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CFI/Student maintenance course

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We are organizing a regular maintenance course for our CFIs and students, last night was the first run-thru with some of our core team. The goal is to teach us what every inspection is and what is covered, and how to understand the mx manuals better. Last night we spent almost four hours and only got thru the 100 hour on the Schweizer. We plan to take the 300 and R44 separately and do class room on some of it and the rest around the aircraft. We will make videos but aren't sure about distribution at this point..


Our instructor has been an A&P for many years and has been to both factory courses (Schweizer and Robbie), and has quite a lot of experience on both platforms.. to say the least, the evening was enlightening for all of us. We got off track many times, asking questions about helicopters we know about in the past that had issues (like one that kept eating alternators), so we expect to get this program more focused in the future. We have parts that we replaced on our aircraft this year and plan a visit to the local helicopter junk yard to pick up more for examples of the parts you cannot easily see (lots of Schweizer parts, almost NO Robbie parts cuz the only thing we had to replace on our R44 was a light bulb!! YES, i am a Robbie fan). One side benefit for owner/operators, as you can see in one of the photos, my guys were quite shocked at the price of parts.. this just might encourage folks to take better care of the aircraft knowing stuff like that. :-)


I am bringing this up tell everyone how great it was for us to learn more about the inspections, and what the A&P looks for and why. I highly encourage all of you to do this at your schools, if it's not being done bring it up, get it started. Sooo many things came to light last night on both sides of the table, and the more you know, the safer you can be.







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One of the things I do with my students that own their own helicopter is teaching them what maintenance they can legally do. I also cover greasing and fluid replenishment. Plus I cover things like what proper safety wiring and signoffs looking.


Overall I have had a good response on the part of my students on this.

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To All, the lack of maintenance training for pilots has been a weakness of the industry forever! It is not required by the PTS for pilot ratings so it just does not get taught. Military pilots are even more hands off by instilled procedures.


It used to be that companies hiring pilots to fly turbine equipment wanted them to know how to do a compressor wash and check chip detectors. PHI and other operators teach pilots these skills and sign them off for these procedures. I have taught my students or pilots what the lowest time component on the aircraft was and which component was coming due next for replacement or overhaul! An understanding of CALM or maintenance Time Life tracking sheets should be taught at the Commercial level.


Now to Colorado Heli-Ops, in these post Silver State and hard economic times, CHO is making the greatest effort to be the best flight school by having "C&E" Seminars, Mountain Courses and now Maintenance training for their CFIs and students. I hope to see other schools follow suit and improve the industry overall. Kudos to CHO!


I have been blessed with training provided to me. I have overhauled a B206L and B407 and completed helos from green to airworthy. Maintenance knowledge has kept my aircraft flying and me safe.


Pilots, please remember to put maintenance decisions onto maintenance personnel no matter how much training or knowledge you have. Pilots can refuse to fly it, A&Ps can ground it!





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  • 4 weeks later...

FANTASTIC idea for a training course!


One of the MANY reasons I switched from a huge local flight school to Jerry Trimble Helicopters was for this reason.....Jerry is a LONG time A&P/AI and used to work for Frank himself back in the day. Jerry puts you to work, and happily explains everything, pulls out old parts, etc etc. AMAZING learning environment if you are willing to stick around and get dirty.


At my former school, we were not even allowed in the mtx hangar, allowed to touch anything, and the poor, over worked mechanics didn't have time or energy to talk to us about what they were working on.


When I first started training with Jerry I immediately bombarded him with questions about mtx, startup/shutdown procedures, reasons for doing this or that, blah blah blah. I soon finished my CFI with him and now I am working for him, and it's so nice to be able to pass this info on to my students.

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It is a great idea & alot of pilots need to know more about the machine that they are flying. HOWEVER, it would be better if you called it maintenance "awarness" as opposed to "training". Stress the FAR's for mechanics & IA's & what maintenance that pilots can legally do on their own. Every mechanic's 2nd worst nitemare is "a pilot with a wrench" (1st is a call from our FriendlyAviationAssociates) Over the years i've allowed owners of their aircraft to help w/ the maintenance associated with the inspections, "usually" this worked out OK. But you always get a few that think they know more than the mechanic & that its "their" aircraft & want it done "their" way. I once had a 300 owner that went to the maintenance school tell me that "i am the only one that Schweizer has authorized to re-use the lock rings" & refused to pay me for the new ones ! I enven had one guy (airplane owner) that wanted me to change a fuel pump & when i reviewed the logs?----he had signed off the annual inspection on his own as "aircraft owner" & listed his pilots license number !! When i explained to him that we needed to give this aircraft an annual inspection along with the fuel pump change? He quickly informed me that he already did the inspection ! Again regulations,,,,, WHO? can do the inspection? And lastly? Point out the options on how to become a certificated A&P mechanic.

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Where I teach, there are opportunities for the instructors to observe and sometimes help with some of the routine maintenance* (and, for that matter, some of the not so routine) with the aircraft. There is really an increased level of understanding when there is a chance to see the ship completely torn apart and get to get a thorough in depth view of how all the parts do their magic together to make a 1200 pound piece of metal defy gravity.


Knowing how to correctly identify a problem in the field just might save the mechanic from having to make two trips when the ship is stuck in a swamp somewhere.


Sounds like a great course.


*Under the proper supervision by an authorized A&P, of course.


Under 65.77, it is even possible to take the test for the A&P certification when the time and experience requirement is met.

Edited by Pohi
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