Scary!

Scary!

I am an A&P and it scares me how many people are asking questions on how to perform different tasks. Look if it is not included in FAR 43 Appendix A part C you are not allowed to do the work. This is a descriptive list of items that can be performed by a pilot/owner. Nothing else! It realy bugs me that there are so many people breaking the law and putting peoples lives at risk. You wouldn't file an instrument plan if not rated or fly into Class B if not cleared, would you? I believe the minimum amount of hours an A&P is required to have of instruction before applying for a license is 1900. That is alot of training if you compare it to approx 300 for a commercial. At 1900 hours a pilot could be flying an airliner. So if its not included in the FAR's dont do something illegal and leave the work to a professional.

By the way this is a great website. I am open to any comments.

Nate

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Re: Scary!

I can see nothing wrong with someone doing the work under the watchful eye of an A&P that will sign off the work.  This is one of the ways utilized and allowable to toward obtaining the required experience necessary to earn an A&P.
Not every A&P is worth his salt.  Seen many who have recieved the certificate and could not pour water out of a boot with directions on the heel.  On the other hand there are those I concider PROFESSIONAL.  My hat is off to them.

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Re: Scary!

Nate,
What is even scarier is that some people may assume that the mechanics certificate that you've held for just over a year, is a testiment to your knowledge. Not so. That mechanics certificate that you hold is a license to learn. It says you have at least a basic knowledge of aircraft, but more importantly, that your smart enough to know where to go to find answers. I would agree with Clay; I've seen lots of idiots with the same piece of paper in their pocket that you've got in yours.
Actually, you are not permited to exercise ANY privileges of your certificate unless you have performed that particular task at an earlier date. So guess what? You, as an A&P can't even perform the preventive maintenance that an aircraft owner can, unless you've done it before.
The only difference in the licensed and unlicensed mechanics, is that as the licensed mechanic gains experience at particular task, he is no longer required to be supervised at that specific task, where as an unlicensed mechanic (or owner) is required to be supervised by a licensed mechanic who has previously performed that task.
Del

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Re: Scary!

We give a knowledge test concerning piston engines and engine management at the beginning of the Advanced Pilot Seminar class.

The average score for pilots is about 60%.

The average score for A&Ps is about 40%.  Some of them would have done better if they had simply guessed at the answers.  In many cases their strong belief in their incorrect knowledge is what makes them score so poorly.

As Boswell elequently said, "It's not what you don't know that hurts you; it's what you know that isn;t so..."

Many of these A&Ps leave the class with a very bad feeling about how mistaken they have been for so long and how much bad information they have given out over the years.  They all score in the high 90s on the post test!

I am an ATP (S&MEL&S), CFII, MEI, A&P.  I have flown over 100 different types of piston-powered airplanes from J-3s to the B-24 and C-46 and worked on engines from big radials to small four-cylinders and am still learning that there is sooo much more to learn.  Had I taken the test referenced above in 1998, I, too, would have scored in the 60s.  I have learned the taste of crow.

There are many owners who can do just as good of work as the best A&P.  As long as they are supervised, there is no reason not to do it.  There are a few "gotchas" that only an experienced mechanic will know about.  Notice, I said *experienced*.

Respectfully,

Dr. Walter Atkinson

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Re: Scary!

What is even scarier is that some people may assume that the mechanics certificate that you've held for just over a year, is a testiment to your knowledge.

Is it not a testiment? A&P's have gone through alot of training to earn their certificates. Alot more then a CFI and you trust them with your life. I earned my PPL in 59 hours and let me tell you the oral and practical was a breeze compared to the A&P oral and practical. In school you perform all preventative maintenance items and much more that counts toward your "experience" which alows you to do the work right out of school. The A&P oath says that we will never sign off or allow an airplane to fly that we feel is unsafe. I feel most mechanics hold this to a high standard. The issue is with pilots doing work, not under the supervision of a mechanic and not recording it in the logbook. I am all for letting pilots work under the supervision of an A&P. I feel that the people asking these crazy questions are not, because if they were they wouldn't have to ask.

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Re: Scary!

Nate wrote:

> I am all for letting pilots work under the supervision of an A&P. I feel that the people asking these crazy questions are not, because if they were they wouldn't have to ask.

Maybe not Nate. In my case I like to educate my self with questions, in order to have a better understanding of a process or procedure. This helps me to better understand the situdation when I talk with my mechanic.

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Re: Scary!

Well, Nate, I've been in aircraft maintenance for 30+ years and there are a tremendous amount of owners out there that know the ins and outs of some aircraft systems better than I do. Older Bellancas are a prime example...I know NOTHING about them and, wisely, choose not to work on them. True wisdom in this field is knowing what to walk away from. That mechanic certificate can get an unexperienced mechanic in a lot of trouble. Best to tone down your condimnation a bit and try to be a bit less arrogant...put some time under your belt and gain some wisdom....and wisdom is knowledge tempered with experience. You have a right to be concerned when you observe owners getting in over their heads...the true test of your position in the great aviation food chain is how those owners will respond to your opinions :^)
Gregg Horrell, A&P/I.A.
Ryan Aero Service

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Re: Scary!

