Tag Archives: AMT School

Airframe Mechanic: I R 1

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 was the day of my General and Airframe practical exams. Coincidentally, that is the date on my newly minted temporary FAA Airframe Mechanic certificate!

It’s been three weeks since my practicals and most of that time has been spent doing non-aviation stuff. I have managed to plow through a six-month backlog of aviation magazines which was no small task, mind you. I hate to get so far behind, but study time comes before recreational reading, though much of the stuff in these mags is relative in some way. Speaking of study time, next week is when I start prepping for the start of the Fall semester. Powerplant, here I come. ūüôā

This last week was a flurry of activity cleaning out various spaces around the homestead. After clearing out a space we filtered through the stuff creating Garbage, Recycle,¬†Donate, and Keep piles. We managed to recover over 200 cubic feet of space in one of our spaces. I may seem a bit overly proud of that accomplishment, but getting there required me to let go of a lot of stuff I was “saving” that really didn’t need my “saving.” What prompted this desire to clean out stuff was my renewed, and now shared, desire to move on,¬†figuratively¬†and¬†literally. We still have at least a year before we can even start making any real plans, but we are beginning to make those long term¬†preparations like paring down the¬†accumulation of over 16 years in the same place, and we are setting up little recon trips to potential locations to feel out the¬†scene.

Once my A&P program (two more semesters) is finished, I will be needing some shop space to exorcise my Airframe and Powerplant ratings to there fullest; a hangar preferably or at least something adjacent to an airport. It’s going to be a little¬†difficult¬†working on an airplane in my 6′ x 9′ shop with the scant 12 square feet of open floor space and 8 square feet of bench space. You may have¬†gleaned¬†from the pictures in my previous post¬†Knowledge test done,¬†that I had to squeeze in and do some interesting¬†maneuvers¬†to work on the Stearman wing rib jig. The jig board wouldn’t fit on the bench, so I had to set it up on a moving table in front of my shelving, which made it interesting getting at stuff I needed on the shelves.

The lesson learned was that it is possible to do the work in a very confined space, and it encourages pre-planning the work, tools, and materials before getting started. It also made it very clear how important it is to have a larger space where you can spread out and work efficiently. A¬†lot of time was wasted¬†shuffling around for this and that, and planning how to deal with unexpected surprises. There are of course safety concerns as well. It’s not so much the need for a lot more storage space, rather it is the need for open work space, somewhere to set up a table or bench and have full access all the way around it.

But I digress. The biggest thing now is not to think about what happens after I get my Powerplant rating and focus on the now. I recently had to bow out of two separate and unrelated business ventures and a project. It might have been possible to squeeze in one of the three, but that would detract from my ability to give school the 110% needed to keep the grades up and stay on target. I have two things non-school related on my plate to get done before school and about four weeks to do them. I guess I should get on that then.

Blue skies and tailwinds,

A month into AMT School

AMT classes started on August 10th at Gavilan College so it has now been a month since I started the program. For those who are not familiar with what an Aviation Maintenance Technology program is, it is a course for people who want to become an FAA certified Airframe & Powerplant mechanic often referred to as an A&P.

As one might assume, there are two primary mechanic certificates, airframe and powerplant. You can earn one or the other if you wanted to, but most people do both, hence the general reference to aircraft mechanics as A&Ps. The program is broken down into three segments General, Airframe, and Powerplant and it is completed over a two year period. Since this is through a community college they break it down into 4 semesters, sounds logical to me. Because this is an FAA recognized program (Part 147) the students have a slightly lower requirement in hours to complete for each segment, it really is a great deal.

Anyway, first year students do General which covers math, physics, aerodynamics, tools & equipment, regulations, basically all of the fundamentals and administrative stuff. The rest of time for first years is spent on Airframe where we cover material, processes, metallurgy, structures, and pretty much everything aft of the firewall. Second year students focus on the Powerplant side, or firewall forward.

I spend seven and a half hours at Gavilan Monday through Friday, 08:00-10:30 in General and 10:30-15:30 (less 0:30 for lunch) in Airframe. The first two semesters follow the same schedule and are a whopping 42 units for the two terms; next year it will be a little lighter, 08:30-15:00 (less 0:30 for lunch) Tuesday through Friday for 28 units, the whole program is 70 units, now in case this sounds a little like complaining, that couldn’t be further from the truth, I am having a great time.

Another exam on Monday so I better get back to the books.

Til next time, blue skies and tailwinds,