Air Force A&P Program

Unread postPosted: 13 Oct 2007, 10:54
by matthew83128
I'm a ten year F-16 Crew Chief and I have enrolled in the A&P program in the air force, and was wondering if anyone else out there was involved in it or had completed it and how it was for them.

RE: Air Force A&P Program

Unread postPosted: 13 Oct 2007, 16:09
by BG_PILOT_99
I'm at Viper RTU now, but when I was still a jet engine mechanic on vipers I enrolled in the program, but never completed it. It was a huge pain in the *ss from what I remember. Just my 2 cents.

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2007, 10:53
by Aggressor307
Huge gaggle f*ck!!!! Better off just doing it thru a school using your TA benefits.....

It's all ass-backwards...

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2007, 16:18
I work with the A&P Program here at CCAF. The major problem with the A&P Program is that people think because they work on airplanes that the FAA should just give them their A&P. That is not going to happen. You have to earn your A&P and the AF program prepares you for that process.

The AF A&P Program might not be the best option for everyone. The FAA can give you your authorizations to test based on Part 65 work experience. If you are a crew chief you can get your authorizations to test from the FAA but are not prepared for the exams. Or for a lot of career fields, they can not get our authorizations this way.

For those not familiar, the Air Force A&P Program is an FAA sanctioned program (the first of its kind) that can be completed completely via distance learning. The program consists of;

1. 3 Specialized Courses (CDC’s) - broken down into General, Airframe, and Powerplant. The courses are developed from the FAA test bank, from which there is no better way to prepare for the FAA exams. These courses currently require an End of Course (EOC) exam, however in March they will be conducted completely online and will not require an EOC

2. On the Job Training – We have taken the Part 147 school curriculum and broken it down to individual tasks which need to be signed off (like 623’s) based on the FAA’s proficiency level (over 75% of these tasks are accomplished and can be signed off by completing the Specialized Courses) We also have evaluated every AFSC and Air Force maintenance course and will sign off tasks based on your experience.
3. You have to have a 5 level in an aircraft maintenance AFSC (2A)
4. 6 Years Tim in Service
5. 30 months documented aircraft experience

So I don’t understand where the major problem is. Everyone who has graduated from the program has said it is the best way to prepare for the FAA exams.

Aggressor307 wrote:Huge gaggle f*ck!!!! Better off just doing it thru a school using your TA benefits.....

It's all a$$-backwards...

Part 147 Schools are not an option for everyone. There might not be a school located close to them, or they might not have 18-24 months to devote to a traditional academic program (you have to go to class everyday). These schools have to dumb down the curriculum to a level for people who have no aircraft experience. You might as well be a plumber before you start one of these schools.

BG_PILOT_99 wrote:I'm at Viper RTU now, but when I was still a jet engine mechanic on vipers I enrolled in the program, but never completed it. It was a huge pain in the *ss from what I remember. Just my 2 cents.

I’m an engine guy too and prior to the AF A&P Program the only way I could get my Airframe authorizations was to go to a Part 147 School. So I should sit through 2 years of school when I could complete the AF A&P program and have my license in six months? That to me would be a huge pain.

So matthew83128 you can listen to two guys that don’t have their license or someone who does.

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2007, 19:12
by Lurch
After my 4 years in as a Crew Chief, I went to a FAR Part 147 school for 20 months. It's like going to Tech School for almost two years. It wasn't that hard since I had 4 years on the line. The good thing about it is that I ended up with an associate degree in aviation maintenance technologies. College credit and degrees help you out a lot after you get out of the USAF. Even at time I helped teach the classes. Funny to come into class and learn safety wire for a day. You end up teaching the instructor something new.

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2007, 22:10
by Weasel_Keeper
I bypassed the long schools, I figured the AF had taught me well. After 4 years AD and 4 years ANG I went to our local FSDO and was signed off on experience and handed my copies of the 8610-2 authorization to test forms. Your FSDO is most likely located in an FAA building near your larger airports. I took those forms to Baker's School of Aeronautics in Nashville, TN and enrolled in their quick course that guarantees you will pass the tests. For about $1500 I spent 11 days there and walked away with my A&P license.

