To qualify for the license, mechanics need 18 months of experience with airframes or power plants or 30 months of experience working on both at the same time. You need a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED) to enter most schools. Schooling lasts 12 months and 24 months, usually less than required by the FAA for on-the-job training. When you graduate, you will be qualified to take the FAA exams.
Graduates often earn higher starting salaries than people who gained the required experience in one of two other ways. If you do not have previous professional experience, you may also be eligible by graduating from an Aviation Maintenance Technician school approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Following the A%26P licensing path, it will take a total of 1900 hours of training. This training includes 750 hours each for the subjects of fuselage and powerplant and 400 hours for the subjects of general aircraft mechanics.
This program can take between 18 and 24 months to complete. The courses you complete during this program prepare you for the knowledge tests required to obtain the license. To qualify for the licensing process, mechanics must be at least 18 years of age and 18 months of experience working in power plants or aircraft structures, or 30 months of experience working in both. An FAA airframe and powerplant certification is valid until it is delivered, suspended or revoked, so you could have it for life.
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) issues an aviation mechanic certificate with a fuselage rating (A), or a powerplant rating (P), or both (A%26P) to qualified applicants. Power plant tests will include questions and projects on propellers that must be successfully completed regardless of the applicant's experience. If you have a fuselage certificate, you don't need any other certificates, but you must be properly trained and qualified and have the right tools and equipment. The JSAMTCC a%26p certification program allows military applicants to obtain authorization to take the airframe and powerplant knowledge test (A%26P) upon submission of a certificate of military eligibility (see Figure 5-13) and a job performance certification form (see figure 5-13).
The general part consists of 60 questions, while the fuselage and powerplant parts have 100 questions each. This certification represents two components, airframe and powerplant, and individuals can obtain these licenses separately or together. In the practical part, you demonstrate your ability to perform fuselage and powerplant tasks related to maintenance and repairs. For example, aviation maintenance technicians with a fuselage license would work in areas such as wings, fuselage and tail without supervision.
With these limitations, it is typical for mechanics with an FAA airframe and powerplant certificate to have, on average, more job opportunities than their unlicensed counterparts. The powerplant of an aircraft represents the various components and systems that produce energy and operate the aircraft. For example, aviation maintenance technicians with a powerplant license would work in areas such as the engine, pistons and fans without supervision. With the exception of the JSAMTCC A%26P certification program, experience gained in the military, work as a fuselage or power plant mechanic, or work on an experimental amateur built aircraft will be evaluated on its own merits to determine whether it meets the experience requirements.