When I was turning wrenches on a daily basis, I (like many of my A&P coworkers) got somewhat complacent when it came to electrical or avionics system work. You see, our shop had a separate avionics department with several electrical gurus on staff. We would turn over any avionics or electrical writeups directly to this "lazyonics" department. If it required a multimeter, we called lazyonics. We concentrated on our "maintenance tasks" such as inspection, troubleshooting, and repair of the airframe and engines.
If that seems like a ridiculous mindset for 15 years ago, it is even more so today! Today, employers are looking for A&Ps that have a well-rounded knowledge of all aircraft systems, especially avionics. It is evident the line between airframe, engine, and avionics becomes grayer each year. Today’s maintenance shops don’t want component replacers. They need mechanics with a firm grasp of electrical theory and avionics. In case you don’t think it is that important, consider this — Midcoast Aviation was having such a hard time finding qualified technicians, it decided to start its own apprenticeship program. It courts technically minded employees from computer and electrical companies like BestBuy. If hired, Midcoast puts the newbies through its self-developed training program that help them apply their knowledge and skill sets to aircraft systems.
AMT schools are constantly looking at ways to give future A&Ps the advanced avionics and electrical training they need to succeed. One of the products that some schools are using to achieve this goal is the Aviation Electronics Trainer from CES Industries. I was fortunate to attend a couple of days of training at CES headquarters in August to test drive the products myself.
The CES products are interactive electrical trainers. They reminded me of the Radio Shack 1001 project electrical kit I had when I was a kid, but on steroids. There are manuals and software programs that help instructors and students learn in a structured, but fun-to-learn environment. CES’ avionics trainers allow students to get hands-on training on subjects such as electricity, AC/DC, digital circuits and logic, communication, navigation, flight controls, troubleshooting, and more. A couple of projects I was involved in included simulating an ILS system, building a capacitance fuel probe, and using an oscilliscope to see relationships between frequencies. It was an extremely fun way to learn electrical theory.
For more information on the Avionics System Trainer from CES, you can visit www.cesindustries.com.
Thanks for reading!