Are you interested in becoming an aircraft mechanic? Are you good with your hands and enjoy aviation? If you answered yes, you might make a great aircraft mechanic. The aviation industry offers exciting careers with lots of room for promotion. This is one of the reasons many people flock to these careers. Aircraft maintenance is a necessary industry that keeps aircraft safe for everyone. Oftentimes when we think about aviation, pilots come to mind. Pilots get some of the glory but behind every good pilot is a maintenance crew servicing and maintaining the aircraft.
Becoming an aircraft mechanic is not something that can be done overnight. This career is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA. The FAA requires that each student needs 1900 hours total of hands-on and classroom training to be able to take the airframe and powerplant (A&P license) tests. This rule ensures mechanics meet a minimum standard while attending school. Each school that teaches aviation maintenance falls under FAR part 147, which is why these schools are referred to as “part 147 schools”.
How Long Does It Take To Become An A&P?
Attending a part 147 aviation maintenance school is the fastest way to get the A&P license, which is the certification mechanics need to legally maintain aircraft in the United States. Generally, this 1900 hours of training takes about 2 years depending on the school. The Federal Aviation Administration does allow other means of meeting the experience requirements however. For an example, an aircraft mechanic who has 30 months of well-documented experience (perhaps from the military or other means) may meet the 30-month requirement. The FAA can interview an aircraft mechanic who meets this requirement and grant them the approval to take the airframe and powerplant tests. The 30 months rule is for both certificates, the airframe and the powerplant, if only one certificate is going to be obtained, the requirement is 18 months for a single license.
The Airframe And Powerplant Tests
The benefit of attending a certified aircraft mechanic school is that the student will be better prepared for the A&P tests. These schools are designed to teach exactly what is required for the tests. The A&P tests are not easy to pass. The A&P tests are actually three tests in three sections. The general, airframe, and powerplant. Each one of these tests has a written (computer based multiple choice), oral and practical test. During the oral part of the test, the designated mechanic examiner (DME) will ask various questions on each subject. The practical portion of the tests are where the student is given tasks and they must be accomplished correctly, such as timing a magneto. During the practical portion of the testing, maintenance manuals and all reference materials are available for review.
Being an aircraft mechanic is both challenging and rewarding. This industry is always in need of skilled technicians to keep aircraft airworthy. Aircraft mechanics take great pride in what they do. It is because of this dedication that air travel is as safe as it is today. Learn more about becoming an aircraft mechanic today!
by +John Janiszewski
John Janiszewski started his career as a turbine engine mechanic for the US Army which he also transitioned to a Chinook Mechanic. He also attended a part 147 Maintenance School at Ben Davis Aerospace Technical in Detroit Michigan. He has been working on aircraft for over 12 years and has held his A&P Certificates for approximately nine years. He currently works on a Part 135 EMS helicopter located in Saginaw Michigan. Read more from John Janiszewski at MyAandPLicense.com, the aircraft mechanic blog.