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Passing the Aircraft Mechanic Written Test

What to expect when taking the three written test.


Our three rules for taking and passing the FAA's mechanic written test are STUDY, STUDY, STUDY.

You may have years of practical experience working on airplanes, however in the three written test, chances are you will encounter questions on subjects that are totally new to you. If you are retiring from the military you probably have had little experience with reciprocating engines (a major portion of the written test). We highly recommend that you consider taking a refresher or prep course, (Recommended Schools).


Description of the test

The three test, (General, Airframe and Powerplant) are multiple-choice type. The minimum passing score is 70 percent on each of the 3 test. The General test contains 60 questions, and the Airframe and Aviation Powerplant tests contain 100 questions each. You are allowed 2 hours to complete each of the written test.

If you do not pass and wish to retest. You may retake the test after 30 days, or sooner if you receive additional instruction from a person holding a certificate in the rating you seek. You must present a signed statement from the person holding the certificate to retest.

Please be aware:

1. As of October, 2011 a new category was added to the FAA's Mechanic General Knowledge Test, this is questions on "Human Factors". Older books and videos will not be up to date.

2. As of October 2015 New questions were added to the FAAs written test. Older books and videos will not be up to date.

A few examples of the new questions are listed below.

1. How is a quality system assured?
A) By an independent organization.
B) By an dependent organization.
C) By an internal reporting and auditing system.

2. Professor James Reason explains that errors by aircraft mechanics fall into one of three categories.
These categories are:

A) slips, mistakes, and violations.
B) failure, fatigue, and distractions.
C) technique, fatigue, and distractions.

3. Many areas of aviation have shifted their focus from eliminating error to:
A) preventing and managing error.
B) identifying and mitigating error.
C) reducing and containing error.

4. When we think of aviation safety in a contemporary way, human error is:
A) the starting point.
B) the ending point.
C) the intervention point.

Quoted from the FAA

"Due to a large number of maintenance-related aviation accidents and incidents that occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Transport Canada identified twelve human factors that degrade people's ability to perform effectively and safely, which could lead to maintenance errors. These twelve factors, known as the "dirty dozen," were eventually adopted by the aviation industry as a straight forward means to discuss human error in maintenance. It is important to know the dirty dozen, how to recognize their symptoms, and most importantly, know how to avoid or contain errors produced by the dirty dozen. Understanding the interaction between organizational, work group, and individual factors that may lead to errors and accidents, AMTs can learn to prevent or manage them proactively in the future."


DuPont's Dirty Dozen

1. Lack of Communication
2. Complacency
3. Lack of Knowledge
4. Distraction
5. Lack of Teamwork
6. Fatigue
7. Lack of Resources
8. Pressure
9. Lack of Assertiveness
10. Stress
11. Lack of Awareness
12. Norms

Click Here for a PDF File with More Information on Human Factors


List of computerized testing centers,
authorized by the FAA to give the aircraft mechanic written test.

Computer Assisted Testing Service (CATS)
1801 Murchison Drive, Suite 288
Burlingame, CA 94010
Applicant inquiry and test registration: 1-800-947-4228
From outside the U.S. (650) 259-8550

LaserGrade Computer Testing
16821 SE McGillivray Blvd., Suite 201
Vancouver, WA 98683
Applicant inquiry and test registration: 1-800-211-2753 or 1-800-211-2754
From outside the U.S. (360) 896-9111

For more information on the aircraft mechanic written test, see the FAA's "Knowledge Test Guide" below.



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Page updated April 18, 2024

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