Chapter 13. The Mechanic Certificate
65.77 Experience Requirements
Each mechanic applicant must have a certificate of completion from an FAA certified technician school (14 CFR part 147) or provide documented evidence of a minimum of 18 months practical experience related to either airframe or powerplant maintenance (30 months required if applying for certification for both airframe and powerplant).
65.79 Skill Requirements
Oral and practical tests to determine the applicant’s basic knowledge and skills necessary for the certificate or rating sought are required to be completed after the applicant has successfully completed the written test. Minor repairs and minor alterations to propellers are required to be demonstrated as part of the powerplant rating.
65.80 Certificated Aviation Maintenance Technician School Students
Whenever satisfactory evidence is shown to the FAA that a student enrolled in an aviation maintenance training school certificated under part 147 is making satisfactory progress, that student may take the oral and practical tests required by paragraph 79, prior to completing the school (as required by paragraph 77) and prior to taking the written test required by paragraph 75.
65.81 General Privileges and Limitations
Once a technician becomes a certificated mechanic, he or she may perform or supervise the maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations of an aircraft or appliance (or part thereof) for which he or she is rated. However, he or she is not permitted to perform major repair or major alterations to propellers nor accomplish any repair to or alteration of instruments. These activities are reserved for certificated repairmen at an authorized repair station. Also, he or she may not supervise the maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alteration of any aircraft or appliance (or part thereof) for which he or she is rated, unless he or she has satisfactorily performed this work at an earlier date. This is where the benefit of keeping an on the job training (OJT) log cannot be overemphasized. Whether the technician attends a part 147 maintenance training school or receives the required number of months as practical experience, he or she has only scratched the surface of the tremendously complex world of aviation maintenance. The technician must either work with someone (like a shop mentor) or must perform the task satisfactorily for the FAA. The certified mechanic must have and be able to comprehend the maintenance manuals and/or instructions for continued airworthiness for the task he or she is accomplishing.
65.83 Recent Experience Requirements
In addition to having the proper documentation, the mechanic is required by this regulation to have recent and relevant work experience. Although, as it was stated earlier in this chapter, the A & P certificate is valid until it is surrendered, suspended, or revoked, it may not be exercised if the holder has not been actively working as a mechanic at least 6 of the preceding 24 months. This activity can be any one of the following, or any combination of them:
65.85 Airframe Rating: Additional Privileges
A mechanic who holds an airframe rating may approve and return to service an airframe, an appliance, or any related part after he or she has performed, supervised, or inspected minor repairs or alterations. He or she may also perform the maintenance actions required for a major repair or alteration, and should initiate the appropriate form (FAA Form 337, Major Repair and Alteration) associated with that work. However, the return to service action must be accomplished by a certificated A & P technician holding an Inspection Authorization (IA). (Refer to 14 CFR §65.95.) The airframe mechanic is also authorized to perform the 100-hour inspection (if required per 14 CFR part 91 §91.409) on the airframe.
The FAA recently added a new category of aircraft called Light Sport. (Refer to 14 CFR part 21, §21.190.) A certificated Airframe technician can approve and return to service the airframe after performing and inspecting a major repair or major alteration. The work must have been done on products that are not produced under FAA approval (i.e., are not type certificated) and must have been performed in accordance with instructions developed by the manufacturer or person acceptable to the FAA.
65.87 Powerplant Rating: Additional Privileges
Similarly, a mechanic holding a powerplant rating has the same limitations imposed regarding the powerplant and propeller as the airframe technician has on the airframe rating. He or she may perform and return to service minor repairs or alterations. He or she may also accomplish the work activities required for a major repair or alteration, but the work must be signed off for return to service by an IA. The privilege of performing a 100-hour inspection (if required by part 91) on a powerplant or propeller is also authorized.
A certificated Powerplant technician can approve and return to service a Light Sport powerplant or propeller after performing and inspecting a major repair or major alteration. The work must have been done on products that are not produced under FAA approval (i.e., are not type certificated) and must have been performed in accordance with instructions developed by the manufacturer or person acceptable to the FAA.
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