Getting Your Inspection Authorization
Some tips to help you along your way to an IA
By Joe Escobar
Well it is that time of year again. All over the country, mechanics with Inspection Authorization (IA) are filling out their FAA Form 8610-1 and giving it to their local FSDO in order to stay current for yet another year. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be an IA? Are you looking for some tips and pointers on studying for the IA exam? This article will provide some tips for getting your IA.
Why get your IA?
Each mechanic has his or her own reason for obtaining an IA. It could be to make extra money performing annual inspections. It could be for promotion opportunities within their company. It could even be a status symbol, a badge of honor if you will.
Stan Cates, a quality assurance manager who has had his IA for eight years shares his reason for getting his IA. "It was a sense of pride. It was also to help further my career in aviation. There were certain jobs within the company that required an IA. In fact, my current job requires an IA. I would not have even been able to apply if I only had my A&P."
For many, a sense of professionalism leads them to obtain their IA. "For me, it boiled down to being the best mechanic I could be," says Howard Sidlecki, an FBO owner who has had his IA for 30 years shares. "It was the next logical step for me in my career."
Jim Freeman, a repair station owner who has had his IA for 10 years, states that the main reason he got his IA was because the company he was working for at the time gave him the opportunity to get it. "The company I worked for encouraged its mechanics to get their IA. They even paid for us to take a study class. I took advantage of that opportunity and got my IA. It has helped open up many opportunities in my career."
"I got my A&P to become more well-rounded in my aviation career," says Peter Bradsell, a quality assurance manager who recently got his IA. A certificated pilot for many years, Bradsell got his A&P five years ago. "After having my A&P for three years, it seemed that getting my IA was the next logical progression in my education as a mechanic."
There are minimum requirements to become an IA. These requirements can be found in FAR 65.91. To be eligible for an inspection authorization, an applicant must:
- Hold a currently effective mechanic certificate with both an airframe rating and a powerplant rating, each of which is currently effective and has been in effect for a total of at least 3 years;
- Have been actively engaged, for at least the last 2-year period before the date he applies, in maintaining aircraft certificated and maintained in accordance with the FARs;
- Have a fixed base of operations at which he may be located in person or by telephone during a normal working week but it need not be the place where he will exercise his inspection authority;
- Have available to him the equipment, facilities, and inspection data necessary to properly inspect airframes, powerplants, propellers, or any related part or appliance; and
- Pass a written test on his ability to inspect according to safety standards for returning aircraft to service after major repairs and major alterations and annual and progressive inspections performed under Part 43 of the FARs.
Studying for the test
Once you know you want to get your IA, you need to spend some time preparing for the test. FAA-G-8082-11 (http://av-info.faa.gov/data/knowledgetestguide/faa-g-8082-11.pdf) Inspection Authorization Knowledge Test Guide gives some good pointers on studying for the test. Here are some of those tips:
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