To accommodate these changes, the report concluded, the repair and maintenance process needs a major overhaul on the part of the industry, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and other bodies. Four experts interviewed by the report's authors suggested that the FAA or industry members should consider implementing certification requirements (similar to those for welders) for technicians who work with composite structures.
Several maintenance and repair organizations (MROs) already provide training for composite aircraft, though few of them offer certification. One exception is the Advanced Composites Training Institute in Canada. The institute provides certified courses on composite repair and manufacturing technologies for aircraft, and it has full accreditation from the FAA and the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace. It is the training division of Renaissance Aeronautics Associates, which performs structural repair on aircraft structures.
Meanwhile, the FAA recently updated its guidance on composites and proposed additional guidance to address concerns related to training and awareness. For example, it updated guidance on quality systems for composite manufacturing and composite aircraft structures. It has also drafted guidance for developing training or qualification programs for composite maintenance technicians.
The agency is updating guidance on composite and bonded aircraft structures, which will target all facilities that conduct composite repairs and alterations. It offers a composite materials training course for its aviation safety inspectors, and it is incorporating new terminology and industry input for a new composite awareness course for designers.
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