MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Leaders from the Community College of the Air Force and 908th Airlift Wing briefed Federal Aviation Administration officials, Jan 20, 2023, of the newly developed Airframe and Powerplant Certification program at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
CCAF and 908th AW representatives briefed the three FAA officials on the status of the program as well as the impact it is having on the unit.
Six members are enrolled in the program, all from the 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Five students are studying the full course, with one member studying specifically for the powerplant portion. The first two Airman completed the program Jan 21, 2023, and received their A&P certification.
The first class started, Nov. 7, 2022. The course creates an avenue for maintainers to earn an FAA A&P certification without spending thousands of dollars in off-bass classes and exams.
Chief Master Sgt. Quincey Hester, 908th Maintenance Group quality assurance superintendent, initiated the program to provide professional development for his maintainers while the unit transitioned from the fixed wing C-130 Hercules to the new MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopter.
“I pushed for this because I believe this program could be a huge recruiting and retainability tool for the 908th,” Hester said. “Also, this shows that, as leaders, we are concerned with the professional and personal development of our people. We want the 908th MXG to be the best MH-139 maintenance unit in the Air Force with the best and most qualified workforce.”
Officials from the 908th AW worked with the FAA to set up an approved testing center at Maxwell AFB and worked with the CCAF to develop a hands-on training course located at the 908th AW for the A&P certification.
Hester said he doesn’t worry about losing people because of the program, as he has already seen his people go out on their own and get their A&P without a program being offered by the unit.
“They paid the money out of their pocket to do this course, to get their A&P certification, and they are staying here,” he said. “This [program] shows that we have a vested interest in the professional and personal development of our Airmen. It builds loyalty.”
A&P licenses are the two FAA certificates required to become an aviation maintenance technician. To perform maintenance, repairs or tests on an aircraft, certain certifications must be earned first. The airframe and powerplant licenses show that you have the skills and the knowledge.
The FAA official at the meeting said they were impressed with the program at the 908th AW and Maxwell AFB and look forward to working with them further.
Bradley J. Clark, 908th Airlift Wing, contributed to the article.