2022: The Year of the Aviation Mechanic
As we ring in the New Year, many of us like to think big. How can we have the most impact in the new year? How can we recruit and provide the best people with the best tools, training and motivation to excel? How can we find the resources to accomplish all of our grand ideas floating like sugarplums though our holiday-spirited minds?
Here is one of mine. I think it is long overdue, and I’d like to invite you to join in with me.
It’s Time To Sing About Our Unsung Heroes
Pretty much everyone in our industry knows that aviation mechanics (technicians, AMEs, LAMEs, ground support equipment personnel, etc.) are the unsung heroes of aviation. But that understanding has never seemed to migrate into providing the same kind of focused, world-class training or rock star recognition that the “other folks” get.
You know, the ones that sit up front, push a few buttons, and take credit for getting from point A to point B. Not to dismiss the efforts of these highly trained and skilled professionals that fly, but it has always seemed odd to me that the ones who are behind it all and maintain these finely tuned technologies seem somehow to fade into the background of our collective minds.
Of course, when something goes wrong with a maintenance task, everyone is quick to recognize it—the panel that fell off in flight or the landing gear pin that was left installed. With the millions of maintenance sequences that occur around the globe every week, it’s amazing we don’t see more of these.
Let me be clear about what I see: Millions of flights across our industry take place safely without significant recognition of the people who make it happen. It’s time we take notice and celebrate these men and women as rock stars in their own right.
A Tough Time for Technicians
The airworthiness of aircraft has never been in better hands, but the entire system is severely stressed right now, making it an extremely tough time for professional technicians. COVID protocols, flying schedule upheaval, proficiency concerns, financial questions and a host of the other basic mental health matters the entire world is dealing with make the error-free work needed to ensure airworthiness a very tough task. We must respect and mitigate this risk. And since I operate under the philosophy that none of us is as smart as all of us, I’m casting a wide net.
Industry-wide, I’m declaring 2022 as “The Year of the Aviation Mechanic,” with the idea of bringing all available resources to bear in support of these tireless professionals during these challenging times. Operators, OEMs, MROs, academia, insurance companies and other special interest groups all can play a valuable role in a coordinated effort.
This might end up being nothing more than a symbolic gesture. Or it could gain momentum and become a powerful tool to improve the airworthiness and professional readiness across our industry. Time will tell.
Right now, I’m a lone voice with a big idea. But with just a little help to get the ball rolling, we might be able to highlight the incredible work, opportunity and rewards that come with the job, and recruit the next generation into a culture of proud, compliant, professionalism.
So, here is what I am asking.
- Think about what the industry needs to improve the recruitment, training and performance of professional maintainers. Write down your list and send it to me.
- Think hard about what you can do, where you are, to support our maintenance professionals during this challenging time. Take the actions available to you. Share what works.
- Join in the year-long effort to create sustainable improvement across the industry. Towards that end, we have some events already in mind.
Convergent Performance will fund, develop and deliver a worldwide celebration and online symposium on the past, present and future of these doggedly persistent men and women who “keep ‘em flying.” This is tentatively planned for June 2022, so stay tuned for more developments and outreach for presenters and ideas.
Additionally, we will seek out partners and contributors to make this more than a one-day event and provide sustainable improvement ideas for those who are in small organizations who might not otherwise have the resources to take advantage of advanced training opportunities.
Finally, I will personally act to coordinate a cross-functional effort to bring greater focus to professional maintenance challenges in hopes of tipping the scales a bit more in favor of these unsung heroes.
Convergent Performance is uniquely dedicated to reducing human error in high risk environments.
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