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Thread: "Owner Maintenance" in the US?

  1. #41

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    Yeah, and 40 years ago the tests were free! My A&P cost $100 and a half day of effort - fifty bucks to Federal Exams in OKC, and fifty to the examiner. I left OKC westbound that afternoon - two weeks ahead of my schedule.

    Today the exams are $500 and the oral is at least another $500 and takes two days!

    College was essentially free back then as well. I think I paid $100 a quarter at UCSD - then they started paying me!

  2. #42
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Somebody has to tell me about a two day oral! Exactly what can anyone come up with to talk about for two days?! I did my oral and practical in about a day.

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  3. #43

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    My oral and practical was a full 5 days!


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  4. #44
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    I don't feel bad at all. My mechanic skills have never hurt/killed anyone and I'm willing to put work out there for anyone to check up on. So I guess my one day oral/practical was ok?

    Web
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  5. #45
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    I’ve read thru all the post and really take offense at many of the comments, but in fairness there must be reasons for the negative comments. I don’t have a answer for this except did you confront the bad A& P or report them to the FAA. If not you have no business condemning all mechanics.
    I spent 9 years as a maintenance officer in the Army, then three years in a shop as a apprentice. I had been thru many school over the years prior and studied every night after work. I look at what I had to do the next day also. The guys I worked with were the best and I’m very proud I worked with them. Then I studied and took my written’s . Then went to a school for a week and prep for the oral,and practical. Then three years later went to a school for my IA. To this day I study nearly everyday and take great care to do a good job.
    So I may be a over achiever with the studying but it’s my hobby and really not required by any means but every mechanic I’ve worked with are very professional and truly work very hard to do a good job. I am every bit as proud of my A& P and IA as my ATP B767/757 and DC-9 types.
    IMHO much of this falls on the FAA trying to micro manage everything. The IA was invented by them in the 60’s. Making parts could be inspected by a a&p and signed off. Many other thing that are either referred to the FAA and bogged down such as field approvals on and on. Revamping the system would be good but giving blanket permission for people to do there own work I don’t like. Airplanes are different than cars and boats.
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  6. #46
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    Dumbed down the tests? I don't think so. I just went through the process this past winter and from what I hear the tests have recently become more difficult in specific ways, much more electrical theory and regulatory questions so I'm told. For the O&P the examiner no longer has latitude as to what questions to ask or to 'help' you through the test, they download the question base from the FAA just before the test and 3 out of 5 from each section has to be correct or you go home. Interesting side note. Of the 50 guys and one gal in the class all but four of us were full time mechanics of some sort. Most were younger military guys working on big iron every day, some that worked at manufacturing shops like Bell Helicopters and a few from the airlines. Four of us older guys were GA guys with other jobs too. As the weeks progressed it was clear as a whole the full timers were struggling with the tests, many failed a written or two and had to go back to take them over again. Some of the brightest came back to school with their tails between their legs after failing the O&P, these are guys that work every day on the line. It was interesting to see these confident, competent young men so shaken by the testing process, they were not used to failure. They all studied hard but it wasn't an easy 'dumbed down' process. Proud to say all four of us GA guys passed.

  7. #47
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    Somebody has to tell me about a two day oral! Exactly what can anyone come up with to talk about for two days?! I did my oral and practical in about a day.

    Web
    My daughter talked to a mechanic examiner recently and that is what he told her as well. It is a test generated by the FAA. People taking advantage to the system causes more regulation and makes it harder for those who follow the rules.

    I don't see how the FAA could ever cover every aspect of aviation in the A&P test. I went to school and worked at the Confederate Airforce hanger all weekend. I learned more practical things on the weekends but what I needed to know for the test in school. It is no difference than accounting or other trades. My wife has done accounting since high school. She laughed at what her professors taught in college and the same with the CPA test.

    Like Tim posted I know several people who are not A&Ps who did great work, researched things and were excellent mechanics. My Dad wasone and I pushed him to get his A&P and he finally did and then his IA. That was a problem with my daughter when she worked for me because I wouldn't give her another raise until she got at least her airframe license. Now that she lives 60 miles away and in another aviation related business she is working on her A&P. I see what Tim (BehindPropellers) is talking about, maybe like a repairmans certificate for your own airplane.
    Last edited by Steve Pierce; 08-14-2019 at 07:52 AM.
    Steve Pierce

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  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I see what Tim (BehindPropellers) is talking about, maybe like a repairman's certificate for your own airplane.
    Worded that way is very logical.
    And thank you for calling CAF the way it used to be and should still be today.

