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What Is A Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME)?

When doing your oral and practical examinations you are probably wondering, who is going to do the exam?  The school will not provide your assessor or do the exam themselves in-house.   Instead, you will be given free choice to choose any examiner in any State in the US, they just have to be approved by the FAA. Many of them will have spent many years previously as an A&P, so you can be rest assured they possess all the correct knowledge needed to assess you, and have thorough understanding of the trade.  These assessors are known officially as DME’s (Designated mechanic examiners.)  

The technicals: 

A Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) is an individual, approved in accordance with 14 CFR section 183.25.  The DME will hold a valid aviation mechanic certificate, and possess technical knowledge and the relevant experience required for aviation mechanic certification, and will also meet the qualification requirements of Order 8900.2, General Aviation Airman Designee Handbook. 

In layman’s terms – 

Basically, a DME is fully equipped with the knowledge and capabilities to assess you to the FAA standards which can be found here – Practical Test Standards (PTS) (faa.gov).  Remember You have full access to everything the DME will mark you against, so please spend some time familiarising yourself with the testing standards, so you can prepare for yourself with what you will be tested on, and be able to fulfil the assessor’s checklist, going above and beyond what they are looking for will make your whole experience a lot more smoother, and you will be graded accordingly.

Will they Assess my written exams?

No, a DME will only be there to asses you on your oral and practical exams, for airframe, general and powerplant.  Your written exams will need to be completed beforehand, and passing these enables you to move on and sit your oral and practical exams.

Choosing a DME  

As we mentioned above, you can choose any DME in the country to sit your Airframe and Powerplant license.  As a general rule of thumb, you would like to use a DME that is linked to your trading provider, however if you are self-studying to become an aircraft maintenance technician then be sure to use a DME that is credible. You may know other colleagues that have tested with that DME before, or may find that you know a DME that knows a friend of a friend.  Remember as important as it is to pass your exams with the right practical and theoretical knowledge, it is also just as important to build a good rapport with the DME.  You should be able to share some common interests or engaging conversation, which as a whole will help to assess your competency as an individual, in a very social and fast paced industry.    

DME locations 

There are DMEs all over the country and finding one can be incredibly easy using the FAAs DME search tool Designee Locator Search (faa.gov).  It goes without saying, make sure you select a DME relatively close to you, or make sure their facility is accessible for you, the last thing you want is to be late. 

 Look for DMEs that are easy to get to, whether it be by taxi, rental cars, or public transport.  

Keep in mind that sometimes the oral and practical exams can finish late, so keep In mind you may need local accommodation booked, or at least have some kind of accessible transportation close by.

Costs 

The costs vary between DMEs but you’ll see them going for around the $1000+ mark.  Remember to do your research and find the DME most suitable for you but also the most cost effective.  Usually the DMEs will charge relatively similar prices, and many will take a big chunk as a deposit.  Remember, the deposits are usually non-refundable so make sure to be sure before booking, and ensure you book the date best for you.  Some DMEs will be relatively flexible, but be sure to let them know in advance.  Local A&P prep schools will run courses on certain dates every month.  Our best advice on this is to realise that most DMEs in that area will be fully booked at the same time due to a number of students all looking to test at the same time after the course has finished, so ensure that you get your booking in early! 

What to take with you  

-8610-2 form for details on how to fill this out please click here 

-Passport 

-Driving license 

-Any other forms of ID 

-Payment methods 

-If you are going for both licenses at the same time bring the Hard copies of your general, airframe, and powerplant written exam pass certificates 

-If only going for airframe just bring the general and airframe and if going for powerplant just bring the powerplant and general.  

What to expect 

Taking into consideration that you’ve done the right exam prep and have passed the written exams, it’s now time to mentally and physically prepare for the oral and practical exam.  Be sure that all revision has been done prior and brush up on some the night before.  Try to make sure that the things you have struggled with have been covered and explained and you have refreshed yourself on these.  Wake up early, stretch, and get ready for your day!  Be sure not to overdose on caffeine as this can just make matters worse. 

Turn up early and on time to the DME and be sure to dress appropriately, smart enough to look presentable but not too smart that you struggle to do the practical work.  Be sure to worry more about the quality of your work rather than getting creases on tour Jordan’s!   

Introduce yourself and make conversation  

Bring some snacks and stay hydrated

Remember to question and read everything.  Always ask questions and always ask for the material first!  Even before doing a job you know always ask for the manuals, and always stop and think if you have the correct PPE tools and equipment and manuals.  If you feel like you are missing something don’t hesitate to say, and always think outside the box.

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