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  #51  
Old 04-16-2021, 07:37 AM
Aryana Aryana is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Western US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jliltd View Post
"certified" = "type certified". I was lazy and imprecise.
Certificated...I get it.
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  #52  
Old 04-16-2021, 12:37 PM
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bruceh bruceh is offline
 
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Location: Ramona, CA
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Yes, having the A&P is no guarantee of being a decent mechanic. I'm currently back in school trying to earn my A&P (for fun, not a career since I'm basically retired). I'm definitely the "old guy" in the class and most of the other students are either just out of the military or high school. I'm the only pilot and aircraft builder in the class. Not much experience or knowledge found in the HS group. The ex-military guys have experience, but mostly on big jets/helicopters. We have a lab class where we have to fabricate things and surprisingly (or not) many students have never even picked up a hack saw or used a drill press. The little projects we have to do are really straightforward - file and drill this piece of steel and make a tool. I was done with my tool projects after about a week. Some students are still working on them after 11 weeks! Our teacher gives really great lectures and talks about many real world experiences, so I pick up new things every class. I think most of the students are looking for airline jobs or non-GA work. Finding a good GA mechanic with experience and skill is getting harder and harder. My aim is to get the A&P and continue to do repairs/projects/inspections on the side as I have time available. I enjoy the building/fixing/repair work.
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RV-9A N5771H flown over 800 hours!
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  #53  
Old 04-16-2021, 02:30 PM
rcsilvmac rcsilvmac is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: NorCal
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Bruce, I wish I had hangar near you - I could keep you busy on my RV-6A!
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  #54  
Old 04-16-2021, 02:56 PM
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Roadjunkie1 Roadjunkie1 is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Erie, Colorado
Posts: 162
Default A&P Mechanics......

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceh View Post
Yes, having the A&P is no guarantee of being a decent mechanic. I'm currently back in school trying to earn my A&P

Not much experience or knowledge found in the HS group. The ex-military guys have experience, but mostly on big jets/helicopters.

I think most of the students are looking for airline jobs or non-GA work. Finding a good GA mechanic with experience and skill is getting harder and harder. My aim is to get the A&P and continue to do repairs/projects/inspections on the side as I have time available. I enjoy the building/fixing/repair work.
A&Ps, I suppose, are like every other profession: there are good ones and not so good ones. The problem is the good ones are becoming harder to find and A&P for General Aviation are going to become increasingly difficult to find. After the Cub annual, done by a GA IA whom I have known for decades and trust, I still leave the cowl off and go through the Cub doing a "second inspection". And, before he arrives for the annual, all inspection covers are off, plugs are out and cleaned, compression test done, timing done and I have already looked over everything. But I've been in "the business" for a while.

It is a excellent program that allows us builders to do condition inspections on our airplanes. Who else knows it better? I still have my IA come by occasionally and take a peek as well. He says he feels silly doing it but I want another pair of eyes looking at things I am "used" to looking at.

A friend is in a local A&P class and, initially, there were three classes of 25 students. There is now one class of 22. The others were weeded out. It is amazing that people who join those classes have no CLUE about what it is about. Some have ZERO mechanical ability. It's a little worrisome.

I was fortunate to fall into a aircraft mechanic's job when I was in college and acquired a massive amount of practical experience: 6 years worth. Then I got involved in graduate school and did not take my practical for A&P. I should have. Building SuzieQ was another 6 years of experience.

