Avionics Professor Assumes Leadership Post, Receives Certification

Published 04.30.2008

Faculty & Staff

Thomas D. InmanAn associate professor of avionics at Pennsylvania College of Technology's Lumley Aviation Center continues his long-standing service to renowned organizations in the field, accepting an offer to serve as executive director of the Association for Avionics Education.

In addition, Thomas D. Inman recently was among the first in the country to pass a new national certification test on radio-communications standards for technicians.

Inman was asked by Renee M Hendricks, assistant professor of aviation at Purdue University and AAE president, to take the director's reins of the organization, an international association of avionics professors that share information about best practices in the avionics-education field.

"This is a volunteer position, and the only one that continues from year to year," said Inman, a charter member who has served in a number of executive positions including treasurer and separate terms as president. "It will be my responsibility to ensure the continued viability of the organization."

His new duties bolster a history of involvement with avionics-related organizations: In addition to his ongoing service to AAE, Inman is a columnist for Avionics News, the monthly publication of the Aircraft Electronics Association, and he serves as co-principal investigator, chair of electronic resources and webmaster for the National Center for Aircraft Technician Training. He also has helped prepare test questions for NCATT, including many of those included in the most recent certification test which Inman recently passed.

Inman was the first person at the 51st annual AEA convention and trade show in Washington, D.C., to receive radio-communications certification from NCATT. Although two employees from the center's headquarters were certified using the alpha version of the exam, Inman said, he was the first to pass the beta version (which will be nearly identical to the final test).

He participated in a workshop at which subject-matter experts and other educators developed a pool of questions for the test; approximately one-quarter to one-third of the questions came from materials used at Penn College, Inman said. That wasn't enough to guarantee his passing grade, however, as Inman learned in a discussion of the document with Rick Hestilow, NCATT's director of accreditation/certification.

"I pointed out a few minor spelling and usage errors," he said. "I was embarrassed to find I missed a question that I contributed!"

Penn College is among five colleges under a multiyear National Science Foundation grant to develop educational standards, curriculum and certification for aircraft electronics technicians. The radio-communications certification exam will be available at Lasergrade testing centers across the country before the end of the year. Radio navigation and avionics installation/integration are next, Inman said, and will be ready for the public soon.

Inman holds a master's degree in instructional technology from Bloomsburg University, a bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Western Michigan University and an associate degree in avionics from Ferris State University.

For more information about avionics and other academic programs offered by the college's School of Transportation Technology, visitonline or call (570) 327-4516.

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