BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
It’s never too early to start preparing for the future. For maintenance Airmen at Beale Air Force Base, California, getting an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certification can broaden their maintenance knowledge and open the doors to many career opportunities in and out of the Air Force.
Acquiring an A&P certification can be a lengthy process if done the traditional Air Force way. The 9th Maintenance Operations Training Flight (MXOT) instructors at Beale were able to find a more efficient way for experienced maintenance Airmen to obtain the certification.
“Using the Air Force’s method, members need four years time in service (TIS) to start, which generally take 12 months to complete,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin Peirce, 9th Logistics Support Squadron maintenance training element chief. “We discovered that our members can use the civilian requirements and prove their military experience to count toward the required time.”
This allows members to start their A&P exams by their third year TIS. What originally would take 12 months to complete, it can be done in one 30-minute interview by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The A&P certification preparatory course is a fairly new course with the goal to provide Airmen the knowledge needed to pass the exams in an expedited process.
“This class gives a consolidated study path that allows us to ease the challenge of covering around 3,000 pages of material in six weeks,” Pierce said. “The material is broken down into four separate exams: general, airframe, powerplant and a separate oral and practical portion.”
The path to becoming a certified aircraft mechanic can be very challenging but rewarding. Whether they’re a maintainer for commercial, private or military aircraft, mechanics are always needed.
“We believe that the Air Force gains a more capable aircraft mechanic and leader by more Airmen pursuing an A&P certification,” said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Payne, 9th Reconnaissance Wing A4 chief enlisted manager. “Not only are the benefits huge for our maintainers out on the line every day, but it also sets them up for their future after their military career.”