Aircraft mechanic prior service military members may be surprised when they find out that they may need to get the A and P license to work on aircraft in the civilian job market. Even with all that experience working on aircraft in the military, it will not automatically translate an A and P license.
This however should not deter a prior service member from getting their A and P license however. The Federal Aviation administration allows service time to count as related experience which is required under part FAR 65.77. The time must be at least 30 months for both airframe and powerplant and 18 months if only one certificate is being sought. Without this experience, one must take a formal aircraft maintenance training course through an approved part 147 school. Having experience only allows an individual to be eligible to take the A&P tests.
Once the experience requirements are met, the tests can be taken. One should allow for ample study times since the tests can be quite challenging. Some of the topics in the test are not widely practiced in the military aviation community. Items like piston engine carburetor overhaul or airworthiness directive research is not a typical military function. Study guides can prove useful for areas that are unfamiliar. The test has 3 sections, general, airframe and powerplant. Each section then has 3 tests associated with it. Those tests are written, oral and practical.
Written. This test is taken at one of many computer testing centers around the country. Passing is 70% or better. One must answer 100 multiple choice questions for each the airframe and powerplant tests and answer 60 questions for the general test. If the test is failed, one must wait 30 days to retake which means paying the 70-150 dollar fee again.
Oral.This test is administered by a Designated Mechanic Examiner or DME. This test is taken at the same time as the hands on or practical test. The oral test is a series of questions that must be answered correctly in order to pass.
The practical is the hands on test. Here the DME will require the applicant to perform a variety of tasks. Examples may be timing a magneto or researching airworthiness directives. This part is open book.
Obtaining the A and P license for military members or Ex-military members can prove to be a worthwhile endeavour. Many employers like to see military experience on the resume. Adding an A and P license to that just makes sense. The civilian job market is always in need of skilled mechanics.
Learn more about the A and P licensehere.