by Tom Briden
Copyright 2021. All rights reserved!
Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine August/September 2021 online issue
Fellow Birdmen and future “Erks” (ref. WWII mechanics), I just returned from a 120-hour, 15-day aviation maintenance course taught by Rainbow Aviation, the Light Sport Specialists, in Kingsville, Missouri (https://rainbowaviation.com/). Our instructors were the owners – husband and wife team, Brian and Carol Carpenter.
Both are flyers, aircraft owners, and mechanics. This event was a jammed packed, fun-filled and challenging curriculum that mirrors the knowledge and practical application of the FAA Aviation Maintenance Handbooks (FAA-H-8083-30A, 31 and 32) and Advisory Circular 43.13-1b/2b, more commonly known as “Aircraft Inspection and Repair.” After completing the course, I left with a Certificate of Completion of Light Sport Repairman Maintenance – Airplane in hand. I will now present this certificate to my local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) for my license under FAR 65.107. With this repairman certificate and license, I can now work for hire to maintain Special Category Light-Sport Aircraft (SLSA) and Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft (E-LSA). It’s one more step to eventually obtaining my Airframe and Powerplant Certificate (A&P), if I choose to do that.
All mornings start with 4 hours of lecture, lunch, and more talk, followed up by a workshop. Carol specializes in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), repairman eligibility, privileges, limitations, rules and regulations, FAA liaisons, registrations, Light Sport differences, inspections, checklists, service directives, orders and notices, resources, links, logbooks, testing and much more. Her background is in education and she adds excitement and humor to what could be described as mundane.
Brian is the recipient of the 2017 FAA National Aviation Technician of the Year Award. He is the consummate professional. “Van” (i.e. Richard “Van” VanGrunsven, Van’s Aircraft) has him on speed-dial. His exemplary talent and use of training aids is the best I’ve ever seen. I was enamored by his interactive white board, slides, videos, diagrams, demos and handouts. Brian’s explanation of aviation physics, aircraft design and function, troubleshooting, carburetor synchronization, engine mechanics and gearbox harmony, along with his shop supervision, made learning a breeze. He was the spigot… I was the sponge.
All 16 of us students felt more useful, better educated and more competent, based on work performed. Whenever I hear or read about “sport mechanics,” LSAs, moment of inertia, EMG-6, weight shift, 3D modeling, electric powerplants, powered parachutes, Jabiru, sail cloth, LOAs, spark plug analysis, hangar 7, Corrosion X, all things Rotax, flutter, punch testing, pulse wave, Buzz Master, gliders and many more GA topics, I will recall this class and think of my mentors, Brian and Carol. I am excited to enter the field of LSA maintenance.
If you’re looking for a world-class hands-on experience in the heartland of America, you should consider this course provided by Rainbow Aviation! 7,000-plus graduates already have.
Tom Briden, ATP, FE, CFI A&I, USAF, LSRM-A, Repairman A/B.