Certified Mechanic Requirement

squincher

Pre-takeoff checklist
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squincher
If the FAA will let me decide whether or not to take off in bad weather, and leaves me to decide if flying into a thunder storm is a bad idea, why don't they trust me to decide whether or not I can work on my own plane? I learned a long time ago, dealing with motorcycle mechanics, no one is going to take as much care with my stuff as I do. The number of videos of planes having mechanical failures after maintenance indicates to me this carries over into aviation as well.
 
why don't they trust me to decide whether or not I can work on my own plane?
They do trust you. Its called E/AB or preventative maintenance on TC'd aircraft. No AP required. As to the requirement for certified mechanics its more part of international agreements than anything. For those countries who dont require certified mechanics on TC'd aircraft those aircraft usually are not permitted to leave their host country just like TCCA owner maintained aircraft must stay in Canada.
 
They do trust you. Its called E/AB or preventative maintenance on TC'd aircraft. No AP required. As to the requirement for certified mechanics its more part of international agreements than anything. For those countries who dont require certified mechanics on TC'd aircraft those aircraft usually are not permitted to leave their host country just like TCCA owner maintained aircraft must stay in Canada.

I'm very knew to this so I don't understand some of the things in your post. Is there a circumstance where I could perform an annual inspection on, say, a 1975 C182 I owned, or replace a magneto?
 
I'm very knew to this so I don't understand some of the things in your post. Is there a circumstance where I could perform an annual inspection on, say, a 1975 C182 I owned, or replace a magneto?
You can under the supervision of an A&P/IA
 
Pilots / owners are not trained in areas such as proper log book entries for maintainance /repair or filling out a 337. And, as we all SHOULD know, improper paperwork can result in serious accidents!
 
I'm very knew to this so I don't understand some of the things in your post.
Search the internet for FAA owner preventative maintenance and you should find a number of references that explain it in more detail. But in general an owner with a pilot certificate can perform the prevent mx listed in Part 43 Appx A(c). As long as the work can be classified under one of the 32 line items and meet the Part 1 definition of prevent mx you can perform and sign off that work under your cert.
I could perform an annual inspection
No. Even an AP can't perform an annual inspection unless they also posses an Inspection Authorization. Which not all APs have.
replace a magneto?
Maybe. As mentioned above if you have an AP who allows owner assisted mx then you could perform the work but the AP is required to approve RTS the aircraft. Theres no limits on what work you can perform other than what level the AP is willing to go. For example, I had no problem with some owners performing engine replacements.
 
You can under the supervision of an A&P/IA

An A&P/IA cannot supervise an inspection. They must actually perform the inspection. This isn't to say you can't open the airplane up to facilitate said inspection, however.

Replacing the magneto, as exemplified by the OP, can be supervised and RTS by the A&P.
 
learned a long time ago, dealing with motorcycle mechanics, no one is going to take as much care with my stuff as I do

There's a significant difference between motorcycle mechanics and A&Ps. Be careful projecting assumptions onto A&Ps/IAs based on your past experiences with non-aviation mechanics. You'll just pi** them off and they won't want to work on your airplane, let alone allow you to participate.
 
My take on it personally is if I wanted to build or fix airplanes, I'd have bought an experimental. I do the easy legal stuff like oil changes, I've done a couple tubes and tires. Doing the bigger stuff, by the time I buy the specialty tool needed to do whatever repair, waste a weekend trying to figure out how to change said part, or sit around waiting for UPS to bring that little part I didn't know I needed when I started.. Its just more efficient to pay the man. I'd rather be flying!
 
Plus a lot of people are great at taking things apart, getting them back together correctly is a whole other level and many fail at that part.

For some reason, mechanical things seem to make sense to me and I've learned to be a good mechanic. From what I've seen online, the engine in any airplane I would buy is a dead simple proposition. I would certainly need a reference for inspection tolerances, torque values, and such, but there is no doubt in my mind I could do anything with an engine. I don't know about the structural aspects of the rest of the plane though, and I would definitely defer to an expert on avionics.

Search the internet for FAA owner preventative maintenance and you should find a number of references that explain it in more detail. But in general an owner with a pilot certificate can perform the prevent mx listed in Part 43 Appx A(c). As long as the work can be classified under one of the 32 line items and meet the Part 1 definition of prevent mx you can perform and sign off that work under your cert.

