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Thread: Getting your A&P

  1. #11
    cub builder's Avatar
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    You can still get your A&P license based on practical experience. You need to demonstrate the experience. And it's best if you can walk into the FSDO office with a letter of recommendation from an A&P or A&P/IA with a lengthy description of your skills and knowledge with a recommendation to be allowed to test. I did exactly that about 15 years ago. The Airworthiness Inspector I talked to had no problem at all with signing off to allow me to test. By way of experience, I had been working hands on part time with light aircraft for roughly 25 years, primarily with engines and systems, and had completed one plans built (wood and Glass) E-AB aircraft and one kit built (tube and Fabric) aircraft by that point in time. Then it was just a matter of studying the books and practicing the writtens until I knew it cold. The oral/practical was quite thorough and roughly a day and a half long. If I recall correctly, the examiner had 21 subject areas, all of which I had to score 75% or better to his satisfaction by either demonstration or oral discussion to demonstrate knowledge of the subject with full explanations of my answers and/or actions. Failure in any one subject area constitutes a failure of the oral/practical. I have no hands on experience with turbines either, but I studied it well enough to recognize what was in front of me, and was able to fumble my way through the various tasks I was asked to perform. I didn't try to BS the examiner. I told him up front that I had no turbine experience, but had studied as much material as I could to prepare. I couldn't have passed with just what I knew from building the two planes, and I couldn't have passed based solely upon study. The many years of experience I had accumulated by that point in my life were every bit as important as the book learning and on line study.

    If you are trying to base testing for your A&P solely on the experience of completing an E-AB aircraft, that's probably not going to make the cut. You need to bring some experience with dealing with certificated aircraft, some balance of sheet metal, composite and fabric work and your engine experience needs to be significantly heavier than having bought an engine and bolted it onto the plane. You really need to bring a balance of knowledge and experience with all parts of an aircraft as well as pertinent regulations and regulation compliance. However, if your experience satisfies the Airworthiness Inspector's criteria when you interview, which can be somewhat subjective, they will allow you to test. Beyond that, it's up to you to study and pass.

    FWIW, I didn't use the crash course schools. You have to show up with permission to test if you use them. If you already have permission, you might as well study at home. That will work as well as going to their facility so you can study the same materials. They are just going to teach you the test, and they often times have an examiner on staff, which can help to shorten the oral/practical. However, in either case, it's up to you to study and pass. You can do that just as easily at home. I did.

  2. #12

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    I have been the Dir of Ed for a large A&P school and still occasionally teach at a local A&P school. I also still teach the "prep" course at FSCJ here inJacksonville ,FL. AFTER you get your FAA sign off I highly recommend a prep course at either your local A&P school if offered or at Bakers in Nashville or one of the variants. The exams are expensive and a solid (organized) week of review and O&P practice may seem expensive and time consuming but will save you the greater expense of trial and error.

    Most of the above is on track but I will add a bit. First. Get AND WORK THROUGH...a set of current FAA written text books. They are relatively inexpensive. They are published under contract by ASA and others. Amazon is good or direct fm ASA. pn ASA 8083-30ATB or faa w same number is the General book, 8083-3V1 and V2 are the Airframe books and 8083-32 is the power plant book. The study guides for the three writtens are AMG- (the last two digits are the year. Anything in the recent 2-3 years should be OK) i.e. -15, -16,-17. This is the study guide for the Gen written w some guidance on the practical. The airframe study guide is AMA-(year) and the powerplant is AMP-(yr). You also need the current Practical Test Prep (faa-S-8081-26,27,27) this is a single small book but EVERYTHING in it is testable on your Oral and Practical.

    You then need to buy and be able to find or know the key regs. For this you need a relatively current...-2017 or the 2018 faa regs FOR AMT. The pilot version will not do. In addition. All your work and study should be in accordance w faa AC 43-13 1b & 2b. This "bible" should be on EVERY builders bench. Having it just on the shelf means its not being used enough.

    Being an A&P is harder than most think but it IS VERY DOABLE! It just takes investing time and learning and LOGGING... what you have learned/done. That 30 mos of mixed experience means the equivalent of160 hrs (40 hrs a wk x 4 wks) x 30. BUT. In the beginning even changing a tire or washing/ ground handling an airplane (done correctly) can/ should be logged.

    Building an AB aircraft will give you much of that but you have to be using certified aircraft methods. I like the fact that a Zenith builds fast but "pop" rivets are not usually a certified aircraft method.

