U.S. Department
of Transportation

Federal Aviation

St. Louis
Flight Standards District Office

10801 Pear Tree Lane
Suite 200
St. Ann, Missouri 63074


December 2002 




Thought for the month....
Never learn to do anything: if you don't learn,
you'll always find someone else to do it for you.
(Mark Twain)

To be or not to be...
Or more correctly stated, "Can I be?" In reference to becoming a certified mechanic. I am often asked this question at safety meetings where one of the recurring themes of my safety subjects is owner/pilot performed preventive maintenance. This is what really excites the desire to become an aviation maintenance technician. The question is usually asked by someone who owns their own airplane and has been involved with its upkeep in one fashion or another.

My answer, like all good government answers is "It depends." If the information hasn't already been offered, I will ask what kind of experience that person has. After getting a general idea of their work experience, I begin to explain what the regulations say about eligibility. Part 65 of the Federal Aviation Regulations is the certifying rule for several kinds of airmen certificates and sets forth the conditions of certification for air traffic controllers, aircraft dispatchers, mechanics, repairmen, and parachute riggers.

Subparts A and D are the subparts that a person who is thinking about becoming a mechanic needs to know. Subpart A will discuss the administrative requirements for obtaining and maintaining a certificate issued under this Part. Subpart D gets into the specifics of a mechanic certificate. In this Subpart the first thing a person will read are the eligibility requirements to become a mechanic. Age (18 years) and comprehension (read, write, speak, and understand the English language) are the first two. The other requirements for certification are experience, knowledge, and skill. There are two ratings (disciplines) that go with the certificate, airframe and powerplant.

The applicant must satisfy an FAA Inspector that the required 3840 hours (24 months) or 4800 hours (30 months) of work were met. I generally tell those people who ask, to document the type of work performed and how long it took them to do the task. Next, they should have that document notarized. It should be kept in mind that this information will be used to support the claim on the application that the requirements of Part 65 have been met. It may be a legal document. Any knowingly false information is subject to prosecution.

Knowledge is determined by knowledge tests which are given at computerized testing facilities. There are three tests to take. A minimum of two of them need to be passed to permit the applicant to move on to the next phase. Test #1 is the General knowledge test. It will cover things such as Part 43 regulations, and other general knowledge requirements. The other two tests are based on airframe and powerplant theory and systems. A person can test for either or both ratings. The General knowledge test must be taken once. It isn't required for the additional rating if these ratings are not received concurrently.

After passing the knowledge test(s) a skills test is required. These tests are referred to as the oral and practical tests. Like the test for a pilot certificate, the mechanic applicant will meet with a designated examiner and undergo the oral and practical tests. Once you have passed these tests all that is left is certification.

If any portion of the written, oral or practical tests is failed retesting will only be required on that portion of the test(s) that was failed. Before you arrive at the FSDO I suggest you call to make an appointment with an Airworthiness Inspector. He or she will let you know what documents they will need to see to make a determination of your eligibility. Look into Part 65 to decide if you can meet the requirements to be or not to be… a certified mechanic.

Upcoming Events

December 12th
Cape Girardeau Pilots Club Building
Cape Girardeau Airport
7 - 9 PM
Avoiding Aircraft Upsets and Plane Sense.

January 25th
Super Safety Seminar
Anheuser-Busch Auditorium
St. Louis University
8AM to 1PM

Steven Long
Airworthiness Safety Program Manager
1-800-322-8876 extension 4835