Having survived 2 years of airplane mechanic school, and two days of oral and practical exams, I thought I might be done with formal schooling for a while, but since I got hired at my spiffy new major airline job I am finding that the learning never stops. A few weeks ago I had 3 weeks of combined classroom and on-the-job orientation and training. But, unlike orientation for, say, a software company, this orientation involves getting certified to actually sign off work on airplanes that will then take off and fly through the sky at 35,000 feet. Not intimidating at all! *gulp*
This week we’re learning about wiring, connectors and the manuals that we use to ensure we’re using the right connectors with the right wires and using the right tools to put it all together. As it turns out there is a dizzying array of wire sizes, wire connectors, pins, sockets, terminals, crimpers, pin and socket removers, pin and socket installers, and dies.
Fortunately there is also a huge amount of documentation that shows you how to do it all right. Unfortunately the documentation itself is also dizzying and arcane.
I like it because electricity stuff is mystifying and last week when I observed while my on-the-job mentor did some troubleshooting of various wire harnesses I wondered if I would ever be able to do so as confidently as he did. Now I see that there’s hope. But, there’s also a long road between here and when I’ll be the one doing the work, while perhaps a fresh hire will be the one watching me.
Here’s a sample of what we’re doing today. I received high marks for my “combing” although I lost a bit of it after I split the wires off into smaller bundles. I can also now state with confidence that I can do a clove hitch knot with my eyes closed, and perhaps even in my sleep. Can’t wait to use it for some other purpose, to show it off a bit.
Does anyone else think it’s interesting that in aviation, the preferred method for tying wire bundles is to tie them up with nomex tape, using a clove hitch followed by a square knot and that this is considered better than using a plastic aviation-grade zip tie? I was a little surprised, but now that I’m rocking the clove hitch, I think it’s awesome.
Here are some of the tools. Points to anyone who can identify them and say what each one is used for. Extra credit if you can identify the one that’s not FAA approved for work on avionics.