I woke up early after 6 hours of sleep. My parents and sister who are visiting (which is really awesome btw) decided they wanted to repaint my bedroom this week so I spent the past couple nights sleeping on the living room couch. Perhaps not the best place to rest in preparation for a big test, however, you do what you got to do and it wasn’t really that bad. Since my car is missing a proper wheel after the tire decided to fall apart I had to resort to simpler means of transportation to the hangar where the test was going to be held. I left with all my paperwork in my backpack and peddled my mountain bike along the dirt trail along the Spokane River that leads me right to Felt’s Field and arrived in good time so that I could take a shower and feel all fresh for a day of testing. The bike ride was also nice in that way that I could take some stress and nervousness out on physical excercise.
I met the examiner at 8 am and we started filling out a bunch of forms. About half an hour later I got my first assignment. There are a number of practical projects that are randomly selected for each individual test, so you never really know what you’ll get. After completing three or four practicals the examiner and I sat down and he started asking me questions that I had to give the correct answer for. The oral test is the one that most people dread. While pretty much anything could be thrown at you as part of the practical exam, you are allowed to use reference material such as manuals or text books. However, with oral questions you must answer out of memory alone with no multiple choice answers, so you better know your stuff. There are 15 subjects that you get questioned on. For each subject you get four questions of which you must get at least three of them correct. If you get two questions wrong of the same subject, you get another three questions of which you must answer all correct to pass. The questions are of varying difficulty. I remember one that I thought was a trick question at first because it was incredibly easy. The examiner asked me: “What is the purpose of a high pressure discharge fire extinguisher system?” A bit confused I answered: “…to extinguish fires?!”
I nailed that one.
All in all, I felt very well prepared once I started working through some projects and answered some questions correctly. For the most part I felt quite confident, but then it is also easy to make simple mistakes. In one project I installed some spark plugs incorrectly but corrected myself before completing the project. It was a mistake I would have failed on but since I corrected it I was able to go on with the test. The exam progressed into the afternoon and after 6.5 hours of total time of testing the examinor held out his hand for me to shake it. “Congratulations” he said and I was then a fully certified Airframe and Powerplant mechanic!
It was difficult to really let the thought settle in that I was finally done with mechanic’s school. This test was the test that set the milestone for three years of studying. I had been looking forward to that day for some time and it felt quite unreal that a actually was there. Glory to God for letting me succeed and I feel more excited to start the next chapter in th raining in just a couple weeks: Flight!
In the meantime I will try to relax a little bit. I went out to Palouse Falls today with the family (hence the picture) and I hope to see some more beautiful creation now when I do not need to drown myself in books.