All aircraft mechanics must pass the Airframe and Powerplant (A and P) Licensing exam prior to being certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This doesn’t mean anyone who wants to be a aircraft mechanic can freely complete the test, receive a 70 percent or higher (the minimum mark to pass), and begin dogfighting with enemy fighter planes. This is far, far from the case. Prior to even touching the examination, aircraft mechanics are required to complete hours of flight training, even more hours at “ground school,” a few hours of takeoff and landing training at an airport, training for the practical test itself, and other odds and ends here and there. If that weren’t enough, certification applicants must also possess a student or sport pilot certificate. Point is getting to being an aircraft mechanic isn’t easy, and once you get there it isn’t much easier. Here is a brief guide of the A and P licensing test. Some of the best A and P aircraft maintenance schools can be found here: http://www.aviationschoolsonline.com/school-listings/aircraft-maintenance-schools/2.php.
On the first page of the FAA’s Knowledge Test Guide available on www.faa.gov it reads, “Federal Aviation Administration airman knowledge tests are effective instruments for aviation safety and regulation measurement. However, these tests can only sample the vast amount of knowledge every aviation maintenance technician needs.” The A and P test is to establish a baseline of knowledge necessary to enter the workforce as a certified A and P technician. Consider the A and P
like you’d consider the core curriculum of an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree like in many “traditional” areas of study. You need the core not only to become a certified technician, but also as a prerequisite for other areas of study, like if you wanted to get your Associate or Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance Science.
Materials you need to bring to the Oral and Practice Exam:
- Identification, generally in the form of a valid drivers’ license.
- FAA Form 8610-2, Rating Application, or Airman certificate. Two copies.
- Graduation certificate from a Part 147 school.
- Written test results.
- Proper payment amount for test administration.
So you know what the A and P is and you know what to bring to the testing center. What kind of questions are you likely to see? To start, it’ll depend. This is because there are three different tests you will need to take to receive an A and P certificate: general, airframe, and powerplant.
The questions you will answer are taken from a pool of hundreds of potential test questions. The test is of the multiple choice variety. Here are a couple examples taken straight from the FAA test guide:
- Which of the following drill bit types work best when drilling an aramid fiber composite laminate?
- Tool steel with standard grind.
- Diamond dust coated.
- Carbide W-Point.
- Aluminum propeller blade failure at the site of an unrepaired nick or scratch is usually the result of
- Material defect.
- Intergranular corrosion.
- Stress concentration.
As you can likely infer from the above, the test cannot be completed by just anybody, yet the questions certainly aren’t difficult if you’ve done your homework and studied. You can find test guides across the web or can speak with other aircraft mechanics for similar questions.