I’m sure that most VFR aviators have heard over and over again that adding an instrument rating will make them a better pilot. It’s not that adding the rating is going to let them launch into any kind of weather, and make their flying as reliable as buying an airline ticket—it won’t (unless they can afford a true all-weather aircraft, and in that case, they can probably afford to hire a full-time pilot as well). But adding the rating gives a person a totally different framework for their flying—a rigorous structure that centers on being procedural, doing things the same way every time, and sharpening up their precision in all of their flying. Sure, you can do all of those things as a VFR pilot, and many do—but getting the instrument ticket forces the process.
I am finding that as I prepare for my A&P oral and practical tests, that the same thing is occurring in my building and maintaining mind. Oh, I have always been precise and demanding in how I build and maintain my aircraft, but thinking about it within the context of A&P procedures and record-keeping is making me tighten up my game even more. I am thinking more in terms of checklists and precision in logbook entries, for starters. Helping others in my class (all the fine young folks getting their FAA licenses based on their military service as turbine aircraft maintainers) is forcing me to make sure that I not only speak about correct skills and techniques, but about the paperwork and record-keeping as well.
Is the A&P the instrument ticket of the building an maintaining world?