Using Previous Experience to Satisfy Part 147 Hour Requirements

A Member Asked,
Q: During the COVID shutdown, we are exploring ways to provide students opportunities to finish lab work that cannot be completed on school property. You mentioned utilization of previous experience in today's online webinar. Can you provide more details on how the opportunity would work in practice?

A: Under Section 147.31(c)(3), "A school may credit a student with previous aviation maintenance experience comparable to required curriculum subjects. It must determine the amount of credit to be allowed by documents verifying that experience, and by giving the student a test equal to the one given to students who complete the comparable required curriculum subject at the school."

Recap: to offer the previous experience credit, the school would need to--

  1. Ensure the experience is comparable to required curriculum subjects;
  2. Develop a system to determine the amount of credit allowed for the previous experience (e.g., documented instructor assessment, hour-for-hour ratio calculation procedure, etc.);
  3. Have a means to document the experience (e.g., logbooks, etc.); and
  4. Assess the student via a test equal to the one given to students who complete the comparable required curriculum subject at the school (e.g., by giving the student the final test administered to other students in the subject area for which credit is provided).

The trick is securing the "experience" opportunities while social distancing policies are in place. Should the A&P school have access to an in-operation flight school, or local aircraft owners willing to provide one-on-one "hands on" experience to current students, the school could use log entires as the requisite documentation to verify the experience. 

The chosen system could be an informal instructor documented assessment, or a more formal hour-to-hour ratio calculation (e.g., X seat time hours = y previous experience hours). All that is required that there is an (arguably defendable!) system.

Blue Ridge Community College has a long-time "previous experience" program, whereby students are offered one contact hour of credit for every two hours of experience. Thank you to BRCC Associate Professor Fred Dyen for sharing the school's program procedures and forms, available here, as one way to approach awarding of credit for previous experience.