a
specific type of class, but others will deal with more substantive
matters, Vipond said.
"With the new wave of aircraft coming out now," he said,
"there's a real problem in teaching how to repair them and just what
courses should be taught.
"Our current regulations were adopted in 1970 long before most
of these inovations were even thought of. For instance, all the
electronics in the so-called `glass cockpits' which reduce the
number of instruments in a plane.
"Now, most of the new planes will have television-like monitors
instead of guages, they have a lot more electronics that were
thought when the current rules were adopted.
"Also, there's the matter of composites which are gaining a much
wider acceptance in the aviation industry. A few years ago, these
weren't even thought of. Now, there're in nearly every plane made.
"People who are graduating from our schools today really don't
understand these new items, so we've got to change our rules and
regulations concerning curriculum so that courses on these can be
The listening session, held at Metro Tech's Aviation Career
Center on Will Rogers World Airport, was one of three in the United
States. One was conducted in Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 29 and 30 and
another is scheduled for Thursday and Friday in San Jose, Calif.
"These listening sessions," Vipond said, "give the interested
public an opportunity to discuss the proposed changes, give their
input and, hopefully, allow us to come up with better rules and
Officials in Washington selected the Aviation Career Center as
one of the sites, Vipond said, because of the geographical location
of Oklahoma City and "because of the quality of this facility."
"We know a lot of the people involved," he said, "and I just
can't say enough good about this school, the facility and the people
who put it together.
"I have worked with Bob (Jardee, director of the center) on
numerous occassions and because of his expertise and knowledge, I
know this is going to be a good school. …