Project Bootstrap

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about Project Bootstrap, current as of August 2010. If you have a question about Project Bootstrap that isn't listed on this page, submit inquiries to NBAA at [email protected].

What is Project Bootstrap?

Project Bootstrap is a proposed higher-level aviation maintenance certification program developed by the NBAA Maintenance Committee’s Advanced Education Subcommittee in collaboration with strategic partners throughout the aviation industry. The new certification category is called “aviation maintenance technical engineer (AMTE).” The AMTE would combine the traditional Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) license, FAA Inspection Authorization (IA) and avionics technician skill sets with a 10-year contiguous experience history composed of any combination of years of service in any rated capacity following the award of all certificates, licenses and ratings. NBAA has provided a presentation (1.5 MB, PDF) that describes the process necessary to attain AMTE status.

How will this new AMTE certificate benefit me?

As the benchmark for a new class of technician who is prepared to service today’s and tomorrow’s complex aircraft, the AMTE would recognize professional competence, helping seasoned and knowledgeable technicians to advance their careers. The AMTE also would provide long-sought formal recognition for avionics technicians. An individual earning an AMTE certificate would become a recognized professional among peer groups, receiving academic credentials equal to or greater than a bachelor of science. Perhaps most important, the AMTE would help raise the safety level of the aviation industry.

Why did this come from NBAA? Isn’t that organization just for business aircraft technicians?

Many business aircraft technicians have always sought advanced responsibilities, so it was natural for them to help lead the drive to establish the AMTE credential. Nevertheless, many airline professionals with advanced training, knowledge and credentials are also working to promote the growth of the program, as are those who service light aircraft. The leaders of Project Bootstrap believe that the best way to make progress on our futures is to build it together.

Does NBAA financially benefit from this program?

No. The proponents of Project Bootstrap belong to an all-volunteer group of maintenance technicians who represent NBAA Member Companies. NBAA hosts Project Bootstrap efforts and programs because doing so benefits its Members, creating a win-win proposition for NBAA Members and the industry.

Is Project Bootstrap ready to go?

Yes and no. The AMT sector collects many qualifications available to technicians today, and the avionics sector is being built by the National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT). Once all elements are defined, a volunteer group called the Aviation Standards Group (ASG), which is sponsored by NBAA and industry original equipment manufacturers, will begin to hear experience dissertations from individuals seeking AMTE certification. Rules for that process will be created by the ASG.

NCATT has developed and is administering tests for the basic level of avionics certifcation called aircraft electronics technician (AET). To date, more than 900 AETs have been certified, and eventually, the avionics program will consist of approximately 10 endorsements in all. Visit www.NCATT.org for more information.

Creation of an AMTE certification would extend FAA privileges for technicians, most likely under FAR Part 65. Is that reasonable to expect given the failed FAR Part 66 initiative?

The FAA has been involved in Project Bootstrap from the beginning. It was actually the FAA that sponsored a far-reaching series of seminars called the Future of Aviation Maintenance (FOAM) a few years back. Agency officials have long stated that they would be amenable to changing the regulations if the industry supported the AMTE concept.

I like being an A&P mechanic because my certificate says I am a mechanic. Why do AMTE proponents feel we need anything beyond the A&P? Aren’t you proud of your heritage?

We couldn’t be prouder of our heritage as aviation mechanics, especially the legacy of Charlie Taylor, the Wright brothers’ mechanic. In fact, Charlie Taylor was the inspiration for many of those who want to make the AMTE a reality. We are not asking anyone to move out of their comfort zone, but there are maintenance technicians who want  to take this profession to new heights. We would appreciate your assistance, and welcome any feedback you might send to [email protected].

When will Project Bootstrap be complete?

The founder and original subcommittee calculated completion of the project with a 20-year window. That included the time necessary to secure new privileges from the FAA. The program was formally launched in 2006. We’re four years into program development (keep in mind that this is a volunteer effort, including the marketing), but members of NBAA’s Training and Advanced Education Subcommittee estimate we already have reached the halfway point of development. Recently, the program was presented to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), officially converting this to a global aviation maintenance career program.

Has the first AMTE been industry certified yet?

Not yet (as of August 2010).

I am interested in working toward AMTE certification. How do I start the process?

Obtaining an A&P and IA are all you need to start. Also, carefully review the presentation (1.5 MB, PDF) located on this web page and revisit this page regularly for new information. Those seeking AET certification can take courses from  Global Jet Services or FlightSafety International. Those who are looking to begin a career in aviation maintenance can also enter the college degree program at Kansas State, which recently launched a four-year bachelor of science degree program via a FAR Part 147 A&P school combined with NCATT’s certified avionics curriculum.