The FAA explores the future of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or drones, and the possible need for Drone Maintenance Technicians.
By Jul DeGeus
For obvious reasons, we at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance are highly anticipating the celebration of Aviation Maintenance Technician Day on May 24th.
On May 24th in 1868, Charles Edward Taylor was born on a farm in Cerro Gordo, Illinois. He would one day work on engines for the infamous Wright Brothers and become known as the first aviation maintenance technician. (1)
In the latest issue of the Federal Aviation Administration Safety Briefing, assistant editor Jennifer Caron transports you back to the early 1900’s, when the three “crazy” men attempted to make a solid object fly; something that is normal to us today. She then snaps us back into to the present with one genius question: “… you’re an AMT, watching in amazement as drones become increasingly popular. Are YOU the next Charlie Taylor — for drones?” (2)
She’s got a great point- what is the potential outlook for the UAS industry and UAS maintenance technicians? Caron explains the background, demand and the promising opportunities:
The job potential and growth is real, and most believe the UAS industry will grow exponentially. Just consider companies that look to use drones for package delivery. Theoretically, they will need thousands of UAS to meet delivery deadlines not only in the U.S., but around the world…The possibilities are vast. As more and more companies identify and create the need for UAS, the need for UAS technicians will flourish as well. (2)
AIM’s Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems training is a way for individuals to learn more about this evolving industry. It’s a two-day course offered at our Manassas, VA, Chesapeake VA, Atlanta – Metro GA, Dallas – Metro TX, Oakland CA, and Philadelphia PA campuses.
This article, “Drone Maintenance Technician: Aviation Job of the Future?”, is a must read for those interested in UAS, as well as forward thinkers and innovators. Click here to read the article by Jennifer Caron, found on page 33.
- Taylor, B. (n.d.). Charles E. Taylor: The Man Aviation History Almost Forgot. Retrieved from https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/phl/local_more/media/CT%20Hist.pdf
- Caron, J. (2017, May & June). Drone Maintenance Technician: Aviation Job of the Future.FAA Safety Briefing, 33-34. doi:https://www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/2017/media/MayJun2017.pdf
The new build team has been busy getting things organized and making themselves more visible. They have been assigned a dedicated area in the shop, and the project can be included on tours when new students are checking the school out. Additionally, a large wall display will show the team members, and photos showing both history and current activities with the project team.
This new display will keep everyone posted with the progress on the Nieuport Project.
After the rapidly growing student population at the Philli school squeezed the Nieuport project out of its dedicated workspace, it was relegated to a shipping container setting next to the hangar. While this held the materials just fine, it did not allow for any work room. Everytime the team wanted to work on the airplane, they had to move everything out, accomplish what they could, and then move it back to storage. Not a real productive situation. To provide for the larger student population, a new hangar has been built, and several lab spaces have been turned into classrooms. The school finally has room to breathe, and space to dedicate to this project. A separate, and secure space has now been dedicated to the Nieuport, a new project team assembled, and once again progress is being made.
The Neiuport 17 gets a new home.
The new project teams consists of:
Fuselage Team Corey Jones(Graduate/ Team Chief), Luis Bendezo, Martin Heck
Powerplant Team Anthony D’Onfrio(Graduate/ Team Chief), Ernst Jean, Ainsworth Palmer
Wings Team Alfred Gunter (Team Chief), Peter Hamilton
Landing Gear Team Jose Camacho(Team Chief)
Tailfeathers(Empennage)Team Barbara Rivero (Team Chief), Billy Sutherland
Instructor Scott Roberts will serve as project manager, with instructors Pete Costa and Douglass Babb as advisors.
Recent activities include, Pete Costa and Tony D’Onofrio borescoped the Rotec R-3600 engine (which has been in storage for several years) and determined that all was well inside. Work on the new engine test stand is progressing, but we are awaiting metal for the structure, having already built the base. This will allow us to run the engine and make certain that everything is in working order before it is installed on the fuselage.
The airframe is still in process: We have encountered a compound problem with the
square tubes used for the upper and lower longerons: our regular supplier has run out of stock of the .750″ x .049″ square tubing we switched to when they ran out of the same size in .035″ stock. They are not, apparently, running another production batch at this time, so we are trying to find an alternate source. Our back-up plan is to replace the square tubing with round, then add an edge former to replicate the square outside corners for cosmetic purposes: this would entail replacing at least the upper sections of longeron, so they both match. The lower longerons are currently in process of being shaped properly to conform to the required curvature. One advantage to switching to round tubing is we would be able to more easily curve the materials using a tubing bender.
The Tailfeathers Team is working with the elevators which were previously cut and shaped, and will be constructing the horizontal stabilizer next, followed by the rudder. We are still sourcing a few of their parts, bushings, etc.
The Wings team is making their patterns, and will be beginning construction of their pieces within the next month. We believe once the templates are made, the plywood ribs, fittings, etc. should come together relatively quickly.
The Landing Gear team is waiting for their aerodynamic tubing to arrive: It has been backordered twice at this point, and they are working on the sheet metal pieces.
Keep coming back to see the progress we are making.