Performance Translates to More Funding for Aviation Consortium

Published 10.23.2007


The National Science Foundation has granted Pennsylvania College of Technology and its four partners in the National Center for Aircraft Technician Training an additional $657,000 to continue their work for the next three years.

The institutions Penn College; Tarrant County College, Fort Worth, Texas; Weatherford College, Weatherford, Texas; Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona, Fla.; and San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif. were granted approximately $500,000 in May 2005 to develop educational standards and curriculum for entry-level avionics technicians.

The consortium of schools exceeded expectations by developing not only those standards and curriculum, but a certification method, as well.

Technicians now can take the Aircraft Electronics Technician examination at any Lasergrade testing center. Upon passage of the exam, they receive an AET certification that confirms they meet minimum educational standards for an entry-level avionics technician. Currently, there are more than 200 AET certificate-holding technicians in the United States.

The consortium's standards for aviation communication, navigation, installation/integration, foreign object damage elimination, and several more avionics-related subject areas are in the final stages of development, and the certification exams should be out within the year, according to Thomas D. Inman, associate professor of avionics at Penn College.

Inman serves as the organization's co-principal investigator and media chair, and has primary responsibility for the NCATT Web site. In addition, he assists in the development of testing instruments by acting as a subject-matter expert on avionics.

"In the near future," he said, "aviation maintenance technicians will hold both an A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) license and an NCATT certificate in their pocket."

For more information about aviation majors and other academic programs offered by the college's School of Transportation Technology, visit on the Web, e-mail or call (570) 327-4516.

For more information about Penn College, visit online, e-mail or call toll-free (800) 367-9222.

For more information about grant-funding opportunities, faculty and staff may contact the Grants and Contracts Office at ext. 7562 or through its Web portal.