Engineers & Technicians Aeronautical engineering and aircraft MX

Airline Pilots with their A&P

Old 01-31-2021, 01:24 PM
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Joined APC: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,958

Originally Posted by flyboycpa
I fly for United and just got my A&P a year ago. It's doable. The biggest hurdle is getting the approval on the Form 8610-2 that documents your experience. You must have that 8610-2 in order to take the three written tests (General, Airframe, and Powerplant). Once you have someone from the FSDO agree with all your experience, as documented on the 8610-2, and they sign it, it is good forever. Just don't lose it. My Inspector told me he kept a file for them and that if I did lose it, he could generate a new copy for me....but still....just don't lose it.

Once you pass your first exam, you have 24 calendar months in which to get all three complete and complete your Oral & Practical.

I highly recommend using Baker's School of Aeronautics (just outside of Nashville, in Lebanon) for the Oral & Practical preparation. They are great at it. They have two options, the one week course and the two week course. The two week course covers written exam prep and testing in the first week, then Oral & Practical prep in the second week, with the O&P scheduled with one of the local DMEs at the end of that week. If you go with the one week course, you must show up with all three of your written exams already completed so you can roll right into the second half of the course.

I've actually been really busy during the covid times with 100-hr inspections, resurrecting two airplanes that hadn't flown in years (a Swift and a Navion), installed shoulder harnesses in my best friend's C-170, among other things. It's great to have your A&P if you own an airplane or just love to tinker.

Sam Swift
I’ve always wanted to do this, but the family situation isn’t ready for it just yet. Once the kids are older I should be able to get in the hours under an A&P to satisfy the 8610. If you own, or ever plan to own a plane this is the absolute best way to go.
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Old 02-03-2021, 01:50 PM
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I have my A&P from my military experience and the local base college. I never used it to make a living but did use it on my own aircraft a fair amount, saved me several thousands of dollars (top overhaul on a twin). I only did a couple projects for others around the airport, actually had to stop hanging out there because people always wanted me to do A&P work. I was flying full time and I had a hard time saying no. Nowadays experimental is the way to go IMO unless your very wealthy.
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Old 02-08-2022, 06:37 PM
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Joined APC: Jun 2018
Posts: 26

Originally Posted by 4020Driver
I’m not an airline pilot, but I can help with questions concerning the process of getting an A&P. Part 65 covers certification of airmen other than pilots. In Part 65, it states that an individual must have 30 months of full-time experience to qualify for the A&P. FSDOs generally assume a 40 hour work week when taking about 30 months of full time experience, which is about 5000 hours of hands on experience.

In the past, all that was needed was a letter from another A&P saying that you worked under him or her for the 30 months required by Part 65. Unfortunately, there were quite a few instances of that 30 months being “pencil whipped” for someone to qualify. Now FSDOs Have cracked down on this and want to see considerable documentation. A couple of examples are signed off work orders in a repair station environment or a logbook documenting the 30 months of full time work, which as I said before equates to about 5000 hours of hands on time. When I was Chief Inspector at a repair station, our FSDO wanted to see employment history and work orders that were signed by the applicant covering every system on the aircraft.

After gaining the above experience, you then go to the FSDO with your letter stating that you worked for 30 months under an A&P and the supporting documentation. The FSDO interviews you and, if successful, approves you to take the three written tests and then three oral and three practical tests (the orals and practicals generally are all completed at the same time). The orals and practicals are administered by a Designated Mechanic Examiner. You’ll have $1500-$3000 invested in the written, orals and practicals.

The other option is going to a part 147 school, which are generally full time 18 month to 2 year programs. The school signs you off and you then take the written s, orals and practicals.

A person can also opt to get a light sport repairmen certificate and use the experience (again, 30months full-time) working on light sport aircraft to get the A & P. Generally FSDOs do not count the building of an experimental aircraft toward the experience requirement for the A&P.

If you were in the military, and were involved with aviation maintenance, the FAA website has a listing of all of the MOSs that would qualify you for the airframe, power plant, or both.

I will say that there is a lot of variability in the various FSDOs on what they want to see before they let you sit for the A and P, it’d be a good idea to have a conversation with them to see what they like to make the process a bit smoother.

