Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back to School - First Night

I had the first night of A&P classes tonight. It was pretty light - mostly an introduction to the program, the implications of being an FAA Part 147 school, and a read-through of the curriculum. I had to buy books ($152 worth!) and we have a reading assignment for Monday. They say it's mostly hands-on, though, which I prefer.

The instructor is a pilot, and a very experience one at that. He has a Cessna Citation type rating, ATP, CFII, multi, yada yada yada. He owns a Piper Super Cub that he keeps hangared at Bolton. He's been teaching the A&P program for 16 years, and in fact taught my favorite mechanic over at Bolton. We had a nice chat about the RV-6, flying to Oshkosh, the joys of maintaining our own planes, and all kinds of other aviation related stuff.

It's a small class, only six students. Two of them are older than me. One is a pilot that wants to take a few classes and just learn more about how the plane works, thinking (correctly, in my opinion) that it will make him a better, safer pilot. The other has a long background in electronics and avionics, and says he takes the classes simply because he enjoys them.

The younger guys are more career oriented. One doesn't really care about planes; he wants to get on a good race team as a machanic. That makes more sense than you may realize - the tools and techniques are very similar. There's a 19 year old that is really into cars, and works at a local BMW dealer. The third is looking to get on with a major airline.

The curriculum looks great! Lot's of tool stuff, fabricating fluid lines, and non-destructive inspection techniques. All very applicable to maintaining the RV, so worth doing even if I never finish the program. Truth be told, though, I think I'm going to enjoy this so much I'll have the rating before I know it. I can easily see doing this for the next four years. Fascinating stuff!

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