Mark Ballard

Director of Maintenance Training, Pelesys Aviation Maintenance Training

Mr. Ballard brings 38+ years of experience in the line and heavy maintenance environment, continuously achieving results with personal growth, team and branch objectives. Recent successes in leadership development programs as well as multiple branch training successes have moved to reduce aircraft out of service, increase safety awareness and reduce loss of corporate assets through focused and structured needs assessments. He has worked diligently to maintain departmental budgets year over year and through shared awareness of the cost of training, ROI, and clear learning objectives. 

Mr. Ballard holds a Certificate of Adult Education from St Francis Xavier University which has helped him to apply current technologies to his training portfolio. He has attended multiple training events including project management, finance, transactional analysis, MS office, 6 Sigma Greenbelt and Workout, IATA Management of Training, as well as many job-related sessions surrounding management of relationships, an airworthy fleet, and the supporting operation. His current position as Director Maintenance Training has allowed for his passion for innovative training to continue. He believes that advancements in Virtual and Augmented Reality as well as Gamification will prove to address many of the aviation technical training challenges in mobile environments and will be realized as mainstream in the near future.

Innovative Training for This Generation of Technicians

Aircraft maintenance training, at its core, is the concept of developing knowledge and skills to a competency where improvement to one’s productivity and performance takes place. Training methodologies can be as basic as one on one mentoring, to the latest artificial intelligence for devices. But what is it that is needed in the maintenance workforce today? Aircraft continue to evolve to a goal of reliable self-diagnostics where the in-depth understanding of the inner workings of complex systems is less valuable to an organization than the competencies surrounding diagnostics utilizing onboard and air to ground interfaces. 

The innovations around interactive computer-based training, immersive technologies such as 360 degree imaging, and more recently the latest virtual reality and augmented reality tools have changed the nature of training. The most recent generation of technicians are super connected individuals eager to embrace tools that help them be the best at what they do. I wold say that this is no different than in the past. It’s not the people that have changed but the tools available.

Just as the emergency room doctor or nurse requires to triage the patient as soon as possible, the current technicians now have the tools to ensure accurate diagnostics take place to ensure that aircraft utilization targets are met. An 18 plus hour utilization for a modern transport can be common place. However, this can only occur with a combination of human interaction in conjunction with our new processes and technologies. A reliance today on a purely technological approach without a human factor will undoubtedly fail. The total and partial immersive training methods available today can bring experience to a technician without the risk. Sound familiar? Look only to flight operations methods. Time to embrace technologies and new methods of training to let this generation exceed our goals.