What should I study?

The 3rd of a 4 Part Series to A&P Transition

The third step to obtaining your FAA A&P Certificate after military service.

As a member in many Facebook groups or even as a Maintenance Mentor with Helicopter Association International (HAI) Mil2Civ Workshop, time and time again I am asked about what study material one should utilize to complete their A&P written exams and Oral and Practical Test.   As the years have gone by, the means of obtaining the material has changed drastically. There are 3 routes to go by when choosing what is the best course of action for you.

The Limited Budget aspect:

In today’s information age and digital markets, we find ourselves surrounded by apps, eBooks, and website downloads that allow us to be emerged in as much information that we may think we need.  This is the fundamental element of saving money. The digital experience of studying for your exams is a lot more manageable on the financial side of things.

One of the original sources that are available for download to begin the study process is contained within the FAA’s Website. Available to you are the following resources:

  1. Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook-General
  2. FAA-H-8083-31A, Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook-Airframe Volumes 1 and 2
  3. FAA-H-8083-32A, Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook-Powerplant Volume 1
  4. FAA AC 43.13-1B Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices – Aircraft Inspection and Repair
  5. FAA AC 43.13-2B Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices – Aircraft Alterations

These handbooks are free and available for download from the FAA website.

Additionally, a solid investment for studying is the FAR AMT Handbook available from Aviation Supplies and Academics Inc. (ASA)

(FAR AMT Handbook: Available at www.asa2fly.com)  

The Highlighter and Note Taking aspect:

While it is very simple to go the digital route, there are the always available paperback textbooks.   There are several publishers that provide the textbooks for the Part 147 Schools. Among two of the most popular publishers are ASA and Jeppesen.  The normal question that one asks is “Which is better?”. Once again this is the preference of the individual. These books are researched and written based upon the FAA Handbooks.  

These two aspects have their list of pros and cons that come with each one.  Everyone has a different style of learning and a different style of retaining the information that they have learned.  There is also the pros and cons of the testing as well. Your written tests are closed book and closed notes. You are allowed one piece of paper and a pencil to work out any problems during the written tests.  During your Practical Exam, you can utilize all reference material at your disposal. Then, during the Oral Exam, it is again closed book and note.

There will be many debates over what material is required and what is the most beneficial to your success.   The most important factor is to remember that you are investing in your career and your own education. Many Universities offer the same degree programs, and all utilize different course materials to achieve the same accredited outcome.  Only you understand how you learn and retain information for your use down the road. Remember that the ability to reference the material and know where to locate it is one of the most important factors to help you achieve success, especially during your Practical Exam.

Study Guides and Practice Tests:

The final material available for studying are the practice tests and study guides.   Again, these sources are available digitally with ASA Prepware and Test Study Guides.  If you would prefer the paperback approach the Study Guides are available. Prepware has the advantage of allowing you to test yourself anytime anywhere.  You truly discover what your areas of weakness are and allow you to focus in on that subject.

All the reading and studying will not replace the required experience that is demanded by the FAA.   These are tools that are there to assist you in preparing for your written tests. In the end, when you successfully pass your written tests you are required to perform your Oral and Practical Exam with an FAA Designated Maintenance Examiner (DME).  This is the final test to display your knowledge and experience simultaneously to receive your certificates. Your Airframe and Powerplant Certificates should not be taken lightly, after all, it does give you the privileges to return an aircraft to service upon completion of the maintenance that YOU perform.  Your customer’s lives are in your hands.

The last article in the 4-part series covers the most challenging aspect of transitions from military to civilian maintenance technician.  Correctly documenting your aviation maintenance experience for certification.