July 2, 2012

Jay Evans, NBAA’s director of professional development and administrative director to the Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) Governing Board, held no illusions about the CAM exam – perhaps one of the most rigorous certifications in the aviation industry.

But he took the challenge anyway, and is now one of three NBAA employees who have passed the test, along with NBAA Vice President, Operational Excellence & Professional Development Mike Nichols and Director of Technical Operations Eli Cotti.

“By design, it’s a really tough exam,” Evans said. “The CAM governing board felt if we could bring staffers on board, it would not only help them, it would enhance membership participation.”

The CAM program is aimed at anyone who manages or wants to manage any aspect of a business aviation operation. That includes flight department managers, pilots, maintenance managers and technicians, schedulers, dispatchers, flight attendants, FBO managers, contract workers and charter operators.

It offers a broad platform for learning, with emphasis on five core areas of study:

  • Leadership
  • Human resources
  • Operations
  • Technical and facilities management
  • Business management

It is not an easy course of study – even for people who have spent their entire adult lives working in aviation, Evans said.

“It’s a challenging effort,” he said. “Realizing the daunting nature of this task, we knew we couldn’t just show up and pass it. People who don’t prepare…their scores reflect that. There’s no guarantee you’ll pass.”

To take the challenge, Evans, Nichols and Cotti formed a study group, thinking it was the best way to manage the volume of information that needed to be digested in preparation for the CAM exam.

“You get a strong sense of such a broad amount of material. It ranges from business management to rates, taxation, operations, scheduling, fatigue management and so much more. It’s such a great body of knowledge. It’s good for anyone in the industry to know,” said Evans.

The exam lasts three-and-a-half hours and consists of 175 questions. That, Evans calculated, allows for about a minute to answer each question.

Achieving CAM status is a personal best, he said.

“We all felt that getting the designation on our business cards and becoming certified was a career achievement. But one of the things I want to emphasize is that getting your flight department involved is a good way to organize that department. It’s good succession planning. It allows people to be involved and help their own careers,” Evans added.

NBAA offers a wide array of resources for those interested in becoming a Certified Aviation Manager.