The regulation part 147 was originally established under the Civil Aviation Administration and re-codified into 14 CFR in 1962. Since that time, neither the regulation nor the subject areas it dictates be taught, have significantly changed.
During the same time, the design regulations mandating the standards to which a civil aviation article must be certificated and maintained have changed innumerable times the latest was 1978 when I start A&P school. These revisions have enhanced safety significantly; they also mandate more sophistication and knowledge in maintenance personnel.
Everyone agrees with the advances in rotorcraft technology, unmanned aerial vehicles, glass panel light support aircraft, composites and the spread of electronics into every aspect of aircraft are therefore not addressed in FAA-approved training programs properly.
Title 49 US Code part 65 is a rule Congress is required to sign off on and any change to a rule takes at least 5-years for congress to pass it. To be fair this is the fault of congress, not the FAA. The FAA tries to speed up rules changes by updating FAA Orders, which they can do overnight and have. The new rules comes with major changes to part 147 school curriculum that every school will have to resubmit for FAA approval. There is no one set standard for the curriculum and this is left up to the individual schools to write based on the part 147 rule. The FAA is going to allow a phase in period of 18-24-months to allow current students to complete the curriculum they started. Also, this may apply to DMEs that will be allowed to test under the current Practical Test Standard (PST) and the Airman Certification Standard (ACS) when it is released at the same phase in time. Regardless of how and when this new rule is rolled out, it will take a phase in period to accomplish.
As a Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) I have started building a bridging document between the PTS and “DRAFT” ACS standards and it looks like as of now about 90% or more of the current standard still applies and is applicable.
Along with the many changes to part 147 and the new ACS standard, the FAA form 8610-2 paper copy we all know will go away like it did for pilots under the ACS standard for them. Applicants will be required to go to a local FSDO or IFO and have an electronic form 8610-2 filled out and saved in the Airman Records data base. It is uncertain at this point if and DMEs will be allowed to fill the form out in the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) program for the applicant with Completion Certificates from a part 147 school or the military.
When is this new ACS standard going to be rolled out?
The date has not been released, but will be released shortly after the revised part 147 is released hopefully in 2018.