1. I used to think I was unable to learn new things. You get that way as you get older. School starts to seem like a young person’s game and the brain starts to feel fossilized. But, it turns out, I can learn new things and even retain them.
2. I’m glad I didn’t know going in that there would be tests, tests, and more tests. I thought there would be the exams we have to take to get certified, but somehow I failed to grasp that we would have tests every week, and sometimes even more frequently. I have massive test anxiety, so I’m glad I didn’t know ahead of time. It might not have stopped me but it would have just added a lot of pre-worry. I’m doing OK with the tests, but one of these days I need to beat my classmate Lil’ Bastard, who has no test anxiety, never studies and always gets in the high nineties (as compared to my mid-nineties – I’m not pathetic!).
3. It’s possible to create a full hot breakfast in the classroom as long as you have a microwave nearby, and own an item from “As Seen on TV” known as the Stone Wave.
4. Kids these days – what can I say? There’s this thing called “trouting?” It involves flapping your hand between someone’s legs, in a manner that must, to the recipient, feel as if there’s a trout flopping around down there. I’ve noticed high-trouting and low-trouting, humorously-received trouting and rage-inducing trouting.
5. I myself have not been trouted by a classmate, and in fact they’re all on notice that to trout me is tantamount to suicide. So far the fear is holding them in check. Only two quarters to go!
6. As always, haters gonna hate. Most of my class are nice people. Even the main trouter is a good-hearted, if slightly reckless soul. There are a couple of unpleasant characters. Fortunately one of them never pays attention in class, so I don’t think he and I will be working together any time soon. The other is competent, and probably more crabby than mean (think, crabby old man in a 20-year-old’s body) and shows signs of growing out of it. But, I gotta tell you, it’s very strange to go from working in a professional, fully adult environment to sitting in a classroom half-populated by people under 25. Not that people in the professional environment are always nice, but there’s a bit more, shall we say, decorum among the corporate set.
7. Reciprocating aircraft engines get their ignition spark from magnetos (unlike a car, which gets it from the battery). A week ago I hated magnetos and everything associated with them, but then, I got my engine to start, and got to test my mag on a test stand that shoots out sparks worthy of Independence Day, and now I’m kind of fond of the ol’ magneto.
8. Speaking of that engine. Starting up and running a 470 cubic-inch displacement airplane engine is pretty exciting. For reference 470 cubic inches is about 100 cubic inches more than the current Corvette engine and about 3 times the displacement of my Subaru Impreza’s engine. There’s a lot of noise and even more wind. Standing in the prop wash is fun, and throttling the engine up and down is even more fun. I think we get to do something similar with turbine engines next quarter – hooray!
9. Some mechanic tasks are more fun than others. Starting up and running engines is fun and exciting. Removing the fuel strainer from a Pratt and Whitney J-52 turbine engine, not so much. Then again, I got to put a wrench to a turbine, so it was pretty cool after all.
10. The relationship between book smarts and mechanical smarts is not always direct or linear. That is all.