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1 Managers of airports of all sizes face a perennial dilemma: how to efficiently train oper- ations personnel to meet Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139 (Part 139) require- ments and ensure a safe and secure airport environment. Whether Part 139 certificated or not, airports of all sizes invest significant resources to properly train airport operations personnel. This trainingâwhether provided in-house or by a third party, whether pro- vided to newly hired or current employees, and whether offered via classroom lecture or on the jobâis the focus of this synthesis. Data were collected via an online survey from 182 airports representing all National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) airport categories and FAA regions. Phone calls to select airports with innovative training methods resulted in the development of 14 case examples for the report. The data revealed several trends, especially among small airports (nonhub, nonprimary, reliever, and general aviation): â¢ The majority of small airports (77.18%) do not have a dedicated training department. â¢ At the majority of small airports, operations personnel are responsible for movement areas (93.96%), nonmovement areas (87.25%), terminals (67.11%), and security (59.73%). â¢ The most common training methods for airport operations personnel among small air- ports are on-the-job training (87.11%), computer-based training (70.27%), PowerPoint presentations (68.24%), conferences (68.24%), and videos (56.76%). â¢ The most common training topics for both initial and recurrent training at small airports are airfield self-inspections (94.96%), airfield familiarization (96.40%), wildlife hazard management program (89.93%), airport emergency plan (88.49%), movement area (87.77%), airfield nightly inspections (86.33%), aeronautical radio procedures (84.17%), airport rules and regulations (84.17%), and Notices to Airmen (84.17%). â¢ The most common sources of training for new-hire employees at small airports include in-house PowerPoint (77.0%), in-house printed or e-materials (73.08%), in-house lecture (70.77%), and in-house video (53.38%). â¢ The most common sources of recurrent training at small airports include in-house PowerPoint (73.64%), in-house lecture (68.22%), in-house printed or e-materials (65.89%), and in-house video (55.81%). â¢ Small airports employ an average of 6.5 operations employees and have an annual train- ing budget that averages $6,454. This total budget equates to an average of $993 in training expenditures per operations employee on an annual basis. From a thorough analysis of the data, a number of conclusions appropriate to small airports can be made. â¢ The development of training curricula, methods, timelines, and so on is best accomplished from the employeesâ perspective. Airports may consider the different levels of employee S U M M A R Y Airport Operations Training at Small Airports
2 Airport Operations Training at Small Airports experience and different employeesâ learning styles, for example, in uniquely tailoring training for each employee. â¢ In an effort to create flexibility in training and in recognition of differences among employees in the level of comprehension, skill development, and so on, it is important to establish a training timeline, with a minimum amount of training required. Also, setting a maximum training time limit may disadvantage employees who require addi- tional training to reach proficiency. In other words, employees benefit from receiving a certain minimum duration of training and then receiving additional training time as necessary to build required proficiency and knowledge levels. â¢ Conducting a needs assessment for both employees and the airport is beneficial. Deter- mining individual employee training needs, along with airport training needs, will guide development of a training program that meets the needs of both. â¢ Airport trainers benefit from a knowledge of individual learning styles and adult teaching methods. Airport operations experience alone is not sufficient to create a quality trainer. â¢ Asking employees to complete a learning styles inventory or assessment will enlighten trainers as to the preferred learning styles of employees. Even if employees feel they know their primary learning style, using the same assessment for all employees will generate consistent results. â¢ Employees benefit most when presented with engaging content that is easily accessible and meets all three learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic). â¢ A priority on employee training is made possible with sufficient funding dedicated to training, which is often accomplished with a line item for training in the airport budget. It may be helpful to consider airport training budget averages presented in this report. â¢ Although the majority of airports participating in the survey do not have a dedicated training department, having dedicated resources in the form of a dedicated training department, even if staffed by only one individual, is an option to be considered. â¢ Airports may consider adopting some of the innovative training methods discussed in this report to enhance their airport training programs. â¢ Airports may consider additional sources of training, to include products offered by AAAE and ACIâNA, as well as team teaching with peer airports and mutual aid agencies. â¢ Although a significant portion of current operations training is conducted on the job, combining other methods can result in better employee learning and engagement. â¢ In general, airports are not progressive in terms of the training methods they use. For example, PowerPoint presentations are not innovative: they generally do not engage learners, and they tend to be viewed unfavorably by students. â¢ Every airport, it seems, conducts training differently. Some have a dedicated in-house trainer, while others contract training. Some use e-learning, while others rely on class- room training. Some are active in scenario-based training, while others just teach needed content via lecture. The key is to consider the learner and develop a training program based on a needs assessment. â¢ Small airports spend less time on training than do large airports. â¢ There is no one best way to train airport operations personnel. In determining appro- priate training methods, each airport considers issues such as funding, availability of a trainer, number of personnel to be trained, learning styles of employees, experience level of employees, whether training is initial or recurrent, and whether Part 139 training is required. â¢ The available literature on airport operations training is dated. This gap in the literature indicates an opportunity for the research and academic community to conduct relevant research in this area. According to the findings of this synthesis, future research in this area is warranted. First, research into the design of an ideal curriculum would be useful in responding to the lack
Summary 3 of a nationwide curriculum for airport operations training programs. Considering both Part 139 and the numerous skills, knowledge, and abilities required of airport operations personnel, a properly designed curriculum, in the form of a Guidebook for Airport Opera- tions Training Curriculum, would benefit airports nationwide. More than a checklist, this curriculum would include topics, recommended time for each topic, assessments, and the flexibility necessary to accommodate different learning styles. A facilitatorâs guide might accompany this guidebook to assist airport trainers. Second, research into the most appropriate training materials would be useful in address- ing the lack of consistent training materials used by airports nationwide to train airport operations personnel. This research would examine both in-house and off-the-shelf train- ing materials, considering the needs of employees to ensure retention and future use as a reference. Third, research into more effective training methods could help airports move away from their heavy reliance on typical PowerPoint and classroom lectures for airport operations training. This research would consider innovative training methods as well as employee learning styles and generational differences among employees. Continued research in the area of airport operations training could enhance the robust findings of this synthesis. Based on a comprehensive review of the literature, the findings presented in this report fill a void in the literature on this topic. Readers are encouraged to review the entire report to gain the most benefit from this synthesis.