While there you don't get to see the sights, you cram your butt off, take a practice test, and then hit the real tests on Airframe, Powerplant, and General. After those are done you study your butt off for the Oral and Practical part. They have the books to study and a great teaching staff to help out. Just by cramming for these tests I actually learned a lot about the stuff most of us have no clue about like fabric coverings and non jet engines.

Some people think you need a 2 year school, but after working aircraft for 3-4 years in the AF most of the stuff is common sense. No A&P mechanic knows everything there is to know, and like my O&P tester told me it's a license to learn because things change all the time. I took my A&P and worked for a regional airline for 4 years before I came back into the ANG to work full time.

Nothing against the 2 year schools because like Lurch said you can get a degree, but just to get an A&P this is the easiest way in my opinion.

I'm sure there are other schools out there like Bakers, but here's a link.

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2007, 01:28
by MechFromHell
I plan on heading to a school like that in Dallas early next year. I know several people that have the same opinion and insight to this process as Weasel_keeper. No way in hell am I going to waste my time in a 2 year program. I will still probably enroll long enough in the CCAF program to peek at those CDC's.

CCAF wrote:So matthew83128 you can listen to two guys that don’t have their license or someone who does.

Very informative post CCAF, thanks for your input. I have a healthy skepticism about the CCAF endorsed A&P program, as I'm sure a lot of people do. I don't think it is listening to "the wrong people" you so eloquently stated. CCAF and AETC in general are notorious for putting layer after layer of red tape on the simplest of programs. Just look at that stupid ABC program that kicked off earlier this year! No new advantages were gained there, the exact same opprotunities are available as before. All CCAF did was put all the info in 1 spot and make it easier to access. We already had that, called the BESO! :evil:

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2007, 23:45
by FlightTestJim
Be careful what you b1tch about--you might just lose it. I have my A&P and had to earn it after leaving the AF. I wish there had been a method of earning it while I was on active duty. I know CMSAF Dave Campanale and a lot of other maintainers worked very hard to get the FAA and the AF to get that program up and running. And for those that aren't near a school or might have families that want attention too, the CCAF A&P program seems like a pretty good option and opportunity--one that if you're considering taking advantage of, do so while it's still offered. There were a lot of similar programs that went by the wayside because the weren't perfect, were too costly, or were underutilized.
And for the record, having an actual A&P license opens up lots of opportunities in the "real world" including many that aren't directly connected with fixing airplanes.

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2007, 06:28
by f16cctul
A quick note:

Most airline AMT's with five years on the job make as much or more than the engineers developing the repairs they perform.
Also, if it's speed you want go to the cram schools. If it's price that worries you go with CCAF. If you need to get more well rounded in your knowledge, test out of some of the classes and take what you need at a 147 school. Why pay for what you already know? There is no one way that will fill the need for everyone.

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2007, 10:43
by Weasel_Keeper
Ermm...I was an regional airline AMT for 4 years and the most I made was $15.50 an hour. Most new A&Ps don't get the sweet jobs at a major or a big cherry cargo job at UPS or FedEx where they will make $30.00+ an hour after a few years. It's definately a career field where you have to work up from the bottom to gain experience...hope your job doesn't go away like many do in the airline business...and if you build experience start from the bottom again if you're lucky enough to get on with a major airline.
Most of the AMTs I know that are making any money are contractors who travel all over whenever an airline needs help.

A lot of A&Ps I know will tell you you'll make more money as an auto mechanic.

I now work as an ANG Technician full time and am making almost double what I made for the airline...and I may never need my A&P license again. It's nice to have, and a neccessity if you want to work for an airline or general aviation, but it takes a long time before it pays for itself unless you get lucky somewhere.