Nate, it is A&P's like you that scare the hell out of me.  Although I am not an A&P, I am willing to bet the farm that I know my airplane better than any other person out there, including you.

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Re: Scary!

My AP calls me for help with some things. I have a better grasp on hydraulics, and metalurgy than most, if not all AP's have.

What scares me is an AP who wants to powder coat an engine mount, or have a leaky aluminum fuel tank welded.

The key comment from above, it to have the god given sense when to walk away from a repair. Unfortunaty, the all mighty dollar prevents most AP's from doing the right thing.

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Re: Scary!

Im not going to argue about who has more knowledge.  But I would like to point out what the FAR actually says concerning the initial question raised by Nate.

FAR 43.3 (d) says that a "person working under the supervision of a holder of a mechanic or repairman certificate may perform maintenance, preventative maintenance....."  please read the rest of the FAR and notice that the person supervising is suposed to be there "readily availabe, in person, for consultation." 

FAR 43.9 (a) (3) states that on the maintenance record entry that "the name of the person performing the work" must be included on the maintenance record entry. 

Bottom line, anyone can do the maintenance as long as they are under direct supervision of a certificated mechanic.  They cannot return the airplane to service unless they meet the requirements of FAR 43.5.  Also, whoever did the work, their name must appear in the maintenance records. 

If you perform maintenance and you have a certificated mechanic inspect your work, your name must be included in the maintenance records per FAR 43.9 (a) (3).

Sal

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Re: Scary!

>Author: Chris (---.woodardcurran.com)
>Date:   11-17-04 10:48
>
>Nate, it is A&P's like you that scare the hell out of me. Although I >am not an A&P, I am willing to bet the farm that I know my >airplane better than any other person out there, including you.

I agree with you Chris 100%.

Just because I am asking how to do something does NOT mean I am going to go out and do it.  I like to as questions to see if my A&P is doing the job correctly.  I will question ANYTHING he does if it doesn't sound right to me!

Just because you (Nate) have a license doesn;t mean you know what you are doing or are very good at it!

Much like my pilot's license, your A&P license is nothing more that you passing some tests.  It's a license to learn.

    Dave

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Re: Scary!

I agree with Dave,

I have found that before I let a "Mechanic" touch my plane I want to know what he is going to. I then do my research  about the repair to make sure the mechanic is not just BS me.

I have had a mechanic tell me A & B oil pump gear had to be replaced per AD and when in fact after a call to Cessna I found it was gear B&C also I asked him how he knows where the timing mark was and was told it didn't matter as it could not be put together wrong, stupidly I believed him. When the engine would not start I was told it was the fuel control system and after $1100 overhaul, and new fuel pump the engine ran but didn't have any power. I was told it was the prop, so after $1200 overhaul I called Cessna and was told how to check the Timing and low & behold the engine was out of time by 2 teeth. This mechanic also forgot to tighten and safety the bolt that holds the connecting rod to the elevator control after an annual.  I pity the poor pilot who has no mechanical knowledge and lets some of the A&P work on their plane without knowing what was done and if done properly.   

Always get a second opinion and when you get your plane back, check and touch EVERY item that was worked on. Do not assume the work was done correctly and that the mechanic knew what he was doing.

There are many good and honest mechanics around, ask your friends that are knowledgeble who they use.

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Re: Scary!

Nate,

Don't be put off.  We can use all ideas.  Some of the "wrong" or misguided posts generate the best chance for learning.

I would add to Jerry's post for completeness. Also check items in the vicinity of what was worked on.  I find that items not worked on can be disturbed, abused, disconnected and not reconnect or otherwise broken. 

Consider each flight a test flight.

After the annual (and I do owner assisted annuals), I do a couple of laps around the pattern just to have the best chance to get down safely, if something happens.  I consider the A&P and IA signoff as a prerequisite, I make the final determination that I am happy to fly the plane.  Even though I am not more knowledgeable in many areas than the professionals, who I have a lot of respect for, I feel it's my responsibility to ensure the plane I'm flying is airworthy. It's my butt on the line!  I know the FARs have a reg on this and it is for good reason.

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Re: Scary!

I agree with Nate.  Arrogance kills and so does a bank account that can't really afford to maintain an airplane according to the rules.  A&P's still need to learn every day - just like any other industry if one wants to survive.  This site should in no way encourage operating outside the FAR's.  At my airport I see guys who working on thier planes like they are 57 Chevy's - it' ridiculous.  I know the work is not a&p assisted either.  My 3 cents.

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Re: Scary!

Mechanics are a dime a dozen,good ones are scarce.

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Re: Scary!

JimJ,
Please explain the reason for this statement:
"What scares me is an AP who wants to powder coat an engine mount,"

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Re: Scary!

mike,
as of today, powder coating is not an acceptable method, and further more the crust type covering could hide cracks that might form at weld clusters (i'm not a firm beliver in this) but i will error in the side of safity.
brad

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Re: Scary!

