theory tests, and instructor led demonstrations (ILDs) with student practical exercises, followed by a major assessment/confirmation phase.
Challenges Before the new type courses were established, three significant challenges had to be overcome. First, there were issues with scheduling and course overlapping. This would prove to be a significant test, given the training length had been increased by a month to a total length of 81 to 87 days, and total annual throughput was set at seven to eight type courses. Secondly, additional training aids, personnel, and resources had to be identified and obtained in order to concentrate training resources at 406 (M) OTS. Training aids such as aircraft and test benches can help significantly in ensuring students conduct meaningful practical training. Additional personnel, on the other hand, prevent instructors from becoming overworked and avoid a burn-out effect. Other resources required included adequate facilities, equipment, tools, lockers, classrooms, maintenance consumables, and funding for the incremental cost of extending the courses. Finally, as 100% POM type courses were ordered to be set up in a very aggressive timeframe with no prior experience from any other wing, the solution had to be well thought out. This was accomplished through open communication, idea sharing, and coordination of efforts working together as a team. In the end, working groups
MS&T MAGAZINE â€˘ ISSUE 2/2009
were set up to ensure the overlapping of courses and competition of resources were minimized, careful scheduling and coordination of courses was achieved, additional resources were obtained, and chain of command were convinced on the requirement to provide approval for additional funding.
The Results 406 (M) OTS currently conducts a total of four AVN and three AVS 100% POM type courses a year. Trial courses were conducted in August 2005 for AVN technicians and September 2005 for AVS technicians. Initial serials were up and running by February 2006. Today, 406 (M) OTS graduates only 100% POM journeymen. The additional training required by the operational units is minimal. Sea King type courses now have not only the theory portion, but incorporate practical hands-on training as well. By means of scenario based exercises, students are challenged to recall and apply their knowledge and skills. The concentration of training resources has resulted in increased training aid and instructor availability. 406 (M) OTS instructors profit from the ability to make advantageous use of training aids to both reinforce student learning through the practical phase and assess student competency against OJE training standards. Student to instructor ratio has been established at 3:1 during the practical phase to maximize training efforts and ensure the highest quality of standardized instruction and graduating student competency.
The benefits of the course changes were felt immediately. In 2007, the redesigned type courses contributed to an increase of 20% in the yearly flying rate and a reduction of 42% in mean downtime per aircraft. More dramatically, there was a 13% increase in technician training from 2006 to 2008, and the technicians produced were much better qualified to do the job immediately upon arrival at their operational squadrons. 406 (M) OTS 100% POM technician training is becoming the training model in the Canadian Air Force. Others units, such as the CF18 maintenance unit in Cold Lake, Alberta, are adopting and introducing this training method in order to maximize their efficiency and reduce technician shortage. Technology is not always the answer to everything. In some situations, committed professionalism, creative thinking, teamwork, resource management, and going back to the drawing table achieve the greatest results. In this case, amazing results were realized with minimal associated financial costs and minor changes to personnel establishment numbers. Faced with a daunting future and the prospects of a potentially significant decrease in operational capability, 12 Wing and 406 (M) OTS rose to the challenge and delivered a low-cost, low technology solution that works! ms&t About the Author Lt Robert Lo is the 406 (M) OTS Technical Training Flight Commander. He may be contacted at Robert.Lo@forces.gc.ca
Published on Mar 11, 2009