November 8, 2012

Aviation Technology and FAA partner to deliver quality programs

The Community & Technical College's Aviation Technology Division (ATD) was featured in the article "Aviation careers cleared for take-off at 'pilot's campus' on Merrill Field" in the Alaska Dispatch earlier this month. The article highlights ATD's outstanding programs and discusses the University of Alaska Anchorage's ongoing relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates three of ATD's four programs air traffic control, professional piloting, and aviation maintenance. 
 
CTC Insider caught up with Rocky Capozzi, director of the Aviation Technology Division, to learn more about how the division partners with the FAA, including a September 2012 visit by the FAA's Acting Administrator to ATD's state-of-the-art facilities.
 
Q: Michael Huerta, acting administrator of the FAA, and his staff toured your facilities in September. What was the purpose of their visit?
 
A: Michael Huerta visited UAA at the suggestion of Charlene Derry, an FAA executive working in the Alaskan Region Headquarters. His purpose was to gain familiarity with one of the collegiate institutions that “feeds” the aviation system and to find out what our issues and concerns were.
 
Watch a video about ATD's programs.
Q: How does the UAA Aviation Technology Division work with the FAA to offer students such excellent programs and training? 
 
Air Traffic Control
A: The air traffic control program is part of the FAA’s Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) program for air traffic control. The FAA specifies the minimum content we must deliver to CTI students – we deliver far more particularly in the area of simulation. We have the finest radar and air traffic control tower simulators in the country.
 
The FAA conducts a total program review every two years, most recently in the spring of 2012. We submit a 50-plus-page spreadsheet related to specific teaching objectives as well as provide data about our university’s diversity efforts. The CTI program is managed by an FAA executive based in Washington, D.C. and supported by a staff in Oklahoma City where the FAA Academy is located. While CTI management monitors the air traffic control program from a distance and less frequently in person, the maintenance and piloting programs are subject to constant observation and review.
 
Aviation Maintenance Technology and Professional Piloting
A: Our aviation maintenance technology (AMT) and professional piloting programs are subject to regulatory requirements of the FAA. (Title 14, Part 147 of the Consolidated Federal Regulations for AMT – written 14 CFR 147. The code that applies to piloting is 14 CFR 141.) From the FAA’s perspective we operate certificated AMT and pilot schools as defined in their regulations. 
 
The FAA controls even the most minute details of how we train mechanics and pilots. When our student mechanics finish their course of study, they are authorized to take their FAA written knowledge tests. After they’ve passed that, they are then authorized to take their practical examinations. The practical examination is administered by an FAA designated mechanic examiner and lasts about a day.
 
Likewise, our piloting students are authorized to take FAA knowledge tests after they complete each of our ground school courses – private pilot, instrument pilot, commercial pilot, certified flight instructor, and certified flight instructor instrument.
 
After they complete the corresponding flight training course they are authorized to take their practical examinations with an FAA designated pilot examiner. The practical examination consists of an oral and flight examination and typically lasts about half a day. The aviation maintenance technology and professional piloting programs each have a primary assigned inspector who frequently visits his/her respective program. The inspector examines training records, aircraft maintenance records, instructor qualifications, etc.
 
Thus, we serve the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Federal Aviation Administration while adhering to the distinct reporting requirements of each.