Thanks for that. It looks like I would be able to do more than I thought.

There's a significant difference between motorcycle mechanics and A&Ps. Be careful projecting assumptions onto A&Ps/IAs based on your past experiences with non-aviation mechanics. You'll just pi** them off and they won't want to work on your airplane, let alone allow you to participate.

I hope there would be a difference, but as I posted above, there is no shortage of videos of aircraft suffering mechanical failures shortly after maintenance. I'm also curious, since aircraft mechanics are actually officially certified, do they face any type of action if they do something wrong on an aircraft? Also, are any records kept of mechanics or maintenance companies who worked on aircraft then had them fall out of the sky on the way home? Knowing for sure a mechanic with 15 years experience had never had a problem would certainly raise my confidence level.
 
My take on it personally is if I wanted to build or fix airplanes, I'd have bought an experimental. I do the easy legal stuff like oil changes, I've done a couple tubes and tires. Doing the bigger stuff, by the time I buy the specialty tool needed to do whatever repair, waste a weekend trying to figure out how to change said part, or sit around waiting for UPS to bring that little part I didn't know I needed when I started.. Its just more efficient to pay the man. I'd rather be flying!

I'm just the opposite; working on stuff is a significant part of my enjoyment in owning it. And buying new tools? Everyday can be Christmas when you have a project that needs new tools.
 
do they face any type of action if they do something wrong on an aircraft?
Yes, both administratively and legally if their actions were found to be at fault.
are any records kept of mechanics or maintenance companies who worked on aircraft then had them fall out of the sky on the way home?
All mx must be recorded and signed off provided the owner hires maitenance providers who follow the rules there will be a record. And by regulation those records are kept for a specified time.
 
If the FAA will let me decide whether or not to take off in bad weather, and leaves me to decide if flying into a thunder storm is a bad idea, why don't they trust me to decide whether or not I can work on my own plane? I learned a long time ago, dealing with motorcycle mechanics, no one is going to take as much care with my stuff as I do. The number of videos of planes having mechanical failures after maintenance indicates to me this carries over into aviation as well.
You did take flying lessons, didn't you? 40 or 50 or 60 hours of some pretty intense stuff? And a bunch more hours/days/weeks of ground study and instruction? That was to prepare you to make decisions regarding your flying and to give you the skills to do it.

Mechanics? How much aviation maintenance training have you had? I keep telling people that cars (or motorcycles) are not airplanes. If the car or bike quits, you coast to the side of the road and someone gives you a lift. If the airplane's engine quits you glide to the scene of the crash, and very often there is no one to rescue you. So that airplane's maintenance is MUCH more critical, and it's real easy to screw it up. Just overtorque one nut or bolt and you can have serious problems. As a mechanic I have found way too many "owner repairs" that presented some horrific risks. Owner-pilots are sometimes their own worst enemies.

Yeah, I thought I was a good mechanic and that the aircraft maintenance thing would be a piece of cake. Knew most of it already. I had built boats and fixed cars and trucks and all sorts of stuff. I had engineered and built a bunch of automated machining and testing equipment. Still, I found out that I was ignorant of an awful lot of stuff. In Canada, the aircraft maintenance engineer's license requires formal training (not required for the US A&P) and four years of apprenticeship (some of the formal training, if done in an approved program, can count toward that) and at least 70% of the listed ATA tasks must be logged and signed off by a supervising engineer. It's a lot of study and work, and the wages are not spectacular, which is why some AMEs go to work instead in truck or auto shops: those shops recognize the precision of the work they do.

Don't take it lightly. It's your soft pink body, and your passengers, that are being held far aloft and carried at considerable speed by that machine. You screw up and you can all get dead real quick. It has happened too many times.

Dan
AME M1, CPL, and Flight Instructor and IFR at one time (both lapsed)
 
Pilots / owners are not trained in areas such as proper log book entries for maintainance
Well, they ought to be. There are a number of preventive maintenance tasks that the owner-pilot can do on a certificated aircraft that require such.
 