  9. #49
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    And all the while in my neck of the woods , we have fewer and fewer pilots , owners and A&Ps , and it gets harder and harder to find a A&P / IA that has time to work on the older planes . From the view around here I'd say that if we keep doing things the same old way the few will keep getting fewer .
    Doug
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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    My oral and practical was a full 5 days!
    Holy jumpin' what in the....???? How in the name of our good Lord could any test be stretched out to 5 days? Somebody was overdoing it for sure. My A&P oral and practical tool all of about 4 hours. Maybe it might have been 5. but it was all done in an evening. And the guy was pretty darned thorough even at that. Five days?? SHEESH!!!
    Joe

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  11. #51

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    I think back 40ish years ago to my early days working as an A&P and taking my flight lessons at a small airport in Conn.
    My current thoughts keep rolling around, Where have all the airplanes gone?
    At that airport and many others there were better part of fifty planes tided down on the field. Rows of airplanes.
    Today there are only Crickets out there.
    Simplification leading to reduction of yearly cost is a very good step to trying to keep GA alive.
    Basic med sure helps, it helps many of us. Has it made us dangerous pilots?
    We need a similar approach to our aircraft.
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  12. #52
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    I spent 14 months and 1100 hours totally renewing my C-180. I did it all. Wiring, avionics, engine R&R, prop hanging, sheetmetal, etc. I think that should qualify for a repairman certificate for the plane. Good way to learn your ride.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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  13. #53

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    Noted the comment above about old timers flunking. Good mechanics are not necessarily good lawyers or even good students. When I drifted through OKC in one morning to get my A&P, I saw rows of guys who knew way more than me struggling with the books. They really were going to spend two weeks there.

    It is worse now - practical tests are routinely flunked. I went for forty years without a student flunking a flight test, but gave up most primary instruction five years ago because all my students began to flunk. One flunked because he didn't do a stabilized approach in a J3. Beautiful landings, gorgeous air work, but failed to nail 60 for the entire approach. Had the examiner been able to tell him "show me a 60 mph approach" he easily could have done so.

    And back to the topic - we are so uptight now that an annual on a J3 can easily top five grand. Who can afford that sort of thing? If I get a jug that is low on compression I do not replace all cylinders - I fly for a week and re- check it. Shops don't do that - they reject your cylinders instantly. So if you are wondering why the middle class has abandoned light aviation, it's because it is way too expensive, and everybody seems to flunk the first practical exam.

    Glad I did mine in the sixties.

  14. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnorris View Post
    Holy jumpin' what in the....???? How in the name of our good Lord could any test be stretched out to 5 days? Somebody was overdoing it for sure. My A&P oral and practical tool all of about 4 hours. Maybe it might have been 5. but it was all done in an evening. And the guy was pretty darned thorough even at that. Five days?? SHEESH!!!
    That was back in 1977. A long time ago. For my IA in 1980, you needed to bring in a wheelbarrow full of books ( regulations, TCDS, ADs, ACs) since there was no internet! The test wasn’t multiple guess like today, you had to not only write out the answer, you had to cite paragraph and page number where the answer came from!


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  15. #55
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    I’ve found the testing to be much harder now days than in the 1960-70’s. The FAA is justifying there jobs and I think a lot of it is academics have gotten involved in the training. Though they don’t know a thing about training and aviation they have degrees that don’t have jobs so they make them for them self’s. How about scenario based training for a good laugh, don’t tell anyone they did something wrong it may offend them and heaven forbid teaching a full break stall or a spin. The FAA is a failed organization, ask most reps and you get that answer from them.
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  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    Much of the issue today is that A&P schools don’t teach what is required to maintain small aircraft. The push has been large aircraft systems, turban engines, and “advanced avionics” while dropping or significantly reducing dope and fabric, welding, sheet metal, reciprocating engines. ….
    A friend of mine worked as a mechanics helper (aka apprentice) in a couple different airplane shops,
    then went to one of the "finishing schools" to get his A&P.
    He told me almost everything there was aimed at airliner type work.
    Nobody seemed to have ever heard of welding a cluster,
    which people have told me was one of the toughest parts of the practical test back in the day.

    I almost think maybe they need to have a separate license for GA aircraft,
    as opposed to jets & large turboprops.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post

    I almost think maybe they need to have a separate license for GA aircraft,
    as opposed to jets & large turboprops.
    Not a bad idea, basically different elective courses.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    My daughter talked to a mechanic examiner recently and that is what he told her as well. It is a test generated by the FAA. People taking advantage to the system causes more regulation and makes it harder for those who follow the rules.

    I don't see how the FAA could ever cover every aspect of aviation in the A&P test. I went to school and worked at the Confederate Airforce hanger all weekend. I learned more practical things on the weekends but what I needed to know for the test in school. It is no difference than accounting or other trades. My wife has done accounting since high school. She laughed at what her professors taught in college and the same with the CPA test.

    Like Tim posted I know several people who are not A&Ps who did great work, researched things and were excellent mechanics. My Dad wasone and I pushed him to get his A&P and he finally did and then his IA. That was a problem with my daughter when she worked for me because I wouldn't give her another raise until she got at least her airframe license. Now that she lives 60 miles away and in another aviation related business she is working on her A&P. I see what Tim (BehindPropellers) is talking about, maybe like a repairmans certificate for your own airplane.

    My point was mainly to change the requirements to take the test. Proving your 1900 hours of mechanic work on an airplane is tough.

    Hold people to high standards but make the ability to prove those high standards easier to achieve.

