A&P License - Did you get yours through experience?

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by Skymac, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. Skymac

    Skymac Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just curious for those that got their A and/or P License through the 18 or 30 month method, how did you document your time and to what extent was sufficient? I never really intended to get my A&P, but I’ve toyed with the idea as I enjoy not only flying but wrenching as well. I think I’ll start with just the Airframe portion but just something I’ve been thinking about. I can get time logged but just not sure exactly how to go about it. My time has never been by employment.
     
  2. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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  3. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    I went to school. 18 month.
     
  4. Brad W

    Brad W Line Up and Wait

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    i know nothing...except to say I recently watched a vid on youtube (in the hangar) and they were discussing owner performed maintenance and the mechanic being interviewed suggested logging all the time you spend when doing anything.... assisting with things or doing any of the list of things you can do yourself.... just for this reason.

    I toyed with the idea many years back myself, of working towards it... but sadly never had the opportunity. I used to enjoy turning wrenches a lot, and have a strong aptitude for things mechanical...years ago before life got in the way of my flying I used to dream of buying an old cessna 170 and restoring it under my then neighbor's tutilage...a retired IA
    Honestly, I think the time requirements are too deep personally. So I say good luck to you!
     
  5. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    2 year community college program.....in Frederick, MD. The program closed in the mid 90's.....
     
  6. weirdjim

    weirdjim Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Find a friendly A&P, preferably an IA (they seem to carry more weight with the drones at the FSDO). Document EVERY SECOND of work, including chasing down parts, reading the maintenance manual, conversing with the A&P (phone calls, emails, chats, whatever). EVERY SECOND. I'd get a monthly printout and have the A&P sign at the bottom that they agree that this time was spent on stuff in the regulations. Did you call Aircraft Spruce and ask for a price? Or if it would fit? LOG IT. EVERY SECOND, including going to the library if necessary to find information.

    I was fortunate to have an airline based in the city where I went to college. After 5 years of 3 days a week after-school work I amassed the hours necessary. God bless the PSA gods for giving me that job, although it DID cut into my social life. A lot. I was the Friday-Saturday-Sunday night shift (plus full time summers), but it also got me radar experience. That and finally getting that BS got me a radar engineering job on the space program straight out of college.

    Jim
     
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  7. OkieFlyer

    OkieFlyer En-Route

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    Very good question. I've thought about it myself. As an owner, I spend an awful lot of time in, on, under, and around my plane. ALL my maintenance is owner assisted, or in other words, owner performed with a person with proper credentials in the room and signing stuff. That's not to say I'm not looked after properly, but I actually DO the work. I can't imagine how many loggable hours I've put in in my 5 years of ownership, but I cringe to think about those unlogged hours I could have used.
     
  8. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    I don't know how it is these days where you have to have an appointment and go through an air lock just to get into a FSDO but back in the old days you just needed a letter. It wasn't automatically assumed back then that everyone was a fraud or potential terrorist.
     
  9. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    way back when,, the A&P-? would send the FSDO letter stated the candidate is qualified and then the FSDO would sign off, the letter to take the test.

    lot of time the whole thing took a day.

    lots of military got theirs that way.
     
  10. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    And what federal facilities can you just walk through today without going through security of some kind?

    To the point, it's not that big of a deal to call a FSDO and schedule an appointment. Plus the guidance I cited in post #2 details what is required to gain authorization for the writtens. A single letter will no longer suffice, the time must be documented.
     
  11. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    full disclosure.....they made me, a Fed employee with a badge....schedule an appointment and go thru all the security checks. <roll eyes>
     
  12. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    This is how I got my A&P but things have changed since then. Documenting your experience is half the battle. You will still need to get your test authorizations from a local FSDO ASI for each test. Best advice is contact your local FSDO and discuss what they want to see in the way of documenting your experience even before attempting to document any of it. Each FSDO and ASI can have their own quirks in my experience. Review the link in post #2 and this https://www.faa.gov/mechanics/become/ for background before contacting the FSDO. Good luck.
     
