Airframe mechanic certification: Check

As I have written in earlier posts, the date was set in December for me to be tested to be an aviation airframe mechanic. As the title of this post implies, I have the great pleasure to pronounce that I took the test and passed it which I am both very excited and relieved about. This means that I have passed every form of criteria to be able to work as a mechanic on airplanes! This is probably the biggest stepping stone thus far in the journey to live and work with aviation mission in the future.

 

Moody Aviation’s maintenance training hangar

Now when I’ve already told you the best part of the story, I would still like to talk a bit more about the couple weeks leading up to this test. To say the least I really felt the pressure to really do well on this test. Perhaps it is that I have high expectations on myself and my slight tendency to be a perfectionist when it comes to these things that made this burden build up. However, I think I used this attitude to my advantage so that I wouldn’t settle for something that would only just be “good enough”, but to really dedicate myself to know everything I could both to pass this test, but to also be a proficient mechanic. As I was approaching few days just before the test, I constantly came to think of different things in many subject areas that I felt I still had to read up on. Even the night before the test, feelings of slight panic would take hold of me when I remembered something I should look up in my textbook that the examiner may ask about. I started realizing that the goal to know everything is unreasonable. I had to accept that there would perhaps be some questions I would be asked that I would not be able to answer. Somewhere I could not let my perfectionist me drive me to exhaustion because of minute details that I would not likely be tested on. Even though it was hard to do, I at some points had to lay the books aside and just trust in God that I already had studied the things I was supposed and needed to know.

 

The oral questions must be answered out of memory only. Source material is allowed during the practical test, but it is important to know where to find the correct information…

So how did I prepare for this test? The oral and practical test consists of 29 subject areas where for the oral portion you get four questions from each subject and you must pass with a minimum score of 75% on each subject. This means that one must be well studied on every area. The practical test consists of randomly selected projects from only some of the subject areas, so not very much specific preparation could be done there. It turned out to be a good time for me to test when I did because all other classes had ended the week before and now I could have my instructors teach me on my weaker subjects one on one. This proved to be very effective in comparison to me looking up information in a textbook. Some of my classmates were testing a few days before me, so I got together with a couple of them to recap together. Without the help from these people in my immediate surrounding I do not think I would have done as good as I did in the end.

When finally the test day came, I must admit that I was very nervous as I drove my friend’s car to school, but I knew it was too late to worry about if I had studied enough or not. From there on and out I could only rely upon what I had learned up to that point. Maybe it is strange, but for me it is easier to relax in circumstances that I know I cannot do anything further to change the situation. From that point there is only one thing to do: To run the race as well as I can and take it as it comes. Besides, it had started snowing a couple nights before and it came as another encouragement from God as He blessed me by letting me behold such beauty.

 

I took a walk downtown the day before the test and it was this beautiful.

When the test actually started and I answered the first couple questions correctly I felt a great calm in what I was doing. We started out by working through quite a fair amount of oral questions and then we took a break and I got assigned some projects to do. One of the funnier ones I got to perform was to demonstrate how to use hand signals to direct an aircraft as it taxis to its proper parking place. The examiner pretended to be an airplane with sound effects and all and I had to direct him to a marked parking spot on the hangar floor.

The shock strut valve with the yellow cap gave me some trouble. What do you do when you mess up? Clean up, restart and learn from your mistakes.

The first day of testing we got all the oral questions done. Since this was the biggest area of study I felt like I had passed the entire thing already at the end of the day. We did however not manage to get all the practical projects done in one day, so I had another five hours of testing the following day adding up to a total of about 10 hours of testing. Sometimes I can be amazed by what I learn on the actual tests themselves. I got the assignment to service a landing gear shock strut. This includes to fill the strut with the right amount of hydraulic fluid and then with air following the correct procedure. To cut a long story short, my technique was a bit rusty, so at one instance I managed to spray nasty hydraulic fluid all over some parts inside the aircraft engine compartment. It was quite funny looking back at it, but in the moment I felt like I failed the project. Now I know till next time how to avoid getting showered.

Leading up to this test I know that there were many who kept me in their prayers. I have been very encouraged by knowing this and I am very happy to be able to proclaim that those prayers have been answered. There were times when I wondered if the task before me was even doable, or maybe perhaps that I was not the one for the job, that I simply may not be that tough or good enough to carry through. There were for sure some of these things that went through my mind. I am so incredibly thankful for people who have surrounded me in helping me study and letting me know that they think of me and pray for me also. The Sunday before the test, I went to church with quite an uneasy feeling about the upcoming exam. Maybe it was evident by my expression that I was weighed down by studying, but two older men, one which I know well and one other at different occurrences came up to me and said they would commit to pray for me that week. This does not happen very often, so I really treasure the actions of these loyal men. I know that there are many more of you out there that do similar things. It does make a difference. I was carried through this week by those prayers and the grace of God this week.

So I would especially thank those of you who have actively supported me in different ways, both big ans small things because they all add up. With this I wish you all a very blessed and merry Christmas. For it is time to rest up and reload for the next semester.

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