    I recently completed my A&P. The candidates who were in to take the class that were from a 2 year school were not prepared to take the test....let alone work on an airplane....ok maybe change the oil or fill up the tires.

    Anyway my frustration was the disparity between the students taking the test - from unprepared to very well prepared. And they all walked away with the same privileges.

    On the written(s) I got 88/85/76. In the O&P i had 760 questions...missed 7. Practical was inspecting an old Bonanza, rivet a brake lining, remove and re-saftey a hose, inspect a bladder, dress a prop, do a W&B, do a bushwheel stc/337, read some instructions for a turbine engine, and make an aluminum flared tube.

    About 5 hours.

    Apparently the testing is all pretty standard at this point.

    Tim

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    "Nobody seemed to have ever heard of welding a cluster,
    which people have told me was one of the toughest parts of the practical test back in the day."

    You're right, the test cluster (which I did have to do) wasn't that easy but I'd say splicing a wood spar would top that, at least in my book. I do know of one guy that had that on his practical. I think he either did or said something to PO the tester as that is the only one I remember having to do so. In my O/P (1970) I was asked about the splice but didn't have to do one. I told him all the words he wanted to hear and he asked how I would proceed. I told him I would run right out and buy a whole new spar as there was no flippin way in hell I was ever going to splice a spar. It is the only thing that the only way one could be totally certain it is 100% good is to totally destroy it, which is exactly what was done in the school. Splice destruction day was filled with much joy and sadness; joy if you passed, and sadness (and a new piece of wood to start on) if you didn't.

    I never used my A/P to make money (if any geezers recall, the airlines were not only not hiring in late 70 early 71, they were laying off folks with 20 yrs experience) but sure glad I got it as I now have a simple fabric covered plane that totally fits what I had learned.
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  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    For my IA in 1980, you needed to bring in a wheelbarrow full of books ( regulations, TCDS, ADs, ACs) since there was no internet! The test wasn’t multiple guess like today, you had to not only write out the answer, you had to cite paragraph and page number where the answer came from!


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    Yep, I did mine in '88 and had a helluva time because I kept getting motion sickness from the microfische reader pages moving!! Still got the test written before lunch and got a 100%, but didn't feel like eating.
    John
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  21. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardtailjohn View Post
    Yep, I did mine in '88 and had a helluva time because I kept getting motion sickness from the microfische reader pages moving!! Still got the test written before lunch and got a 100%, but didn't feel like eating.
    John
    The guy I took the test with from the FSDO marked one of mine wrong even though I had the reference that showed I was correct. He said nobody gets 100 on the IA test! Guess you had a better inspector!


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  22. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardtailjohn View Post
    Yep, I did mine in '88 and had a helluva time because I kept getting motion sickness from the microfische reader pages moving!! Still got the test written before lunch and got a 100%, but didn't feel like eating.
    John
    You got the AD search right and still had time to finish the test?

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    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.
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  23. #63

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    I did my IA in 2003. It cost $70, and was a computer type test. Took about 30 minutes. Almost easier to do that than it is to do the yearly recurrent. Maybe they toughened it up since then?
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  24. #64

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    Maybe owner maintenance should require owners taking a class? Get interviewed for competency like a Repairman Cert requires? Not every owner is qualified to work on airplanes but some are. A Repairman approach could make sense.

  25. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Maybe owner maintenance should require owners taking a class? Get interviewed for competency like a Repairman Cert requires? Not every owner is qualified to work on airplanes but some are. A Repairman approach could make sense.
    Ya, my IA tells me if I see something broken, the only hand tool he wants me to use is a cell phone.........
    Mark
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  26. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by mam90 View Post
    Ya, my IA tells me if I see something broken, the only hand tool he wants me to use is a cell phone.........



    Transmitted from my FlightPhone

  27. #67

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    I have no A&P but like many hobbyists whose passion is aviation I can gas weld, Tig weld, do fabric work, I spliced a spar on my J3, I’ve installed floats, skis, ground valves and seats on cylinders, rigged wings, made control cables, etc etc. building experimentals and restoring/refurbishing vintage birds....there are many many in the same boat...give a written and practical (repairman test) if you will or something like that. Those of us who love this kind of thing will do it, some will have others do their work. I believe there will be a few slip shod owners, hell there are now....most will take it seriously and do the right thing. This topic will have as many opinions as can be found in politics and the battle will probably be long. I do believe that many would find value and benefit greatly by a new rule such as this.

  28. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2D View Post
    You got the AD search right and still had time to finish the test?

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    Yeah...I was on fire! Started at just a shade after 7am and was done about 12:15. First IA exam that Bob Speicher gave. Leo said he was really groaning, figuring he was going to be there all day!
    John
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  29. #69
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    Now my question will be where do the IA ‘s stand. Will there still be a requirement of annual inspections. It seems that may be the case, this will be a can of worms if the FAA half asses the program as they have a tendency to do.
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  30. #70
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    A man has to know his limitations!



    Quote Originally Posted by mam90 View Post
    Ya, my IA tells me if I see something broken, the only hand tool he wants me to use is a cell phone.........
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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