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2007, 11:46
by f16cctul
Timing helps but getting your face in theirs and bugging them relentlessly gets you in at the majors and big cargo. Some people don't want to work for the majors. I totally understand why, too. 9/11 and continued uncertainty about oil prices can make you crazy. Many times the regionals are located in an area where the wage is adequate. Maybe big business politics turns them off (it bugs the crap out of me). I complain about that and then I look at what the technicians in my reserve unit go through. It puts it in perspective.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2007, 03:28
by cutlassracer
My first job out of the AF was at an FBO in Atlanta. We also sold new Cessna's. I discovered quickly that a Cessna 172 and your average 16/117 are worlds apart. In an FBO, you do it all. Sheetmetal, elec, interior, recip engines, turbo props, etc. Not an afterburning turbo fan in sight. I loved it, but if I had the A&P with the school to go with it would have been alot easier transition. I spent my teen years building hot rods and such, so the engine an electrical I figured out pretty quick. Had a couple of great sheetmetal guys help me out with that, ABDR class only goes so far. Working civil service now and don't require the license, but still my get it just to have. Have a 147 school right across the street from were I live. Just need the motivation.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2007, 08:59
by VarkVet
Nothing substitutes experience or training

I wish HR would wake up to this fact in the aviation world for hiring purposes.

A&P is a great license to have (I don’t have it, took all the Embry Riddle courses) I got my FCC license though … worthless.

When the A&P test still covers recipicating engines, wood, dope, glue procedures, **** off … I ain’t wasten my time.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2007, 22:45
by Weasel_Keeper
Wow Vark, I thought the FCC license was a good one to have (I don't have one). All the avionics folks at the airline I worked at could almost write their own contract because we needed them that much. THEY were making the good money. :)

Knowing recips, wood, fabric, and glue can come in handy with an A&P if you work for general aviation. It's also great to know if you get your IA down the road and can do inspections. There is some money there, but a lot more responsibility.

I do wonder though why they don't do two different tests or licenses for an A&P. One for general aviation and one for the 80% of us who will never touch anything but commercial or jets.

Unread postPosted: 02 Dec 2007, 00:35
by SixerViper
After 36 years of working on military airplanes (jets and recips) as a pointyhead, the LAST thing I wanted to do was work on airplanes after I retired. I mulled over getting an A&P through CCAF, but never did. Don't miss it at all.

Don't tell anybody, but I once replaced a directional gyro in a Piper Cherokee Six that I was part-owner of. Highly illegal, but somehow or another, I figured out how to do it!! AND, it worked just fine! Even flew some serious IFR after I did it. There's a big, BIG difference between what's behind the panel of a fighter and a GA airplane.

Best of luck to those who want A&Ps

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2008, 18:06
That is one thing about the AF that really gets me...Spend 20 years doing aircraft maintenance for the AF, and you still have to take a formal course of one sort or another to get your A&P. Spend 20 years as an AF Flight Engineer (my new job), and you still have to take a formal course to get your flight engineer ticket for the civilian side. BUT, spend two years as a pilot for the AF (long enough to get through the schools, anyway), and you can go take writtens to get your commercial pilots license. Ok, off my soapbox now...

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2008, 21:34
by chachi313
There is a school in Van Nuys, CA (20 miles north of downtown LA) its called North Valley Occupational Center-Aviation Center, the price is $75 a semester (not per unit per semester) and I think $45 for summer session. Its about 1 year and nine months long if your really committed (its pretty much self paced). The school has seven knowledgeable instructors and three of them have been in aviation since the Vietnam era. The reason why the program is $75 a semester is because its most of the cost is payed for by California tax payers. I've went to this school and I have Airframe and General over with and powerplant I am finishing up while I'm on an AGR tour for the guard.

Here is the website
phone # (818)365-9645
Ask for Mr. Struyk or Mr. Evans

Unread postPosted: 30 Jan 2008, 01:34
by sweetpete
VPRGUY wrote:That is one thing about the AF that really gets me...Spend 20 years doing aircraft maintenance for the AF, and you still have to take a formal course of one sort or another to get your A&P.

Well this depends on what you did in the AF but more so on the local FAA office who reviews your records. I know of a few guys who got denied either their A or P based on their experience but most I know got authorization to take one of the tests , no schooling required for the one they did qualify for. I even know a few, myself included who got authorization for both A&P tests based on experience ( I at that time had 6 years experience and was admittedly weak on powerplant's) but the FAA guy was a softy and understood that I had some Powerplat experience, it's all based on his evaluation. However you are right, when I graduated Flight School my authorization to take the tests was not based on someones evaluation of my records rather it was based on the fact that I had my wings. I was fortunate to get my civilian ratings out of this, Commercial Rotorcraft and Instrument best $100 I ever spent. I think if you are a 7 level in your particular career field it should work the same way as a set of wings, take in your 623 if your an engine troop guess what you can take the Powerplant test and so on, if you have alot of documented cross training then you can take both. Either way I wish I would have done the AF program when I was in.

