The Baker’s School of Aeronautics offers preparatory courses for Airframe, Powerplant, and General tests that the FAA requires to become a qualified Aircraft Maintenance Technician. This is ideal for people that have the required 30 months of documented aircraft maintenance training. With that experience, you can bypass going to a part 147 school for 2 years and pass the written tests, the oral and practical tests, and have your A&P license within a couple weeks.
Best of all, for military members with the qualified MOS or AFSC, the tuition is completely covered with the COOL program which is a form of tuition assistance or financial aid for qualifying credentials. You can even take permissive TDY so you don’t burn any of your leave days. I got 3 weeks of permissive TDY approved when I went through. The only out of pocket costs will be travel, lodging, and food. This program is also eligible to be covered by the GI Bill.
Firstly, this is not an easy process. It takes complete focus for 2 straight weeks to knock everything out on the first try. If you fail a test, you’ll have to pay to take the test over again. The COOL program will not cover additional tests so spend your time wisely and make sure you’re prepared.
You will not be able to go out to Nashville partying and drinking and think you’ll be able to keep up in the class. Plan your travel out where you can do all of that after you’ve passed if that’s something you’re interested in doing.
Airframe Written Test (Days 1-3)
Arrive at 0730 sharp. They will not open the doors a minute earlier. As you come in you’ll complete the required paperwork with your personal information and they will make sure your 8610-2s are in order. They will also make sure that your funding is going to be taken care of.
After that, you’ll be given your Airframe study materials with some instructions on how to study. They want you to use their study materials and nothing else. You’ll read the question once and the answer twice, while highlighting your way through the book.
You’ll receive a lecture with a few tips to help you remember certain things that you may see on the test. Additionally, they’ll teach you very sheet metal concepts such as setback, bend allowance, rivet layout, spacing, length, and width.
Pay attention to everything they teach you and if you don’t understand something ASK. While I was there, the lectures did feel rushed and some people lagged behind because they didn’t ask questions. Luckily, my class had some comradery and we all helped each other grasp concepts that we didn’t understand.
After you completely finish the book, they give you an additional bank of questions that you need to study. Knock them out with the same formula of reading the question once and the correct answer twice while highlighting them.
When you’ve been through the whole book at least twice they’ll let you take a practice test. Depending on how you do, they’ll let you take the real test. If you do bad, they’ll make you study more and come back to take another practice test when you think you’re ready.
At the end of day 2 or the beginning on day 3 you’ll take the written test for Airframe. The minimum passing score is 70%. They’ll sign you in the testing room and let you test. Remember what you’ve been studying and go directly with your gut all the way through the test. The 100 questions should take you no more than 30 min if you’ve been studying hard like they teach you.
General Written Test (Days 3-4)
This will begin the General section. The process will be exactly the same. You’ll get study materials which consist of questions to study the same way. Read the question once and the correct answer twice while highlighting the correct answer.
They’ll give a lecture on helpful hints to remember for things you may see on the test. Additionally, they’ll teach you very basic electricity such as Ohm’s law and Watt’s law. They’ll also teach basic weight and balance calculations.
The process is the same for preparing for the test. You’ll get an extra packet of questions to study, take a practice test, take the real test when you’re ready.
Powerplant Written Test (Days 4-7)
Hopefully, you’ve passed everything and you’re on to the Powerplant section. This section is by far the hardest. You’ll get a book of study materials to study by reading the question once and the correct answer twice while highlighting the correct answers.
The lecture you’ll get will be a little different than the first two. Since the test focuses a lot on general aviation aircraft powerplants, they have to teach the basics of float type carburetors, propeller theory, governing propellers, reciprocating engine theory.
They won’t have much helpful hints for the powerplant test so you’ll have to rely on the strength of your studying.
When you get the extra packet of questions, study them at least 5 times before you take the real test. That’s what helped me the most.
Most likely you’ll take your test on Saturday, if you pass they’ll give you the Oral and Practical study guides and you’ll get to enjoy the rest of the weekend.
Enjoy your Sunday, but don’t slack on studying, you’ll want to be at least halfway through the Oral and Practical Book by Monday.
Oral and Practical Exams (Days 8-14)
This is the Oral and Practical section. You’ll study this book by highlighting key words of the correct answers. After you get through the book, You’ll need to study with a group by saying the questions out loud. If it’s nice out, utilize the break areas outside on the balcony, or the side of the workshop.
Throughout the week you’ll have lectures on sheet metal work, looking up Airworthiness Directives, getting familiar with the AC 43.13-1B, and more. They’ll take you in the workshop and show you how to do all of the tasks that the examiner might have you do. These include bench checking a magneto, making a beef up plate, tying a knot, wire lacing, calculating propeller pitch, safety wiring, etc..
Get hands on with all of this stuff. Especially if it’s something you’ve never touched before. The lectures did seem rushed when I went through so please ask questions if you don’t understand. My class was cool and helped each other again on projects that we weren’t confident in.
The most important thing to do during this week is to study the Oral and Practical book with a group. I group studied every night with some friends I made and it made all the difference come test day.
You will be expected to make a phone call to your allotted examiner and verify the time and date that they will take you for your Oral and Practical Exams during the week.
Oral and Practical Test Day
I went to an examiner in Smyrna which was about a 40 minute drive away. Be respectful and follow all of the examiner’s directions and you’ll do just fine as long as you’ve taken the whole week to study hard.
You’ll start off with the oral questions which will be over 150 questions that you’ll have to answer without any reference. It’s intimidating, but if you’ve been group studying it’ll be a piece of cake. These test standards will make it easier on you knowing what will be testable.
After that, you’ll complete the practical exams. You’ll have to do a project for each category that’s testable. Again, follow all of their directions and if something is unclear ask them. You’ll only fail if you do something incorrectly, you won’t fail for asking a question.
The examiner was fair, and after the practical test, he was helpful when it came to the process of getting my A&P license.
Plan on being there all day. I was there from 0700 to 1600.
I was honestly expecting a little more from the school, but I got the certification that I came there for so I can say it was worth the time and effort. The Bakers School of Aeronautics is exactly what it advertises, a prep school for Airframe and Powerplant certifications. They aren’t in the business of teaching anything, they are in the business of helping people like me with experience in getting their A&P license.
The Baker’s School of Aeronautics is one of the leaders in aerospace education that offer prep courses to obtain an A&P license and even passing the IA test. The school has an extremely high pass rate and even offers additional classroom time and training if you fail a section. It is well worth the time and money to get your certification here if you are interested in the blue collar kind of work that Aircraft Maintenance can offer.
Study the study materials they give you the way they teach you, pay attention to the helpful hints they give you, and group study when you’re studying for the Oral and Practical exams and you’ll come out with your certification.