Have I Had the Proper Training to Support the Job Task?
If you never had any training in fuel systems other than changing filters or lines, ask an experienced mechanic for some OJT. Sometimes just the act of admitting that we are lacking is the first giant step towards attaining wisdom.
Am I Mentally Prepared to Perform the Job Task?
Are you stressed out, running on emotional empty, do you have problems at home or work that cause distraction? Quite frankly, you can get hurt. Here is a true confession. In 1973, I almost killed myself when I successfully disassembled a pressurized landing strut because I was thinking more about my girlfriend than what I was doing. Shaken, I learned that day that love is blind and cupid is armed!
Am I Physically Prepared to Perform the Task?
If you are physically exhausted hung over, sick, or injured, back away from the job. To be a super mechanic in other mechanics' eyes is a loser's script. You are setting yourself up for a major disaster whose results might end your long and promising career, or even worse, end your fellow mechanic's career.
Have I Taken the Proper Safety Precautions to Perform the Task?
Have you grounded the aircraft to a proper ground? Have you disconnected the aircraft electrical system? Are you using explosion-proof flashlights or trouble lights? Can the residue fuel be contained and disposed of? Do you have the proper mask and gloves? Eye wash available? Ventilation? The list can be quite extensive.
Do I Have the Resources Available to Perform the Task?
Resources such as jacks, rags, buckets, ladders/stands, extra help when needed, tape, as well as a dry, well-lit, comfortable place to work?
Have I Researched the FARs to Ensure Compliance?
Ah, the regulations, bane of the mechanic's existence, yet at the same time, they are the standard by which we are measured. For our fuel bladder tank installation, you should look and see if the new fuel tank meets Part 21, specifically section 21.303 for replacement parts, and of course, good old Part 43 for performance standards and record keeping.
After the task:
Did I Perform the Job Task to the Best of My Abilities?
This is getting on the personal side. Did I do my best job? How could I have done better? This question is designed to make you perform a little retrospective inspection, similar to what we all did on the morning of the second day of our honeymoon.
Was the Job Task Performed to Be Equal to the Original?
This means the task must meet its original type design or properly altered condition. Growing up in the maintenance field, I was always told that you could meet the type design requirements if you did the work equal to, or better than, the original. Imagine my surprise when I found out that "equal to" meets section 43.13 (b) rule all right, but if I made the repair better than the original CAR 3 requirements, like replacing the metal fuel line with a flexible one, then I performed an alteration. The alteration could be either minor or major, but either way, because I made an alteration in addition to a repair by "making it better than," alteration requires a separate sign off.
Was the Job Task Performed in Accordance with Appropriate Data?
This is pretty easy to answer if your data meets the "3C" rule. The data should be Current, Correct, and Complete. If the data meets the rule, then answer, Yes.
Did I Use All the Methods, Techniques, and Practices Acceptable to the Industry?
Short of installing the fuel tank with a pitchfork, just following the maintenance manual or instructions is all that you need to do to answer a Yes here.
Did I Perform the Task Without Pressure, Stress, and Distractions?
Again, this is a personal question. All jobs have stress, pressures and distractions. My son can do his homework, listening to acid rock that is so loud that it would melt earwax. While, I on the other hand, I get distracted if I hear Jell-O™ harden in a bowl. This is a judgment call that can only be made by the individual mechanic.
Did I Reinspect My Work or Have Someone Inspect My Work Before It Was Returned to Service?
Review the steps you performed using the maintenance manual or have someone else check your work. Two sets of eyes always see better than one set.
In Part 2 of my tome on field approvals, we will cover current field approval policy found in Change 16 to FAA Order 8300.10.
AMT contributor Bill O'Brien gets the message out on ICA.
The power behind the certificate
I have been told that getting an FAA field approval is a lot like getting an elephant pregnant.