|AMFA Locals and Members
Secretary of the Americas’ 2019 AEI Annual Congress Report
October 23, 2019
This month the Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) held their 47th Annual Congress in Berlin, Germany on October 8-11, 2019. Aircraft Maintenance Technicians/Engineers from around the world gathered again to address the business of AEI: amending the AEI Constitution, electing members of the Executive Board, and attending presentations on a variety of relevant topics for our craft. Approximately 44 delegates from four continents, 15 countries, and 17 affiliate organizations attended this year. Our host was the German Professional Association of Aircraft Engineers, Berufsverband Prufer von Luftfahrtgerat e.V (BPvL).
Mr. Gene Painter, AMFA Assistant National Director, and I attended the Congress on behalf of AMFA. I have the privilege to present on AMFA’s activities including the contract ratification at Southwest Airlines, transition agreement at Alaska Airlines, representation certification at Horizon Air, as well as an overview of our legislative efforts in Washington, D.C.
AEI has been successful this year with their efforts to have seated members participating on some of the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) working groups, such as the Part 66 and Part 147 – Rule Making Groups covering the training and certification of aviation technicians/engineers. Our representatives continue working on the “Certified Release to Service” issue under the EASA system where there has been much disagreement on what level of direct supervision and oversight must be accomplished before a licensed engineer is legitimately capable of signing for work accomplished by others.
We had an outstanding surprise guest speaker this year. Our affiliate from India’s Jet Airways, Amit Kelkar, asked his co-worker – flight attendant Nidhi Chaphekar, who became known as the, “Face of the 2016 Brussels Airport Terrorist Bombings” – to speak at our Congress. Mrs. Chaphekar was traveling to give a presentation at the International Victims of Terrorism Conference in Nice, France. She has given TED Talks, is releasing a new book, and shared with us her amazing story of recovery and narrowly surviving the suicide bombing attack. Her body and mentality were in tatters and she reminds us to never take the next moment for granted, and with the proper mind set and an abundance of determination, each one of you can accomplish the most remarkable goals.
The day prior to the start of the AEI Congress the Executive Board released a press release listing some of the topics to be addressed during our meetings, with the issue of Self-Regulation being the headline. The two Boeing 737-MAX accidents took a combined 346 lives and exposed the vulnerable and dangerous practice of self-regulation. Indecently, on October 11, the final day of the AEI Congress, the New York Times released an article covering the Joint Authorities Technical Review of the contributing factors of the accidents. It’s not just the manufactures that share a close relationship with the regulators, it’s also the operators. Apparently, airlines and regulators around the world have a revolving door where persons leave one side then gain employment on the other, thus creating more of an atmosphere of colleagues than that of a regulator and regulated participants.
In closing, Mr. Painter and I agree that our participation in AEI is important and a vital opportunity for AMFA to be part of the global voice of the Aircraft Maintenance Technician and aviation safety.
AEI Secretary Americas