September 1, 2004
FAA certifies aviation program in Wichita
Cowley County Community College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program received good news recently as the Federal Aviation Administration certified Cowley’s Aviation Maintenance Technician Certificate.
The 147 school is a code of federal regulations that stipulate the requirements of an aviation technician school. The curriculum has been approved and the equipment accepted for the program, being taught at the Aviation Tech Center, 7603 E. Pawnee, in Wichita. All of Cowley’s AMT is taught at the Aviation Tech Center.
Noel Gary, chief executive director of aviation programs at Cowley, said the certification allows Cowley to proceed with enrollment of students who wish to become certified in airframe and powerplant.
“There are two ways students can qualify for the airframe and powerplant certification,” Gary said. “Practical experience, 18 months of airframe and 18 months of powerplant, or 30 months combined. Or, they can qualify by attending a certified 147 school, and that’s what we are here.”
The AMT program is 2,100 hours long and requires approximately 18 months to complete. Students receive instruction in 45 different subject areas specified by the FAA.
By satisfactorily completing Cowley’s program, students would then be eligible to take the oral, written, and practical examinations for the three subject areas, which are general subjects, Airframe I and II, and Powerplant I and II.
“Our goal is to put out certified technicians,” said Gary, who is a certified A&P mechanic.
Gary said the demand for certified A&P mechanics was growing.
“Cessna needs 600 A&Ps in the next two years to work on their Citation model,” Gary said. “After-market repair stations will need A&Ps more than the manufacturers of the planes.”
Gary explained what type of student he was looking for to join Cowley’s Aviation Tech Center.
“The ideal A&P student loves mechanical things, is intelligent, and is a professional technician,” he said. “When Arnold Palmer walks in and you’re working on his plane, you had better be professional. It’s an industry you have to love. An A&P has lives at stake.”
The Aviation Tech Center, which opened in January, is set up to accommodate 250-300 students. There are five daytime classes and five nighttime classes at the center.
Gary, an Illinois native who has lived in Wichita since 1986, has a wealth of experience in the industry. His first job was in 1959 with TWA at Midway Airport in Chicago. He then worked at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport when the first 707 was delivered to TWA. After jobs for a fixed-base operator and the Department of the Army, Gary went to work for the FAA and retired after a 23-year career.
Gary said he was excited about the ATC and its potential impact for the aviation industry.
“I’m enthused about our curriculum,” Gary said. “We’re not only talking about aircraft technicians, but these students will be qualified in air conditioning, heating, sheet metal, plastics. They could fit into any part of industry. They could work on combines, become welders. There are many opportunities.”
New students will begin taking classes Oct. 1.