....Oh yeah I know guys who got denied one or both authorizations in a particular FAA office and simply went to another one who would give them authorization, this is completely legal and nothing says you cant do it, the next guys evaluation might be good enough

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2009, 13:30
by MechFromHell
Old thread revival! Anybody have any experience with this program. It has changed apparently. I thought it used to have a 10 year TIS requirement but now it is only 4 years. Any personal experiences? :evil:

Unread postPosted: 24 Oct 2009, 12:21
by j_larkin
All the AD, Resevists, and whoever else has access to ADLS should go through there again. They have A&P courses on there now, just like your annual training. It's a long course, but you can print it out, and study it before you take the test at the end of each section. I heard from my QA buddies that when you complete it they (and I have no idea who "they" are) send you your certificates of completion, and you can take that to the FAA guys along with your other work experience and they will hook you up. I will try to get more info about it

Hope this helps someone. Cheers!


Unread postPosted: 31 Oct 2009, 00:18
by MakoWes
If you have some experience and some training certificates. You can get your AP in about a month.

First thing to do is call the AP prep schools in your area. Tell them you want to take their 1000 dollars 3 day course. But need your 3 testing slips. They will let you know where to go to get them. Some guys in the FAA are hard asses. And some are Santa Claus. They will let you know which one to go to.

Talk to the person at the FAA. Set up an appointment. And bring everything you have. 623s. Certs, high school diploma. Everything. Shoot the breeze. Talk about all the old bases you were that that are now closed. Tell them you were CUT trained into working all areas of avaition maintenance.

Get your 3 slips. And take them to the testing place you want to go to. Attend the 3 day course. Take the 3 computer tests. And exam. And the FAA will mail you your license.

This is how I got mine. 11 years of working the flight line avionics technician.

Now with your AP license. Buy a nice frame and have it put it on the wall. As this is all that it is good for. Its just eye candy for your resume. I've had mine for almost 20 years. Never used it. No one I worked for ever seen it.

The next thing to do is go find a good Government job. As they are the about the only one who pays a decent wage working in aviation. Unless you know someone at FedEx or UPS. You wont be able to get a job in aviation. Unless you like to work cheap.


Unread postPosted: 31 Oct 2009, 05:41
by MechFromHell
I started the General course last week. Not impressed so far. I have found so many errors in the material and I'm not even done with the first unit yet! I know I don't need to do these courses to get the 8610-2's but I figured what the hell, might learn something from a different perspective?? Plus, I'm in no hurry. I hope the quality of the training material improves as I get through this general book! :evil:


Unread postPosted: 19 May 2010, 02:17
by ddjaxn
took two weeks leave and went to federal exams in oklahoma city, 11 days later had my cert. $1650 for the course and test including O&P and $25 a night lodging at thier "ranch" well worth it if you can study your butt off for 15 hours a day.


Unread postPosted: 20 May 2010, 00:51
by sweetpete
Forgot all about this thread since I last posted 2 1/2 years ago on it, funny thing is I just finally completed my A&P. I went through a school called AESA or Aviation and Electronic Schools of America in Colfax CA. The cost was right at $2000 which included review for all 3 written tests, the tests themselves, review for the oral and practical and the DME fee for the actual O & P. My whole course took 6 days and was very fast and furious. My suggestion is if you are still in the Air Force and have the opportunity to do the A&P program jump on it or you will regret it if you dont when you get out. Otherwise if you are out and have your tickets signed from the FSDO in your area, the cram courses are worth the time and money if they get you a job. Personally I would never have got my A&P if I had to go to a 1-2 year school thats just ridiculous for experienced AF mechanics. Wish the AF had that program when I was still in.

Unread postPosted: 11 Sep 2011, 01:47
by jeremed
I just recently got out and am now trying to get my A&P. Does anyone have a copy of the CDC's they can send me? I will pay for them and shipping. Thanks.