Another thing to keep in mind are the possible liability implications. Generally every mechanic that returned an aircraft to service is sued if the unthinkable happens. If the aircraft is sold or even if you lend it out a friend, the door is open. As a possible legacy pilot you’d be a prime target, because, well, you’ll have some net worth. If you feel that you’d like to midigate some of that risk, there is liability insurance available specifically for aviation maintenance , generally the limits are low and the cost is high, probably too high for someone conducting maintenance as only a hobby.

Hopefully this helps make the process a bit more visible to you and give you an idea of the time commitment involved. If you have any questions, please let me know!
$1 Mil liability insurance can be had for about 4k a year as an independent A&P.
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Old 02-09-2022, 11:48 AM
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I earned my A&P based on experience, and sought out an examiner at a college to take the practical. To qualify to take the written(s), I had to present evidence of work experience. To get that, I put together a document that cited the work at each employer, including the aircraft registrations, types of work, specific jobs, etc. I got documentation from each employer, bound it with a table of contents, and presented it to the FAA. The FAA requires that the 30 months of experience were full time, defined as 40 hours a week. I documented 5 years experience at the time.

Those who obtain a letter or letters certifying their experience, who have not put in full time experience, do so fraudulently.

Over the years, maintenance certification has opened a lot of doors and has kept me employed. I have worked concurrently with flying full time, doing maintenance, often full time, sometimes seasonally, sometimes at the same place I have flown, sometimes in addition to. I've been a director of maintenance twice, worked in repair stations, corporate flight departments, Part 91 and 137 operations, done private maintenance, 135 maintenance, been a field and station inspector, and a host of other things associated with maintenance.

While there are those here who claim certification is meaningless and easy to come buy, I reiterate that for those who have gone that route, they have done so as frauds, and have falsified their experience. Unequivocally, I EARNED my certification. That certification as a mechanic is the proverbial license to learn, and all that came after, I earned, too. None of it was given, none of it came easily.

For those ATP's looking for certification, the experience under supervision of a mechanic must be full time, or equivalent to full time. If you choose to go to a school, it it typically also full time. You may think of obtaining your mechanic certification somewhat like obtaining your private pilot certificate. It's a starting point. Doing work on any given aircraft requires current maintenance documents (expensive), the correct tools (which should be kept in calibration...expensive), and all work must be done in accordance with all relevant documentation (aircraft and engine manufacturer data, industry practices, component or appliance data, airworthiness directives, and so on. Maintenance is considerably more comprehensive and diverse than flying aircraft, and the liability/duty much more pervasive. You go fly, you buy that aircraft for the time you fly it, and you're responsible for what you do with it. When you work on an aircraft, you buy the past: everything that's been done to it, and depending on the quality if your work, you buy the future until someone else replicates your work and buys the liability from you.

Tools are expensive. Buy good ones. Buy once, keep buying. At present, I have six roll-away boxes full of tools. I'm still buying tools. Even if you just buy one tool at a time, then keep buying tools. Many years ago I bought a set of Mac offset open end wrenches that cost about 750 at the time, and did it once wrench at a time, paid it off, and bought the next. I still use that set to day. A lot. Buy decent tools, and keep buying them. They're an investment.

I got my first jet job, thanks to my certification as a mechanic. When laid off as a widebody pilot flying internationally, I found work turning wrenches almost right away. Few others at my company found work. I was fortunate. That led to 135 flying, check airman work, and overseas work. Seasonally, when doing fires in the summer, mx in the winter. I got into heavy tankers because I was a mechanic, worked year round flying fires, and turning wrenches. Same with ag work, and so on. When flying fractional, I often ended up doing maintenance on the aircraft, or assisting with work when I passed through the company base or a maintenance base. And so on, and so on. Having the certification (and the ability to use it) is not without value.

Therein lies the point: you can get certification if you're willing to earn it. The ability to use it is another matter, and you'll need to give your maintenance at least as much dedication and effort as you put into your flying career. it's not simply something you can add on easily or cheaply and forget. It's not like throwing an add-on rating onto your pilot certification. Whether you ever use it or not, you're looking at taking on a full career certification, even if you just want the plastic to carry in your wallet. Take it seriously.
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