What scares me is that all you people can say about an A&P is negative.  Just like any other certificate (Privet Pilot, DAR, DER, IA, DOA, ODAR, ODER, etc..), it is is a license to learn.  Yes you pilots know your airplane in a sense of flying them, however the A&P has learned the basic skills of where to find info on the maintenance of that aircraft.  Yes, lets not forget the basic requirements.  I know of several pilots that shouldn't be flying!  Lets get some personnel humility here.  A&P go through just as much if not more recurrent training than pilots do.  Pilots are certified for each type of A/C and I have not yet met a pilot that has every rating there is.  An A&P needs to be able to disseminate anything he/she works on. 

Being an A&P means you know where to go to get the info and how to us it.  Yes, there are some A&Ps I have worked with also that couldn't tie their shoes, same goes for pilots.

A pilot is responsible for the aircraft and it's crew/cargo only when they are flying the aircraft.  I like many other A&P's am responsible for the work we do until the work is reaccomplished or the aircraft has been retired.

Long story short, THIS IS A TOUGH INDUSTRY AND IT TAKES GREAT PEOPLE TO KEEP IT GOING IN ALL ASPECTS!  It is when we feel we know more than the next guy/gal or that we are better that causes a catastrophe.

Ps: look at the statistics of causal factors for accidents on the NTSB web page then lets talk more about who thinks who is better.

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Re: Scary!

"What scares me" is people who overgeneralize.  Chuck, lighten up, not ALL of us are negative or say negative things about ALL A&Ps as many of the above posts clearly state and many other posts on this site demonstrate.  Mostly I find the pilots appreciate the professional advice that the A&P's provide on this site.  One of the positive aspects is that the many of the people here are passionate about what they do!  That's what makes it interesting.

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Re: Scary!

I agree with Barry we should'nt generalise, if we did, we could generalise about A&P's as well. An  organisation I know in this country has had a few problems, can't get staff and bad morale. A sump plug falling out and a wheel falling off after maintainence are just some of the things to happen, now do we say all maintainence organisations are like that......NO.

The organisation where I take my Aircraft (pural) I am very happy with, very professional as are most in this country and yours?.

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Re: Scary!

Nate,
I think that depends on the person. I have been an owner for more than 10 years. Over that time I have learned to do many tasks that are only "A&P" tasks. I have found that I have more knowledge than many mechanics I have come across. The things I am not sure of, I send the plane to my regular mechanic. I even removed and installed an engine in my aircraft (with assistance of an A&P)
It was time con$uming, but it is not rocket science.
And never use auto parts or non approved parts for your plane.

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Re: Scary!

Dan,
I hear what you are saying. As you know, the FAR's, part 43, cover the maintenance items an owner may do on his own.
I hope you have an A&P or IA to sign off the work not covered by part 43.

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Re: Scary!

I think that every aircraft owner and pilot for that matter should get their hands a little dirty.  Hanging around during routine maintenance and helping out when needed is a great idea.  Do an owner assisted annual every year.  The shop should not care as they will probably make more money.  The extra time that it will take to double check your work and answer your questions will make it worth it to them.  For the owner/pilot, well you get hands on training of the systems and how they work.  The next time you are out flying and something happens, you will have a much better understanding of what might be happening and how serious it is.  We had a guy that had an alternator stop working, the low voltage light came on, he declared an emergency, came in too hot, and ran off the end of the runway into a creek.  Luckily he was no injured, but his 2001 Cessna 182 was totaled.  Had he had a better understanding of his aircraft, he would have treated it as no big deal and would have made a normal landing and spent $400 getting it fixed. 

When it comes to recips, just follow the manual...it is step by step.  Piece of cake.  Certified mechanics will be able to lend some insight and make the job quicker and legal.  Don't break the regs and don't get over confident.  You might just know enough to be dangerous.

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Re: Scary!

hey all,
i was going to e-mail bryan w. alone and thank him on his thoughts of owner assisted annuals and clairfy that when we do owner assisted annuals we deffinality lose money, but that isn't why we do this type of work, we want to make our owners more cognisent of the systems in their a/c and make them understand their a/c better, that just makes them  better pilots. but from guest on down on this mail, i read extremly good comintary and elected to write to every one thanks,
brad

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Re: Scary!

Bryan,

The generator light came on while I took my first flight in a newly purchased 172. I'm glad I helped with the prebuy inspection, our mechanics were great. Our A&P had reviewed how the ignition works independent of the battery and I knew the engine would continue to run (barring catastrophic gear failure).

I also took another pilot along for the ride (one of our instructors) and will probably do so for the next couple of flights. I was tempted to "make the call" and repeat the hot approach story above, but instead we did some troubleshooting. I found out that my GPS has a battery voltage monitor (and I would not have thought to turn it on for pattern work!).

Our mechanics undoubtedly have a lot of patience, because unlike auto repair, the place is crawling with owners while they work. They take it in stride.

Tom

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