New/young A&P mechanics are getting scarce, nearly as scarce as younger (and women) pilots. We as an aviation community need to be encouraging them!
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  #55  
Old 04-16-2021, 04:12 PM
74-07 74-07 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 562
Default A&P

I retired from flying professionally in 2011. In 2017, I started on yet another bucket list item - getting my A&P. Took two years, a bunch of studying and I made some great young friends. What I observed was that the classes broke out into exactly the same way as the UPT classes in the Air Force - 10% truly gifted, 20% quick learners, 20% average, 25% slow learners and finally, 25% that couldn't hack the program. Every single one of the ones that completed the course were hired by the airlines BEFORE they graduated. The previous writer is correct, GA pilots can expect to see fewer and fewer A&Ps and we certainly need to encourage them. GA pay and benefits simply do not stack up with the air carriers. Interestingly enough, in spite of the fact that there are over 11,000 RVs flying and being maintained, the FAA gives NO credit towards meeting the requirements for the IA for maintaining experimental aircraft. Very little motivation for the new guys to even want to learn about our great airplanes. Combine that with the fact that us older guys have real liability concerns about working on aircraft other than the ones we own and you have a very, very difficult situation developing.
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  #56  
Old 04-16-2021, 11:18 PM
JDeanda JDeanda is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Ventura, CA
Posts: 235
Default A&P Commitment

My father was not thrilled with my choice to be a general aviation A&P after he found out what they're paid, but Mom and Dad still sent me thru school. It was always a financial struggle as a GA mechanic, but it's my passion and I hadn't really thought seriously about doing anything else. Less than 2 years with a now-defunct commuter airline pretty well cured me of any residual curiosity about big $ airplanes. A buddy and I ran our own shop restoring old airplanes for a few years, and it was tough. I wound up doing 29 years with one of the big military airframers and the pay was certainly welcome. But I always kept a hand (or a whole arm) in little airplanes. Actually, I liked working at the big company until the last couple of years when the bean counters needed to control everything. If GA mechanics continue to be expected to work for these piddly wages and poor treatment, then there's trouble ahead. I've flown something over 100 Young Eagles, and exactly one girl and no boys said they wanted to be a mechanic. Low wages and crummy treatment will not help attract good people. I've worked with lots of young engineers but very few young mechanics. I hear the complaints about shoddy work from A&Ps and believe me, I get it. I too have known and worked with people with licenses that I wouldn't let in the same room with my bicycle, just as I know people with 4-year degrees that can't find their way out of a hula hoop. But that degree tells me the person at least stuck with something for 4 years, just as an A&P license tells me the person spent at least 2 years proving they have at least some ability to take care of an airplane. The huge majority of A&Ps I know are pretty good. Some mediocre, some are excellent, but most are competent and want to do a good job (if management lets them, but that's another story.) On the other hand, I know some truly excellent unlicensed technicians... well, most are homebuilders. No surprise there, right? I wish I could guarantee an A&P is always better than an unlicensed mechanic, but like everything else in life, ultimately, you pay your dime and you take your chances.
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  #57  
Old 04-17-2021, 08:53 AM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Location: Dayton, NV
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Default Build, Maintain, Inspect....All Different

I have said this before, but the truth is simply that building and maintaining in (and inspecting) are different, and require different skill sets. One person CAN have all three skill sets - and good builders, mechanics, and inspectors do! But an A&P spends years learning and perfecting maintenance skills, not necessarily building skills. So when I see a “for sale” ad that says “A&P built, it usually triggers more suspicion than one that says “built by thirty-year builder of multiple airplanes”. And yes - a person can build crappy airplanes for thirty years and get away with it....so it is still buyer beware.

I look at a lot of homebuilts (nowhere near as many as Vic of course...), and am astounded by the number of bad assembly jobs I see, even with modern kits as good as they are. Those problems are usually associated with the last half of the build - wiring, plumbing, details - than with primary structure. But I have also seen bad riveting or composite work that makes the whole airplane suspect. All of which means you should just forget about the stated qualifications of who built it - judge the airplane on its own merits. And don’t fly all the way across the country just because the ad says it was built by an A&P, or even a Lindy winner.

