Overview of Our Profession

Recently I have been getting a lot of requests from young people for some information on how to become a mechanic, and what the work around aircraft is like.

FAA Certificated Mechanics and Repairman - The FAA certificates aviation maintenance personnel in two ways: a mechanic certificate and a repairman certificate.

The vast majority of technicians are certificated as an FAA mechanic. Under an FAA mechanic's certificate there are two ratings: Airframe and Power plant. Although most certificated mechanics hold both ratings, and are referred to in the industry as an "A&P," there are many mechanics certificated only with an airframe (A) rating, or only a power plant (P) rating. To become an FAA certified mechanic an applicant must:

• Be 18 years of age or older,
• Be able to read, write, and understand English,
• Document 18 months of practical experience in either one of the rating sought, or 30 months of practical experience working concurrently on airframes and power plants, or graduate from an FAA Approved Part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician School.
• Must pass a written examination, an oral test, and a practical test for each rating.
• Pass all the prescribed tests within 24 months

Additional certification requirements for foreign applicants located outside of the United States at the time of the examination are:

• The applicant must demonstrate that a mechanic certificate is needed to maintain U.S. registered civil aircraft and that the applicant is EITHER a U.S. citizen or a resident alien.
• Positive identification of the applicant must be established. (i.e. passport)
• Applicant must provide a signed and detailed statement (original copy only, no duplicate copies will be accepted) from their employer substantiating specific type of maintenance performed on aircraft and the duration of each.
• The applicant must provide a letter obtained from the foreign airworthiness authority of the country in which the experience was gained or from an advisor of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that will validate their maintenance experience.
• All documents must be signed, dated originals, and traceable to the initiator.
• A fee for the document review will be charged in accordance with Part 187 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR)
• Applicants who do not meet the English requirements of 14 CFR Part 65, section 65.71(a)(2) will have their certificates endorsed: "Valid only outside of the U.S."

Repairmen are maintenance technicians that are certificated by the FAA for only one or two specific tasks. Because they are limited by function, they can only exercise the privileges of the repairman certificate by being under the supervision of FAA approved Repair Stations, Commercial operators, or Air Carriers where these specific tasks are routinely accomplished on a daily basis. It is the Repair Station, Commercial Operator, or Air Carrier who recommends an individual to be a repairman. To be eligible for a repairman certificate an applicant must be:

• At least 18 years of age
•Able to read, write, and understand the English language, NOTE: this may be waived for a repairman living outside the United States.
• Specially qualified to perform maintenance on aircraft or components
• Employed for a specific job requiring the special qualifications by a FAA certificated Repair Station, or a certificated commercial operator, or a certificated air carrier
• Recommended for the repairman certificate by his or her employer
• Have either 18 months practical experience in the specific job function (Industry X-Ray technician) or complete a formal training course acceptable to the FAA

Avionics Occupations - Avionics technicians work on some of the most advanced electronic equipment outside of an electronic research and development laboratory. It is not uncommon for the avionics bay of an air carrier aircraft to hold eight to ten million dollars worth of "black boxes" all of which need a highly qualified person to maintain them.

An individual who holds an FAA mechanic certificate with an airframe rating is authorized under his rating to maintain avionics equipment. But this privilege is allowed only if that individual is properly trained, qualified, and has the proper tools and equipment to perform the work.

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