I'm just the opposite; working on stuff is a significant part of my enjoyment in owning it. And buying new tools? Everyday can be Christmas when you have a project that needs new tools.
Find a mechanic who will let you do your own supervised work. They are out there. Ac mechanics train for a year or two, then need significant apprenticeship before they are turned loose. Much more than getting a ppl.
 
Having recently built my own airplane (never again...), my thoughts are this is nothing like working on any other type of machinery. I've entirely rebuilt my jeep for offloading but that did not prepare me for building an aircraft. Every little nut, bolt, rivet, hose, wire, or assembly has one way, and only one way, to do it right. There is only one part or one tool to do it right.

Unlike every other thing you can build, there is very little information on the internet to learn these things (unless you are building and have access to a kit built website).

After finishing my plane I still get surprised by why certain small things are so critical. No matter how good a mechanic you may be, you simply cannot appreciate the critical importance of seemingly small details to the safety of flight.
 
As others have said ; suggest you find a Tech you can work with and

LOG YOUR TIME.

18 months for Airframe and same for Powerplant .

Or: 30 months for A & P .

IMHO there are a lot of folks involved with Mx that never LOGGED THE TIME

and complain about mechanics.

There are folks with less common aircraft that invested many hours in rebuilds

and know that airplane better than any A & P.

The smart ones LOGGED THE TIME and got the Certificate.

OP _ Your plan?
 
Tweak, change, adjust, modify to your heart's content. Certifications and signatures don't make a plane fly!

Get free advice and knowledge from those who actually trained and got the credentials, and pay with a thank you.

Good luck.
 
No matter how good a mechanic you may be, you simply cannot appreciate the critical importance of seemingly small details to the safety of flight.

I like that sentence. Thank you for surmising the importance of my training, experience and integrity in my profession. :)
 
Don't take it lightly. It's your soft pink body, and your passengers, that are being held far aloft and carried at considerable speed by that machine. You screw up and you can all get dead real quick. It has happened too many times.

Dan
AME M1, CPL, and Flight Instructor and IFR at one time (both lapsed)

Hence my concern in seeing with my own eyes every part that goes on properly inspected and tested, every gasket properly laid, every bolt properly torqued. Then checked, double checked, and checked again to my satisfaction, rather than not knowing if another person doing it is preoccupied with their work load, financial or family problems, or fighting a hangover.

As others have said ; suggest you find a Tech you can work with and

LOG YOUR TIME.

18 months for Airframe and same for Powerplant .

Or: 30 months for A & P .

IMHO there are a lot of folks involved with Mx that never LOGGED THE TIME

and complain about mechanics.

There are folks with less common aircraft that invested many hours in rebuilds

and know that airplane better than any A & P.

The smart ones LOGGED THE TIME and got the Certificate.

OP _ Your plan?

I had no idea logging mx time could lead to certification. I assumed attendance of an accredited school would be required. I'd be interested in pursuing that after retirement.

So how many rivets did you buck on your motorcycles? Lolo_O

As I posted above, I have no experience except with engines that could be applicable to aircraft. And I know it.
 
Hence my concern in seeing with my own eyes every part that goes on properly inspected and tested, every gasket properly laid, every bolt properly torqued. Then checked, double checked, and checked again to my satisfaction, rather than not knowing if another person doing it is preoccupied with their work load, financial or family problems, or fighting a hangover.



I had no idea logging mx time could lead to certification. I assumed attendance of an accredited school would be required. I'd be interested in pursuing that after retirement.



As I posted above, I have no experience except with engines that could be applicable to aircraft. And I know it.
The 18 months only makes you eligible to sit for the exam. You also have to be able to pass it.
 
If the FAA will let me decide whether or not to take off in bad weather, and leaves me to decide if flying into a thunder storm is a bad idea, why don't they trust me to decide whether or not I can work on my own plane? I learned a long time ago, dealing with motorcycle mechanics, no one is going to take as much care with my stuff as I do. The number of videos of planes having mechanical failures after maintenance indicates to me this carries over into aviation as well.

Good answers thus far. There are many FAA regs that don't make sense but they are what they are and if a one man crusade could change things it would have been done a long time ago.