    Gotta go evacuate the in laws fm Irma. Good luck

  3. #13

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    Obtaining the practical experience, taking the tests and being a competent A&P are 3 different chapters in the process. They are loosely related at best.

    To get past the first one, having "at least 30 months of practical experience concurrently performing the duties appropriate to both the airframe and powerplant ratings" I suggest visiting the FSDO in person and taking to the on duty ASI. Ask exactly what kind of documentation they will need, have them write it down and follow it to the letter. Walking in and saying you're hot stuff around the hangar with a wrench in your hand isn't going to cut it even if your A&P buddy verifies it in writing.

    The current guidance in FAA Handbook 8900.1, Volume 5, Chapter 5, Section 2, paragraph 5-1135(B) says: "work on an experimental, amateur-built aircraft will receive evaluations on its own merits to determine whether it fulfills the experience requirements so it's quite possible building a plane might be adequate for testing authorization even if it doesn't match up with the 30 months part. It's one of those things that needs to be brought up in a discussion with an ASI. "What do I need to document and how much" is what you need to know so don't guess or take what SGOTI says as gospel.

    They don't expect you to know everything there is to know so complexity of the project, yup, let them decide yea or nay. Taking the oral and practical test is when you will need to know everything there is to know, lol. The computer knowledge testing is pretty easy. The oral and practical exam for my airframe test lasted 7 hrs and was very intense at times. It did include a lunch break so it wasn't 7 hrs of continuous examining. I agree with the DME fees. One of my A&P instructors has been a DME for many yrs and the guys he test with no prep (military) have a very low first time pass rate.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post

    The current guidance in FAA Handbook 8900.1, Volume 5, Chapter 5, Section 2, paragraph 5-1135(B) says: "work on an experimental, amateur-built aircraft will receive evaluations on its own merits to determine whether it fulfills the experience requirements so it's quite possible building a plane might be adequate for testing authorization even if it doesn't match up with the 30 months part. It's one of those things that needs to be brought up in a discussion with an ASI. "What do I need to document and how much" is what you need to know so don't guess or take what SGOTI says as gospel.
    This paragraph is for "Evaluating Military Experience" and does not apply to applicants by civil experience. There is a lot of misinformation in this thread, but Marty is the closest. There are three ways to meet the experience required by FAR 65.77: FAA approved technical school (FAR 147), by military experience, or by civil experience.

    FAA FSIMS are here http://fsims.faa.gov/PICDetail.aspx?...Vol.5,Ch5,Sec2
    Paragraph 5-1135 (G) is for "programs without approval " and states:
    G. Programs without Approval. Applicants who have not graduated from an FAA-approved AMTS or JSAMTCC A&P certification program must present documents from an employer, coworker, or other sources satisfactory to the Administrator to establish the required record of time and experience.

    1) Applicants will document a proportionate amount of experience directly applicable to the certificate and ratings sought. The applicant must have verifiable experience in 50 percent of the subject areas listed for the rating sought (refer to part 147 appendices B, C, and D) in order to be eligible.

    2) The FAA inspector must evaluate the documents submitted to determine the applicants’ eligibility for a test authorization.

    3) There is no expiration for this eligibility.

    I did my A&P using this method and the 30 month requirement from paragraph E for "part time practical experience " still applied as did paragraphs A and C. Showing 50% experience in the FAR 147 subject areas is not an easy task but it can be done. Remember that this only gets you the sign-off to take the three written exams and the oral & practical exam all if which you must pass. About two years ago FAA changed the way the oral & practical exam is administered. It is now randomly generated by an FAA server in Oklahoma City at the start of the exam, but this is another subject. Oh and by the way, work on experimental aircraft can count as long as satisfactory documentation is presented; paragraph A does not distinguish the type of aircraft.

  5. #15
    L16 Pilot's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    Personally I would like to see some aircraft be put in owner maintenance. It gets harder and harder to find a IA who knows the older tube and fabric aircraft such as Taylorcraft, Aeroncas, J-3, etc. Take to the "big shop up the road" and they're learning on your dime (make that dollar$). Having spent most of my life as a diesel mechanic including 30 years teaching the subject at the local community college plus rebuilding and recovering 3-4 of these puppies (with IA supervision) I pretty much know my way around machinery and these are machinery only of a different type. I would suggest some kind of a limited certification such as we have in the heavy duty truck field (ASE) where a person is "certified" in different areas as needed. One who owns a Cub or Champ hardly needs turbine or controllable propeller experience and as far as engines go my Honda cycle is more complex than the typical Continental C65-0200.
    If God had intended man to fly He would have given us more money!