  13. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    Just went through this last year. Took me two FSDOs and an IA to get a coherent story, since my experience was nonstandard and not easily quantified.

    I would not be granted an appointment without a pre-vetting done via Email. They wanted me to tape out my experience vs. the Far Part 147 sections B, C, and D. This is the curriculum requirement for an A&P school.

    My "approving IA" and I went through each line item, and guesstimated hours spent in each, then added types of work I had performed which met the subject area. We had about 80% coverage, but my time was HEAVY in maybe 10 or 20 of the few hundred categories. I typed everything up into a nice word document, added my IA's "introduction letter" and attestation that the hours and coverage areas were under his supervision. Signed it and emailed it off for blessing.

    Once blessed, I made the appointment. Then the morning of that appointment, a second ASI reviewed my letter and documents and asked how I was proving exactly 4,800 hours of experience. I said it was totalled up in the FAR 147 tape-out, but that wasn't good enough for him. Meeting cancelled. His morning freed up at the expense of my two weeks. Fine.

    I took it to a different FSDO, made a new appointment on the strength of the first blessing, then I went back 12 years and printed every damned work order I had ever had an eyelash's involvement in. It filled a milk crate. I used every sheet of a costco jumbo ream of paper and an entire toner cartridge. I tabbed it, sectioned it off by N#, and reviewed them to re-familiarize myself with some of the major works I was involved with.

    I marched that into my 7:30am appointment and you could see the fear in the ASI's eyes when he saw my giant crate. He ssaid "someone has already approved these, so here ya go". Signed the form, I was out in two minutes. Two months of prep and anguish and documentation for 2 minutes of the third ASI's time.


    I think "dealing with the FAA" should be Appendix E in part 147. It's a major part of the game.

    I don't know if my technique would work in light of the new changes. I haven't reviewed them.
     
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  14. Ryan Klems

    Ryan Klems Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I did mine via experience. I started apprenticing full time in 2001, went back to tech in 2005. The shop owner ****ed off our PMI, so he wasn't interested in signing me off to take the tests so I tabled it for a bit. Then I started working on the weekends with a couple other mechanics. Had been doing that for the last 13 years or so and finally decided to try again. I had an experience logbook that was pretty incomplete, letters of recommendation and attestation from 5 A&P's and IAs etc. Met with the inspector in March of 2019 and he went line by line through Appendix B,C & D of Part 147 and had me discuss what experience I had, if any, in each particular subject. Once he was satisfied, he signed my 8610-2's.
     
  15. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I have to wonder if, sometime in the future when they are begging for A+Ps, if they will slacken the rules once again.
     
  16. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Line Up and Wait

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    5pm to 10pm...Monday thru Friday for 2 years....400 days total...FAA part 147 school.
     
  17. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Ease is relative to what FSDO you're working with. Mike's post conveys the inconsistency between them well. Thankfully, things are still relatively easy in the midwest even under the new rules referenced in post #2. I know 4 people who have gotten endorsed 8610s based on experience in the last year or so, the last two being just before Christmas in a neighboring FSDO.

    But if you want easy, go to school. You'll have your certificate in less time doing that than it took those of us who had to work for it.
     
  18. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Had a co-worker who did that. We were kinda in the same spot- pilots working on A&Ps. I went the school route, he went the OJT route. I finished faster than him (2 years, 3 to 10pm, every freaking day. No way would I have the time now) and had a broader more formal experience. He was a natural wrench, much more so than me, but he was at the mercy of our IA who was hot and cold. The IA dragged him out years for various reasons, but i guess felt he wasn’t ready. He did get it, but could have gotten it much sooner had he went to school, which he would have crushed anyway.

