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Aviation Mechanics Simplified

Sun Feb 11, 2001 7:39 pm

I went to a used book store and found a copy of Aviation Mechanics Simplified. It was published in 1943 and is all about fixing aircraft. It is akin to one of the Glenco maintaince pubs today.

Anyway several things struck me about this 58 year old book.

1. Just about all of the techniques it talks about in the book still apply to aircraft manufactured today. Jet Engines, Composites and Electronics are noticably absent.

2. A lot of the drawings are the same one that are used in the latest revisions of 43.13b or other maintaince manuals.

3. They showed pictures of the inside of a 'Modern' aircraft assembly building. If you didn't know what you where looking it, it could have been Boeing or Airbus zipping sections together, Not Curtis.

Oh here is another interesting thing. Earlier I put up a post asking what toys(tools) I should get for school. They have the apprentice tool list for new hires at American Airlines. Other then two tools that where shop made tools for their radio shop every one of them can still be easily found and would be used on anything comming out of Touluse or Renton/Everett

There really is nothing new in aviation....Just food for thought.
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RE: Aviation Mechanics Simplified

Mon Feb 12, 2001 12:35 am

I guess it kind of is. As an avid fan of older mechanical stuff of yore, ( cars, planes, trains ) In studying them I noticed that they really DID know what they were doing back then...They applied known technology very ingeniously. Sometimes we tend to get cocky today in our modern hightech-ness that we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking WE invented the wheel. The most gee-whiz software today doesn't mean jack to me; It just doesn't have the visceral appeal of noisy, imposing mechanical stuff...which as you pointed out, had the groundwork and research laid out before we were born.
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RE: Aviation Mechanics Simplified

Mon Feb 12, 2001 1:20 am

I think you're mixing apples and oranges here. It is true that construction and maintenance techniques for airframes have remained fairly consistent, the real advances in technology have come in the form of systems. If you look in the belly of the average DC-3 you'll see a whole lot of space. All of the systems are contained in the instrument panel and behind the copilot's seat. (hydraulics)

If you look in the belly of a global express, you'll find only a narrow area in the middle for access. The rest of the belly is populated with all kinds of components to support the advanced systems.

It's not the airframe that allows today's advanced aircraft to perform incredible operating feats, its the systems. (avionics etc...)

This is why the A and P mechanic is slowly going the way of the dinosaur, and beind slowly relegated to doing "sheet metal" repairs. Most of the systems troubleshooting is now being done by the avionics technician. I foresee a new brand of aircraft maintainer called an aircraft systems technician who has training in both the A and P areas and the avionics/systems areas, but leaves the sheet metal and composite repairs to specialists.

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RE: Aviation Mechanics Simplified

Mon Feb 12, 2001 2:23 am

Hah! Talk about white collar hubris! I love that last paragraph. I don't think your power of observation is very good-- What do you think; A%P's are a bunch of knuckle draging tin benders that don't know how to use their heads...only their hands? Systems knowledge is THE forte of the A&P, and we can chase wires and read sematics/WDMs as good as any designer. Yeah yeah yeah, the newer "high-tech" aircraft are all computerized and troubleshoot and fix themselves... The only people that believe that are the bean counters that buy them and the PR mavens. The newer A/C break just as often and have to be troubleshot just the same...and all skills are specialties. Ask any line A&P that works on both state-of-the-art planes and older jets: Newer "high tech" planes are job security for A&P's. Dinosaurs indeed. Sheesh!
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RE: Aviation Mechanics Simplified

Mon Feb 12, 2001 3:34 am

Regarding how little aviation technology has changed from years past is readily apparent in the GA industry. A Piper, Cessna, or Beech aircraft made today isn't much different from the same model built in the 1960's. Most recip powered aircraft being built right now are equipped with magnetos! A dependable device to be sure, but hardly what one thinks of as a "high-tech" aerospace component.
As for the impending obsolescence of the A&P mechanic, I borrow the words of Mr. Samuel Clemens;
"The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."
The aircraft mechanic, with his/her solid all-round understanding of the aircraft will be with us for quite some time. It is not enough to be familiar with only one system or discipline. These systems often intermingle with the several others, requiring that the mechanic be proficient dealing with the aircraft as a whole in order to accurately diagnose a problem and affect a cure. If anything, I see the structural mechanic being spun off from the rest as his talent is increasingly rare and far removed from the electrical/mechanical end of things.
Thou shalt mind thine altitude,lest the ground reach up and smite thee.
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RE: Aviation Mechanics Simplified

Mon Feb 12, 2001 3:42 am

NKP S2...

I think you're missing the point which is that aircraft have advanced very much from the "old days" and that the similarity between old guides and new guides is only with respect to mostly "tin bending" and "fabric stretching".

To keep up the A and P has had to become a full blown well rounded technician who's skills include troubleshooting of systems that were previously reserved for avionics techs.

You seem to have interpreted my explaination as meaning that the A and P guys will be fired and replaced by technicians. My intent was to say that the A and P has evolved to include much more emphasis on hi tech systems and an offshoot will result in a guy specialized in airframe maintenance.

By the way...I've worked for airlines as an avionics tech (AME E here in Canada) and from my perspective, the evolution is slow. I did everything short of bash rivets mainly because the A and P guys didn't understand the systems.
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RE: Aviation Mechanics Simplified

Mon Feb 12, 2001 3:59 am

There's quite a perspective gap here. The A&P has in fact evolved. I'm not implying, much less worried, about any "A&P's getting fired and replaced with techncians" because: A&P's ARE least they are today. ( AMT's ). Perhaps it's just inertia on my part to refer to AMT's as A&P's. As CRJ mech pointed out, systems on aircraft today have evolved to the point where everything talks to everything else...and those "everythings" run the gamut from boxes in the E&E to big, dirty, heavy parts.


Tue Feb 13, 2001 11:04 am

Even with Airplay's out of this world avionics skills he will still need the A&P to sign off the aircraft and return it to service
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Tue Feb 13, 2001 11:11 am

Actually NWA_Mech,

Here in Canada if you have an AME "E" licence you can sign the repair off and return the aircraft to service. Which kind of airplanes? Any kind. The AME "E" comes with a blanket endorsement on all types.

We can't sign off repairs that are outside of the scope of our authority, such as structural repairs etc...but we can certainly sign off anything with a wire attached.

I really didn't think my original post would rustle so many A and P feathers!

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