You can do a lot of preventative maintenance, heck you can do whatever you want as long as an A&P or IA is willing to put their names in the log books for your work. I know of an engineer who did everything himself all the time from piston R&Rs, gear overhauls, etc. Not legal in the least bit but an IA would(still is) "pencil whip" the logs without even seeing the work. I saw the work, and I saw probably the most corroded engine I've ever seen when he has the jugs off. I warned him that that engine is a deathtrap but he was confident that his engineering acumen was sharper than my A&P experience so I just dropped it. And, that just one of the shocking unairworthy issues with that plane.

From my perspective as a claims adjuster now, where it could become an issue is if you have an incident, and it was due to a repair or maintenance item that you weren't legally authorized to do, the policy could be voided. Or an A&P signs off of something you did and you crash and injure or kill someone else, you and the mechanic will be sued. For most this is all hypothetical as "it will never happen to me" is something we all think, but it happens, i see it every day.

Best bet if you want to go this route is to do your thing and make sure an A&P looks at your work after before signing it off. Always get another pair of eyes on it. In aerospace manufacturing we had 2 independent signoffs which while tedious, really caught a lot of irregularities. It's good to be confident in your abilities but it never hurts to have another set of eyes on it.

Regarding the OJT for the A&P, since it's broad, you will have to know turbine, helicopter, sheet metal, fabric, etc. topics as well, which you may not get in a GA shop. I worked with a guy that went this route and it took him years, mainly because the IA we worked under was skeptical that he was ready. And he still had read through the general, powerplant and airframe textbooks. He was a natural wrench, motorcycle guy, but still had to dig into the theory a bit. Now he's flying heavy iron and making many times more than me.
 
Hence my concern in seeing with my own eyes every part that goes on properly inspected and tested, every gasket properly laid, every bolt properly torqued. Then checked, double checked, and checked again to my satisfaction, rather than not knowing if another person doing it is preoccupied with their work load, financial or family problems, or fighting a hangover.

Without aircraft and aviation engine maintenance experience and direction, how do you know that everything is exactly as it should be? Do you know where to find the information or specs to tell you how to perform a task? How do you determine what the appropriate repair is if the maintenance manual you are referencing is silent on the subject? Do you need any approval to make that repair? These are all simple things that an aircraft mechanic either learned in school or during their apprenticeship and are tested on before being turned loose.

Just because mechanical things and maintenance comes easy doesn’t immediately equip somebody to have the knowledge to make a proper repair on an aircraft. It has been my experience as an aircraft mechanic that the owners who think they already know about repairing things are the hardest to teach how to properly work on an aircraft because they won’t listen or look at how things were done before they got in there and started messing with things. I have little time for those guys. On the other hand, The folks who come looking for help with a strong desire to learn how to do it right are easy to work with.
 
I'm just the opposite; working on stuff is a significant part of my enjoyment in owning it. And buying new tools? Everyday can be Christmas when you have a project that needs new tools.
You definitely want to be looking at experimentals, then. Even if you didn't build it yourself, you can legally do any and all maintenance and repairs, even including major alterations. An A&P is only required for the annual condition inspection (and not even then if you're the builder).

Now, a lot of people here are saying an untrained owner should not be performing maintenance, and they're right... in most cases. Many if not most pilots shouldn't be allowed to touch a wrench. And most don't want to, fortunately. But with the right attitude, and understanding that aircraft are different and must be maintained to a higher standard than a car or bike, and getting professional help when you are unsure, you can have an aircraft that's much better maintained than the average Cessna or Piper that sees an A&P/IA once a year.

I'm on my third experimental (not including ultralights), and I've done almost all my own work. The A& P who does my condition inspection is happy with what he sees.
 
@squincher - I AM the Charlie Daniels of the torque wrench, and can rebuild certain makes and models of engines to make them do amazing things down the 1/4 or 1/8 mile and last for decades on the road. But I don’t know what I don’t know with these stupidly simple aircraft engines, and I begrudgingly admit it.

Look up a recent post about cylinder head sealing materials and catastrophic damage.

It sucks, but it’s true. So I relinquish my flying equipment to those who have been trained. I’ve learned a lot from some of the maintenance guys on POA (some who posted above...I bow to them, lol).

I watch and learn, and “supervise” the guys touching my plane though.