    Luckily we worked on pistons and jets, so he got that experience. But the tests involve turbine/helo/fabric/ composite stuff so you may need study for that on your own. It wasn’t intentional but I think I had the best experience- formal school for regs, foundational knowledge(wasn’t a huge car guy growing up), and then OJT at the same time for the real world. This was about 10-15 years ago now so I’m not sure if the OJT regs have changed. Certainly doable though.
     
  19. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    Maybe they’ll just require a post card to be mailed in stating “I want my A&P”.

    Prepaid post card, of course.
     
  20. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    no....a two week repairman's cert course. It's comming. ;-)
     
  21. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    The requirement is to onerous. The FAA should only provide a postage paid post card in which the applicant puts his name and address, then mails in. An A&P certificate then will be promptly mailed to the applicant. o_O
     
  22. mirage00

    mirage00 Pattern Altitude

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    If there was a night school in NY I would attend. FUnny how I can change brakes/calipers/rotors etc on my Chevy Suburban, load it up with 8 people and drive on a busy expressway at 75 mph and nobody cares. Fix the brakes on a 172 and that's a big no no. Love the gubment
     
  23. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    The ASIs already have the discretion to cut the corners when needed. But as to "slacken" the rules I think you'll see an owner maintained category pop up before they make it dramatically easier to get an A&P. Fortunately/unfortunately non-owner/operator performance of mx on TC'd aircraft not only falls under the US FAR/CFRs but also several international conventions like ICAO and various bi-lateral agreements. This came up when they attempted the new Part 66 for mechanics a number of years ago. It failed for a number of reasons but one was they would have to rewrite basically the entire FARs as the new certificate scheme was typed by aircraft weight and skill requirements. So as long as the owner or operator are physically performing the mx the ICAO and others make it relatively easy to comply with the international conventions. Same goes for owner-produced parts in Part 21. It's also the reason there are certification requirements, i.e., repairman certificates, for certain mx functions on E/AB and LSA aircraft.
     
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  24. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Good explanation Bellman, thanks
     
  25. Brad W

    Brad W Line Up and Wait

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    yep, as I wrote earlier it seems like the requirement is too deep to me.
    I get that it's serious business...but having a "blind" hour requirement ranks it right up there with things like the state's requirement for someone to get a license to cut my hair....just makes it seem silly.
    engineering degree worth anything?
    non-aviation professional experience on things mechanical/electrical/structural worth anything?
    previous mechanic experience?
    natural aptitude for such things?
    ...seems like something driven by a union or "professional association"
     
  26. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    No true "professional association" in the A&P world. There are some, but those tend to be very industry specific and in most cases have a union connection. You'll find most A&Ps are rather independent thinkers vs group thinkers. As I mentioned above, the depth of the requirements is more based on international convention than internal requirements. If you want to see "silly" in the mechanic certification world read up on what it takes to get a UK/CAA aircraft engineers license or EASA Part 66 license. Even getting a TCCA license is an event. And these all follow the same international conventions as the US A&P requirements.

    But the old adage, an A&P certificate is a license to learn is very accurate. And by passing the 6 tests (written, oral/practical) demonstrates you have a minimum skill level. Nothing more. Which by the way is held to a higher extent in non-aviation companies than in aviation itself. As to the other experience you list, they may help with getting your test authorizations and make you a better mechanic, but they don't count toward any of your required experience toward an A&P. The current experience requirements are listed in the link below, Appendix B-D. If going the apprentice/on the job experience route then you need to convince the FSDO ASI you have "useful" experience in 50% of the items in all three lists. If going to a 147 school then they'll teach basically all list items.
    https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-i...f5a9e50f18f2&mc=true&node=pt14.3.147&rgn=div5

    Whether it's considered "too deep" is strictly a personal decision as you have done. It is what it is. But getting an A&P is just simply another commitment that is no different than getting a college degree, ATP, or any other certification or license. Some make it through and some don't.;)
     
  27. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Many years Boeing employees were able to qualify for their A&P just because they worked by Boeing