Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More educashun

I had so much fun at the electrical wiring class last month that I started thinking seriously about getting an A&P certificate. For those that aren't sure what that is, an A&P certificate (Airframe and Powerplant) is the FAA license required to work on airplanes. I don't necessarily need it to work on Papa Golf because it's an Experimental, but if I wanted to be able to work on store bought planes or sign off the annual condition on a homebuilt, including Papa Golf, I would need the certificate.

I had thought about doing it before since there is a school that has a program for it right on Bolton Field and you just can't beat that for convenience, but I thought I'd have to do the whole two year Associates Degree program. This turns out to not be true; I can take just the classes required for the FAA certification. They offer classes at night, but due to scheduling challenges and only wanting to take one class at a time, it will take 3 - 5 years to complete the training. That's fine by me - there's no real hurry to do it. This is long-term planning for when I'm ready to semi-retire, and since I'm only 44, that will be awhile.

I've been looking at the curriculum and it's pretty exciting. My first class will be Aviation 117 (basic aviation maintenance), which I believe is concerned mostly with tools and safety practices. There's a lab component too, so there must be some wrenching on airplanes and/or engines involved. It is descibed thusly in the course catalog:

Develop an understanding of basic aviation maintenance procedures and the tools used by the aircraft technician. Covers identification and selection of materials used in aircraft construction. Practice in fabricating and installing fluid lines and fittings. Select and perform non-destructive inspection processes.

There are no prerequisites for the class, but I will at some point have to go backwards and take:

AVI 111 Aviation Theory (A,SP)
Basic science for the aviation maintenance technician, including aerodynamics and flight stability, mathematics, physics, and weight and balance effects


AVI 115 Aircraft Maintenance Regulations, Pubs., and Records (A,SP)
Application of Federal Aviation Regulations to aircraft maintenance and the aircraft technician. The use of aircraft maintenance forms, records, publications, and other pertinent technical data.

It starts to get really interesting after that. I should have a head start on this one with my Air Force history, the smattering of EE classes I took, and my recent EAA class:

AVI 121 Basic Electricity (W,SU)
Inspect and service batteries. Determine the relationship of voltage, current, and resistance in electrical circuits. Measure voltage, current, resistance, and continuity, calculate and measure power, read and interpret aircraft electrical circuit diagrams including solid state devices, and logic functions. Calculate and measure capacitance and inductance, and operating principles of generators, alternators, and motors.

The AVN117 class starts Jan 3rd. Watch this space for updates!


  1. There has to be a way to take a test and get creadit for some of the basic courses. Maybe worth looking into to save a year.


  2. I won't have to do the general ed math classes etc., but almost all of the aviation stuff will be new enough to be interesting so I won't mind taking them.

    There is actually another path to the A&P: you can log actual work in planes and at some point it's enough to be allowed to take the exams and get certified, but I remember it as being a fairly large number of hours (1,800 comes to mind).