Unread postPosted: 11 Sep 2011, 05:22
by mc5wes
CDCs wont help you with the A/P. You can just go straight to the FAA web page. They have all the info you need. And the pool of questions from the test.

Unread postPosted: 11 Sep 2011, 05:24
by mc5wes
Have you bought a nice frame for your A/P?

For a couple of hundred dollars more. You can get the FCC General Radiotelephone License with the Radar Endorsement. And you will have the trifecta of expensive paper.

Unread postPosted: 11 Sep 2011, 07:08
by GooseGoose
My opinion is it's not that great. Sometimes the FAA Maintenance officials at your local FAA/FSDO are not too keen on signing off on military aircraft maintainers. Your best bet is to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill to get your A&P license. Starting in Sept 2011 it now covers technical training such as an A&P school. :wink:

Unread postPosted: 11 Sep 2011, 11:08
by timt
I have looked over most of these reply's. Once I seperated, I went to Nashville TN, Bakers School of Aeronautics and cramed just like the person said on the first page of this post. I knew someone that owned his own private Aircraft (Hawker 700) and hired me to manage the aircraft to include A&P maintenace. I was split employed by him and the FBO his aircraft was hangered at. I worked with a great group of guys, the all told me "A&P License's are just a license to learn." I was thrown into the fire, the other technicians would help me with issues I did not quite understand. If the APU was not providing any type of power to the aircraft, I would pull out the book and read it cover to cover to understand how it works and understand where to start troubleshooting. I was very lucky when I seperated, I even controlled 21 turbine helicopters that were repoed, I dabled in the a lot in my second year. If you are a Crew Chief ( I was a F-16 5-level) it is going to be hard, voltage testing, wireing and all of that is not what we really dable with, that is why we have E&E. There is so much to learn in the civilan side, corporate, you really do learn with experience. Most airframe specific schools (Hawker, Gulfstream, Beechcraft) just pretty much explain wiring digrams, location of items.

So here is my advice from experience and what I would have done differently. Go to Bakers While you are in the Air Force, just take two weeks leave and knock it out when you get the time required for your Airframe AND propulsion testing. When you seperate or if you can take a college course, Aviation course in electrical systems, troubleshooting, do it. Get to a place like Hawker, or Duncan Aviation, they maintenance people work in teams set up by experience. So if you are completely lost or do not know what to do at all you will guidance. In a few years you may become a team leader. that is why the people with a lot of money with private aircraft want to hire someone with your exeperience on that particular Airframe. Forget most of the stuff you learned in the AF, except the tricks and realize this is a different world and you will learn more. Don't try to impress anyone, they will be more impressed with your work ethic you have, lets face it, if you are on this site, you probably took your job pretty damn serious and were good a it. And if you want to work on just prop driven aircraft, screw it, do not even wasted your time. I really enjoy working on Hawker 4000's, G550's Challenger 601's.I do not give a sh*t about a magneto or timeing it to TDC. Just do not get to crazy like I did with doing to much and becoming completely burnt out like I did after wthree years. Sorry if this post is odd, the bar kept jumping as I typed. Well there is my opinion. Message me if you have questions... I have been there and done that so let my experience speak for itself.

Unread postPosted: 11 Sep 2011, 15:38
by jeremed
mc5wes wrote:Jeremed
CDCs wont help you with the A/P. You can just go straight to the FAA web page. They have all the info you need. And the pool of questions from the test.

I meant the paper cdc's for the A&P course. I know it is all online now but there used to be paper cdc's. I know because I have the general, I just need the outher 2 sets if anyone has them.

*as seen on page 1. 1. 3 Specialized Courses (CDC’s) - broken down into General, Airframe, and Powerplant. The courses are developed from the FAA test bank, from which there is no better way to prepare for the FAA exams. These courses currently require an End of Course (EOC) exam, however in March they will be conducted completely online and will not require an EOC

Unread postPosted: 11 Sep 2011, 16:55
by mc5wes
Youre looking for these? ... =pd_cp_b_3

Never seen one. I just memorized the answers to the 500 hundred questions.


Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2011, 03:03
by mc5wes
Here is a couple of links about getting your A/P and FCC license.