People are people and airplanes are airplanes, and they are what you find - both good and bad. Forget about the labels.
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  #58  
Old 04-17-2021, 08:59 AM
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mfleming mfleming is online now
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Joseph, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironflight View Post
I have said this before, but the truth is simply that building and maintaining in (and inspecting) are different, and require different skill sets. One person CAN have all three skill sets - and good builders, mechanics, and inspectors do! But an A&P spends years learning and perfecting maintenance skills, not necessarily building skills. So when I see a “for sale” ad that says “A&P built, it usually triggers more suspicion than one that says “built by thirty-year builder of multiple airplanes”. And yes - a person can build crappy airplanes for thirty years and get away with it....so it is still buyer beware.

I look at a lot of homebuilts (nowhere near as many as Vic of course...), and am astounded by the number of bad assembly jobs I see, even with modern kits as good as they are. Those problems are usually associated with the last half of the build - wiring, plumbing, details - than with primary structure. But I have also seen bad riveting or composite work that makes the whole airplane suspect. All of which means you should just forget about the stated qualifications of who built it - judge the airplane on its own merits. And don’t fly all the way across the country just because the ad says it was built by an A&P, or even a Lindy winner.

People are people and airplanes are airplanes, and they are what you find - both good and bad. Forget about the labels.
As an A&P and a builder....well said
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  #59  
Old 04-17-2021, 09:19 AM
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Roadjunkie1 Roadjunkie1 is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Erie, Colorado
Posts: 162
Default A&P Mechanics......

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDeanda View Post
My father was not thrilled with my choice to be a general aviation A&P after he found out what they're paid, but Mom and Dad still sent me thru school. It was always a financial struggle as a GA mechanic, but it's my passion and I hadn't really thought seriously about doing anything else.

If GA mechanics continue to be expected to work for these piddly wages and poor treatment, then there's trouble ahead. I've flown something over 100 Young Eagles, and exactly one girl and no boys said they wanted to be a mechanic. Low wages and crummy treatment will not help attract good people. I've worked with lots of young engineers but very few young mechanics.

The huge majority of A&Ps I know are pretty good. Some mediocre, some are excellent, but most are competent and want to do a good job (if management lets them, but that's another story.) On the other hand, I know some truly excellent unlicensed technicians... well, most are homebuilders. No surprise there, right? I wish I could guarantee an A&P is always better than an unlicensed mechanic, but like everything else in life, ultimately, you pay your dime and you take your chances.
I worked for a mechanic at one time (we learned to fly at the same time from the same instructor!) and he and I were the main work force with a part timer. His was an independent shop that he owned. He is one of the best mechanics I know and is VERY meticulous. He owns and flies Cubs and is an amazing Cub mechanic but worked on nearly everything else. He STILL remembers things about my Cub and that was YEARS ago! When I left, the part timer became full time. Then the owner got involved in flying pipelines part time and mechanic part time, his full time guy still working. He took over the pipelines full time and is no longer doing much mechanic work. HUGE loss to the aviation community. It just doesn't pay well and there is a little FAA grief one has to put up with.

He knows "old" airplanes. He knows Cubs, flies a 180 as well and is a goldmine of information and skill. As people like him quit the business and no one is behind him to take up the slack, General Aviation is going to be in real trouble. And the FAA is doing nothing to encourage people to go into the GA profession. Airlines will grow and snap up new grads. Those that know "old" airplanes are, themselves, getting "old". I'm not sure what the solution is or where this is going to go but GA may be in future trouble.

Does that affect the Experimental segment? Oh, yeah! There are many airplanes that were bought flying and need an A&P for the annual. And anything that affects GA (of which we are a part) affects us. The crystal ball has gone MIC........
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  #60  
Old 04-18-2021, 04:47 PM
ty1295 ty1295 is offline
 
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Location: Jeffersonville, IN
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So today we did a pre-buy on an RV6, that just had a conditional done 1 month ago. Removed the top cowl, and immediately spotted a rag left inside, air duct going to cabin heat was left off so cabin heat was a great way for Carbon Monoxide into cabin, Oil cooler baffle cracked (he did not it and said he added a brace, but brace had zero benefit, cracks were not stop drilled), exhaust hanger broken/not clamed, and several more items.
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