  6. #16

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    Sep 2017
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    I thank you all for the comments. A lot of naysayers and doomsday people out there in the crowd. It is not that I don't see most of the points maybe even some of the negativity from the comments. It comes down to taking my time and documenting the experience and the knowledge and the sources of the knowledge. I have degrees in manufacturing, fire science, to nursing and work as a paramedic full-time. It has been difficult finding a school and then a local school that would allow me to take only one or two classes a semester and work towards my goal. The response is been mainly "We cannot do it that way." Meaning they are accredited schools that have to watch the bottom line of ratio of students passing and failing the exams to keep their accreditation. This makes part-time students like me a liability and makes it harder for a working person who wants or needs to move a little slower to finish. Even a school with online classes still wants me to take 7 months off straight to finish the practical portion (not complaining about the time, would love to do 3 week stints, working it into a life is the problem) I did like the google comment made me chuckle. I can only guess all those WW2 movies on how to fly and how to fix those planes did not help qualify those men and women? Visual teaching has been a large part of the learning process for about as long as the first teacher drew a circle in the dirt and called it round but by no means does it take away from the actual hands on but, you have to start somewhere to learn. So once again thank you for the comments and the private messages that gave resources and other avenues to track down. By no means will this be easy, but at the same time I am not in a hurry as one article pointed out is like eating a elephant one small bite at a time.

  7. #17

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    Sep 2017
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    Yes! It takes a lot of little things but making sure the little things count before starting can make it so much easier down the road. There are several 2-3 week cram session type schools that take you over the potential FAA practical exams one by one so they are fresh for your test.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    7
    [QUOTE=iterk;65435]I have been the Dir of Ed for a large A&P school and still occasionally teach at a local A&P school. I also still teach the "prep" course at FSCJ here inJacksonville ,FL. AFTER you get your FAA sign off I highly recommend a prep course at either your local A&P school if offered or at Bakers in Nashville or one of the variants. The exams are expensive and a solid (organized) week of review and O&P practice may seem expensive and time consuming but will save you the greater expense of trial and error.

    Most of the above is on track but I will add a bit. First. Get AND WORK THROUGH...a set of current FAA written text books. They are relatively inexpensive. They are published under contract by ASA and others. Amazon is good or direct fm ASA. pn ASA 8083-30ATB or faa w same number is the General book, 8083-3V1 and V2 are the Airframe books and 8083-32 is the power plant book. The study guides for the three writtens are AMG- (the last two digits are the year. Anything in the recent 2-3 years should be OK) i.e. -15, -16,-17. This is the study guide for the Gen written w some guidance on the practical. The airframe study guide is AMA-(year) and the powerplant is AMP-(yr). You also need the current Practical Test Prep (faa-S-8081-26,27,27) this is a single small book but EVERYTHING in it is testable on your Oral and Practical.

    You then need to buy and be able to find or know the key regs. For this you need a relatively current...-2017 or the 2018 faa regs FOR AMT. The pilot version will not do. In addition. All your work and study should be in accordance w faa AC 43-13 1b & 2b. This "bible" should be on EVERY builders bench. Having it just on the shelf means its not being used enough.

    Being an A&P is harder than most think but it IS VERY DOABLE! It just takes investing time and learning and LOGGING... what you have learned/done. That 30 mos of mixed experience means the equivalent of160 hrs (40 hrs a wk x 4 wks) x 30. BUT. In the beginning even changing a tire or washing/ ground handling an airplane (done correctly) can/ should be logged.

    Building an AB aircraft will give you much of that but you have to be using certified aircraft methods. I like the fact that a Zenith builds fast but "pop" rivets are not usually a certified aircraft method.

    Gotta go evacuate the in laws fm Irma. Good luck[/QUOTE
    Thank you. All valid points.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by mallen View Post
    Thanks Joel. I will be building most likely a RV-12 but even doubling the time will still leave me short. I plan on having A&P's to come and do sign offs but they took the traditional way of schooling and have scratched their heads on online classes and seminars counting for time when asked. I would think that online seminars that count for AMT credit would count for time as would some of the engine classes you can take from the manufacturers. I do think talking to the FSDO might clear it up but still wondering if anyone recently went this route and fined out what was approved.
    No need for A&P at all if you simply get a Repaiman Certificate for the RV-12.

  10. #20

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    Sep 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Berson View Post
    No need for A&P at all if you simply get a Repaiman Certificate for the RV-12.
    Looking at the retirement side of my life. Getting it sitting at a small airport and working for the enjoyment of the work not the money of the work.

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