CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Training Aviation Maintenance Technicians with Information Retrieval Systems

Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

George K. Fornshell

Abstract

The goal of this dissertation has been to examine changes in computing technology skills possessed by aircraft maintenance technicians. The perspective of this project has been from that of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School (AMTS). Specifically, the AMTS curriculum at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Daytona Beach, Florida, provided participants for the study. Recommendations for integrating computing technology training into the AMTS curriculum at ERAU are being proposed for planned changes to the existing curriculum. With the increased availability of computerized documentation and reference materials for the aviation industry, many technical training institutions are becoming aware of the importance of computing technology skills to the aircraft technician. With the continuing explosion of the Internet and availability of other technology-based systems, the question of what skills are already possessed will be significant in the development of any new training. A literature review has been conducted to determine the current status of computing technology within both the aviation maintenance field and as used by aircraft technician training programs. The use of such technology is quite extensive and is rapidly gaining acceptance throughout the aviation industry. In an effort to determine the computing technology skills currently possessed by aircraft maintenance students, a study was conducted that compared computer familiarity and user accuracy. The study consisted of two separate phases conducted two years apart. Identical computer software and hardware was used for each phase of the study. Instruments used included a survey of current computer skills, exercises to determine computer use, and a Subjective evaluation of two different FAA documentation software packages. Analysis of the data determined that computing technology skills possessed by AMTS students at ERAU have not significantly changed in the two years spanning the two phases of this study. These results are being used to provide recommendations for changes to AMTS curricula concerning the level of computing technology skills to be presented. While there is presently no such training required by the FAA for approved AMTSs, results from this study point to a need for exposure to computers throughout the AMTS curriculum.

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