So … I passed! I passed my oral and practical Powerplant exams and I am now licensed to work on airplane engines. I’m not sure what was more harrowing, the weeks of study leading up to the exam, or the 9 hours of the actual exam.
For those following along at home, here is what the experience is like. I arrived at the test site (which for me is my school) bright and early. The first task was to complete the paperwork. Eager to prove my competence right out of the gate, I ignored the helpfully provided instructions and proceeded to fill the paperwork out incorrectly. Doh!
Fortunately my examiner was very forgiving of my blunder and provided fresh paperwork. Got it right on the second try! Yay me!
From there we began the oral exam portion of the day. I used a study guide to prepare for this, but, as it turned out, almost all of the questions were new to me. It was OK, though, because while I used the guide, I used it to make sure I had a firm grasp of the knowledge behind the answers, so I knew the material and passed the oral.
The examiner starts with 4 questions per topic (e.g.: electricity, weight and balance, fuel metering). If you get at least 3 of the 4 correct, then you’ve passed that topic and the examiner moves on to the next topic. If, however, you miss 2 or 3 of the first 4, the examiner must then ask an additional SIX questions and you must get 7 of the 10 correct to pass the topic. So, of course it’s less stressful to pass the topic on the first 4 questions, and, for the most part I did. The only topic where he had to ask me the additional 6 questions was Auxiliary Power Units, because it was the last topic and I think I had brain freeze.
The rest of the day was spent on practical projects. I’m a big fan of written reference materials, and since most of the practical projects included instructions, I was mostly in hog heaven during the practical portion, although there was a moment during magneto timing when instructions failed me (or I failed them) but apparently I demonstrated a sufficient grasp of the process because I passed it. And, if I say so myself, my flared tube came out looking very nice. I couldn’t take pictures during the exam, but here’s a picture of some tubing I flared while I was practicing a few weeks ago.
To me the most compelling part of all of this is that I finally have a concrete result to show for 20 months of insanity, wiener talk, farting classmates, rageaholic classmates, weekly test anxiety and all the rest. Turns out I wasn’t just doing all that for my health.