Have fun! Lots to learn. And remember you might not know what you need to know but how would you know unless you knew it?
 
From what I've seen online, the engine in any airplane I would buy is a dead simple proposition. I would certainly need a reference for inspection tolerances, torque values, and such, but there is no doubt in my mind I could do anything with an engine.

I'm one of those people who are pretty good at figuring mechanical and electrical things out. I rebuilt my 289 V8 when I was 18 years old... This was WAY before the internet and YouTube.

I did a bunch of maintenance, repair and upgrades on my Cessna 182RG under the supervision and guidance of my old A&P/IA. Then I built a plane.

Being able to do anything with an engine is not very useful. Being able to work on an engine and depend on that engine with your life and those you care about is much more useful.

I thought that I could work on an airplane. 10 years with an experienced IA looking at my work and answering my questions told me I did not. There's a lot that is NOT in maintenance manuals and YouTube.
 
Well that was a few weeks of training in school….in a two year full time program. You have mechanical ability….but, there is far more to being an A&P than turning a wrench.
As I posted above, I have no experience except with engines that could be applicable to aircraft. And I know it.
 
And there's more. One has to know the regulations or you're in trouble real quick. Airworthiness Directives must be tracked and kept up-to-date and performed properly. Service bulletins, maintenance manuals for the airframe, engine and prop. Keeping those databases updated. Then there's the POH or AFM, a legally-required document that also has to be kept updated. STCs. Checking the TCDS sometimes. Service Difficulty Reporting. One must be able to do all that, know what is and what is not legally necessary, what should be done with some of the stuff that isn't legally necessary. None of it it has anything to do with wrenching experience on any motorbike or car or boat.

Here's an example of the complexity of it all. Some of it applies only to larger or more complex aircraft, especially things like pressurization (there are a few pressurized light aircraft), AC power generation and distribution (400 Hz, not 60), and turbines, but it all gets covered in formal training programs. Canadians are expected to have logged 70% of the applicable tasks for the category of license applied for, and there are four categories here. There is a lot of overlap in those categories, so a quarter of the list is not acceptable. You need 70% of a big chunk of it, and those tasks must be done on your own, involving finding and using the data, selecting the tools and doing it right. No help.

https://www.aviationmaintenancejobs.aero/aircraft-ata-chapters-list

I tried copying and pasting the list, but it's too long. We're limited to 10,500 characters or something. Check it out.

Even at that, Canada has an Owner-Maintenance category of aircraft registration. It's limited to older, simple airplanes, and more than a few of the eligible airplanes have been transferred to it. Yet many of those owners get an AME to do much or all of the work, once they find that it's not nearly so simple. And maybe after they scare themselves once or twice.

There was a thread on POA regarding an accident a few months ago. The widow said that her husband "did a lot of his own maintenance." Red flag, that.
 
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I'm very knew to this so I don't understand some of the things in your post. Is there a circumstance where I could perform an annual inspection on, say, a 1975 C182 I owned, or replace a magneto?
Well, I guess the good news is that you are not gnu to it.
 
I fly an experimental with an auto conversion in it (Corvair). Even though it's roots are from the auto world there was a lot of "conversion" that went into making it an aircraft powerplant. The internals are different as well as the fuel and ignition systems. I've worked diligently to completely understand the simplicity and complexity of this converted engine. I built and maintain my experimental aircraft but sometimes it's good to have a professional A&P take a look at the work too. More eyes can be helpful and better trained eyes are even more helpful.
 
Also, are any records kept of mechanics or maintenance companies who worked on aircraft then had them fall out of the sky on the way home
Yes and yes. Have a Google search about lawsuits against maintenance personnel. The liability is crippling for mechanics in aviation. And people still wonder out loud why more kids don't want to be mechanics...
So how many rivets did you buck on your motorcycles? Lolo_O
That would actually be a really cool look on a proper bobber or chopper of some kind.

