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Hundreds of Avionics Technicians Certified Under Fledgling Initiative

Nearly 400 Aircraft Electronics Technicians already have been certified by the National Center for Aircraft Technician Training, of which Pennsylvania College of Technology is a partner.

The National Science Foundation awarded Penn College and four other institutions a two-year grant of $499,950 to establish NCATT last August, and the AET certification program was among the center’s goals from the outset. Today, certified technicians are at work across the country including many at major airlines and in virtually all branches of the U.S. armed forces.

Among them is Thomas D. Inman, an associate professor of avionics at Penn College, who gained certification in April during a dry run of the examination system at the Aircraft Electronics Association’s International Convention and Trade Show in Palm Springs, Calif. He serves as the media chair for NCATT, is responsible for the organization’s Web site and served as a subject-matter expert during development of the technician-certification standards.

Despite being unveiled only recently, the technician-certification program is rapidly gaining recognition.

“In the near future, the highest-paid aviation-maintenance professionals will carry both an A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) license, and an NCATT certificate,” Inman said. The entry-level certification examination for AETs now is available in LaserGrade test centers across the country, and certifications in communication and navigation systems will be ready for testing before the end of the year.

“It is advisable for technicians to review the standards on the Web site prior to testing,” said Rick Hestilow, director of certification and accredited programs for NCATT. “The tests are a rigorous measurement of electronic principles, fundamentals of aircraft maintenance and common maintenance practices.”

NCATT project headquarters is at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas, under the direction of Floyd Curtis, division chair of TCC Aeronautical Training. Each of the partner institutions Penn College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, San Jose State University and Weatherford College offers technical expertise, staff and administrative support.

“A tremendous amount of work has been accomplished in the first 10 months,” Curtis said. “It’s been a great team effort, with many organizations donating time, effort and resources. NCATT is now serving our industry.”

For more information about avionics and other academic majors offered by the college’s School of Transportation Technology, call (570) 327-4516, send e-mail or visit online .

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