Missionaire offers five tracks of study in aviation maintenance:
1. Apprenticeship Training
Apprenticeship is for those who have little or no aviation-related training.
We start with the basics of theory and design, followed by skill development, all of which is applied to actual hands-on experience on aircraft. This Apprenticeship Training Program is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Federal Aviation Regulation part 65, subpart D 65.71, 65.73, 65.75, 65.77, and 65.79.
The goal of our Apprenticeship Program is to prepare a person with specific training related to mission environments in aircraft maintenance, so that he/she may be placed into mission service as an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic.
The minimum amount of time required by the FAA is thirty months. An apprentice works under the supervision of licensed mechanics, actively helping to restore, repair, and maintain aircraft. Through guided, hands-on experience and personal study of theory, the apprentice is prepared to take the FAA's oral and written exams to become a licensed Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. With additional training that will take place simultaneously we have expanded this time requirement to 3-5 years.
Other requirements set forth by the FAA:
A person must be 18 years old at the time the Airframe & Powerplant certificate is issued.
He/she must be able to read, write, speak and understand the English language.
2. Bridging the Gap - For Licensed A & P Mechanics
Bridging the Gap is for those who have had aviation maintenance training but have little or no experience.
A shop mechanic at Missionaire is a person who has received his/her A & P licenses from the FAA, but may not have any experience in actual maintenance of aircraft. During this training, a mechanic is taught the maintenance requirements needed for the mission field, and is given hands-on experience restoring, repairing, and maintaining aircraft.
The length of time to complete this training is tailored to the needs of the individual, and depends on the individual's experience and skill level, not only with maintenance, but also with other areas of mission field preparation. The average time ranges from 2-4 years. A & P's are supervised closely, and are gradually given more responsibility as they grow in knowledge and understanding of procedures.
Missionaire doesn't have a set number of years of experience required before an overseas assignment is given. Instead, we have a skill level that is required. Each person progresses at a different rate, depending on such factors as giftedness, learning abilities, and support level.
Licensed A & P's benefit greatly from Missionaire International's program. Many have not had an opportunity to use their training in an actual job setting, or have recently graduated from school. For the A & P with limited or no experience, we provide a wealth of in-depth opportunities to use, sharpen, and expand maintenance skills. In addition, many mission groups require a mechanic to have several years of experience before going to the field. A & P's can gain that valuable experience at Missionaire International.
Our program is designed to train missionaries first, then mechanics. Because of this, other things are added to the duties of both shop apprentices and shop mechanics. These additional duties are not always understood if the picture seen is just "mechanics training" - however, when you realize that you are being trained for all aspects of missionary aviation, these things are easier to understand. The additions are, in most cases, more important than working on aircraft.
3. Community Impact
Missionaire's Community Impact Program accepts "at risk" or "recovering" (drugs, alcohol, abuse, recent release from prison) individuals within our community. These students participate in our Apprenticeship Training Program to receive career training within the aviation industry. Some may also learn to fly. Many of these students start with Missionaire through a work-study program through the local high school. Aviation training is one of the best ways to keep people, especially youth, off of drugs and alcohol.
We have seen a tremendous impact on many youth through this program, many opportunities to show our love for Christ, and many opportunities to share why our lives are so much different from what they are used to. Whether it is giving a person an excuse to stay away from drugs and/or alcohol, or giving an abused teen a new found confidence, aviation can certainly have an impact on our community.
4. Internship Training
Internship is for those who are in training at other maintenance training centers. Internships are offered through Missionaire for three reasons: 1) To give a student a realistic taste of what it is like to not only be an A & P in the field, but also what missions is all about when it comes to aircraft maintenance; 2) To prime the pump. It is our hope that many of the students that come for the internship program will return after they complete their maintenance training for our Bridging the Gap program; 3) To provide more labor force for the restoration of the aircraft being sent into the field.
The Internship Training is designed to be a realistic overview of aircraft maintenance and missionary aviation. The interns do not just clean aircraft bellies, open inspection panels, and sweep the floor. They also learn hands-on by helping and doing tasks that are assigned to them.
5. TE Prep (Technical Evaluation Preparation)
TE Prep is for those who have applied with other organizations and need some help breaking the rust off of their mechanical abilities. The student is evaluated based on the standard set forth by the group that will perform the TE. Areas of weakness are then discussed with the student, and a plan for bringing them up to the maintenance standard is made. After the implementation of this plan another evaluation is made. The process is either repeated or the student is recommended for the TE.