I must commend the participants in this thread for taking the time to educate the OP and each other. Maintenance is absolutely no cake walk and should be taken just as seriously as flying an ILS to 200-1/2. I was fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to earn my certificates through experience requirements. I took the opportunity to become a better pilot and wrenching & managing maintenance has been my income source for several years. Finally getting back to serious flying now and will be leaving maintenance for the flight deck. But I'll still make every effort to stay sharp on maintenance
 
I must commend the participants in this thread for taking the time to educate the OP and each other. Maintenance is absolutely no cake walk and should be taken just as seriously as flying an ILS to 200-1/2. I was fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to earn my certificates through experience requirements. I took the opportunity to become a better pilot and wrenching & managing maintenance has been my income source for several years. Finally getting back to serious flying now and will be leaving maintenance for the flight deck. But I'll still make every effort to stay sharp on maintenance

If one has the money, one can go from zero hours to Commercial-Multi IFR in six months, with hard work (and some decent weather and airplanes). A mechanic's ticket takes years. Four of them in Canada, 2-1/2 in the US, no matter how much money you throw at it.
 
If the FAA will let me decide whether or not to take off in bad weather, and leaves me to decide if flying into a thunder storm is a bad idea, why don't they trust me to decide whether or not I can work on my own plane?

You've gone through an FAA mandated training program to fly your airplane. You can go through an FAA approved A&P training program and work on your airplane.

Its exactly the same.
 
OP. I’d like to suggest that your first decision is not that you want the A & P.

More important is determining if you are adament that you would never want it.

If you’re that sure then no need to log time.

Remember it’s tough going back if you change your mind.

Otherwise some caveats:

Log any time that is remotely connected with with aircraft maintenance .

That includes washing, oil & tire changes, servicing struts and even tires.

Troubleshooting issues and AD and parts research is also “ good time”.

Even towing and run-up. Within reason.

Don’t let anyone tell you not to log some particular task as “ that doesn’t count”.

YOU can be your worst enemy. Log EVERYTHING and let FAA make the

determination.


A common misconception is that an A & P must state you meet some standard.

Not true. The A & P can verify that you did perform the tasks and the hours

but it ends there. You submit your log and any supporting material and

again FAA will make the call. Often “ he / she is not ready yet” is just a way to

get free ( billable though) labor.


“The supervising A & P must sign for hours to be valid” is not 100% true.

Paychecks, MIL records, photos and witness statements are other sources.

The real key is “ Satisfactory to the FAA Administrator”.

There are people that put many hours into restorations only to have the overseeing

Tech refuse to verify his hours. My belief is the 70+ IA was concerned with

competition. The applicant was a photographer who kept extensive records

and together with some A &P witnesses many hours of work was allowed.


If you work with a Tech then YOU make the log entries and have the Tech sign

them. Do this often. Do not put this off as there can be a falling out or an

unplanned departure.


As others have stated ; the path is difficult and requires extensive study.

Work experience alone will not get you very far.

Logging the time may be the hardest part for some.

There are programs and prep schools that are quite effective

in getting you through the testing phase.

One day you may decide you have a new career ahead of you!
 
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Excellent points right there magman. I would add that getting the ticket is just a starting point. I know a number of A&Ps who never earned a living with the certificate. Many of those guys are not any better of a mechanic now than they were before they got the A&P in the first place. I learned a lot in A&P school but it didn’t come close to the knowledge gained by exercising my privileges in a shop environment while working underneath the direction of a seasoned lead mechanic. Those few years were crucial in gaining the knowledge needed to progress as a professional mechanic in the direction of choice. I migrated quickly towards the airlines for a heavy jet line maintenance career. Without spending time in a shop environment as a Jr A&P there’s no way that I would have gained the knowledge to properly accomplish maintenance on my own airplanes, or provide services for the select customers that I have today.
I’ll never forget what the old IA who managed the busy FBO shop told me when hiring me straight out of A&P school. He said a new A&P always cost him more the first year than he makes the shop in return. I didn’t exactly believe him at the time but looking back he was probably correct. The same seems to be true the first year at the airlines.
 
You can under the supervision of an A&P/IA
No you cannot. Read the FAR. An mx may not supervise a 100hr
FAR 65.85:

In addition, he may perform the 100-hour inspection required by part 91 of this chapter on an airframe, or any related part or appliance, and approve and return it to service

IA cannot supervise an annual:
FAR 65.95

(2) Perform an annual, or perform or supervise a progressive inspection according to §§ 43.13 and 43.15 of this chapter.

Notice it never says supervise only perform
 
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