Mechanic Certificate Information




Mechanic Certificate Information

The following has been compiled to assist mechanic applications in determining their eligibility, and to provide general information concerning certification of airframe and power plant mechanics. 

Aviation Mechanic Certificates and Ratings issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The FAA issues a single mechanic certificate with an Airframe (A) rating, a Powerplant (P) rating, or both A&P ratings, to qualified applicants. or


Prior to taking the FAA written examination, each applicant for a mechanic certificate or rating must present either an appropriate graduation certificate from an FAA certificated mechanic school or documentary evidence, satisfactory to the administrator, of the following:

(a)  A minimum of 18 months practical experience with procedures, practices, materials, tools, machine tools, and equipment generally used in constructing, maintaining, or altering Airframe or Powerplants appropriate to the acting sought or;

(b)  At least 30 months of practical experience concurrently performing the duties appropriate to both Airframe and  Powerplant ratings.

NOTE:   When applicants who use military experience to qualify under Section 65.77 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) need additional documentation, they should be advised that their records may be acquired from their military unit if still on active duty.  If they are separated from the military, their records are available from:

  The National Personnel Records Center, National Archives
    9700 Page Boulevard
    St. Louis, Missouri  63132

All requests from military units or the records center should include requests for the individual’s periodic performance evaluations.  These are excellent records since they include not only very specific information as to the duties performed but the dates during which they were performed.


To be eligible for a mechanic certificate and associated ratings, a person must be at least 18 years of age; be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language (with certain exceptions permitted); be able to meet the Experience, Knowledge, and Skill Requirements for at least one rating and pass all the prescribed tests within a 24-month period.


An applicant for a mechanic certificate or rating must pass a written test covering the construction and maintenance of aircraft appropriate to the rating sought.  The applicant must pass all sections of the written test before applying for the oral and practical tests (with certain exceptions permitted for certificated mechanic school students).  Written tests are normally administered by computer testing designees at computer test centers (see attached updated list of test sites).


After successfully passing the General, Airframe, and Powerplant written examinations, each applicant for a mechanic certificate or rating must pass an oral and a practical test for that rating.  These tests cover the applicant’s basic skill in performing practical projects on the subjects covered by the written test for that rating.  An applicant for a Powerplant rating must show his/her ability to make satisfactory minor repairs to, and minor alterations of propellers.

These examinations will be given by a Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) at a place with the materials and facilities necessary to satisfactorily cover the scope and detail of the tests.  A DME is authorized to charge a mutually agreed upon fee for the service.

Attached is a list of Suggested Study and Reference Materials and a list of DMEs and computerized (written) test sites.


For applicants applying under the basis of practical experience, the FAA has determined the following guidance to be used in evaluating the application:

a.  For applicants who are not graduates of an FAA-approved school and are applying on the basis of practical experience each applicant must document is 50% of the subject areas of the test for which the application is made (ref. FAA Order 8300.10, Chapter 22),

b.  The 18-and 30-month practical experience requirements are based on full time employment      (e.g. a 40-hour work week).  Part-time work experience may be credited based on a minimum of 160 hours per month.  It is recommended that your part-time work experience be documented in a log to include each specific number(s) of the individual(s) who supervised that work.

c.  The documented evidence of experience presented by the applicant must be verifiable by a person(s) who supervised that work experience (e.g. Director of Maintenance, Director of Quality Assurance, or Maintenance Officer).  The person(s) name, certificate number, title and telephone number should be included in the applicant’s documentation.

d.  Additional documents such as performance appraisals, on-the-job (OJT) records, work logs, and/or letters of  recommendation, etc., should be submitted as supporting documentation.

e.  Military applicants must present documentation in addition to the DD Form 214.
     The DD Form 214 alone is not adequate proof of experience.

f.  Military Applicants:

Applicants applying on the basis of military experience must meet the same requirements as other applicants.  The following items are useful in establishing the experience requirement.  They include, but are not restricted to:

1.  The DD 214 will establish the specialty the applicant was assigned to.  If the individual is still in the military  they can bring personnel action papers that identify the current assignment and all past assignments.

2.  A letter from the applicant’s executive officer, maintenance officer, or classification officer which certifies the length of military service, the amount of time the applicant worked in each specialty, and the make model aircraft and/or engine on which the applicant acquired the practical experience.

3.  Training records that have the original dates training was accomplished are useful to show progression within  the field over a period of time.

4.  Performance appraisals that specify job functions undertaken during the rating period are also useful.

  Foreign Applicants:

1.  Foreign applicants who apply within the office are not required to document a "need" for the certificate.

2.  The applicant must still meet the other requirements of FAR 65.71 and FAR 65.77.

3.  The applicant must have:

a.  A detailed statement obtained from the foreign airworthiness authority of the country in which the experience was gained, or from an advisor of the International Civil Aviation Organization the validates the applicant’s experience.


b.  A signed original statement from his aviation employer substantiating the specific types of maintenance  performed and the duration of each.

     NOTE:   With both of the above, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) license with an aircraft type rating is acceptable as proof of experience.  Lacking the above, the applicant must meet the requirements exactly as any other applicant would have to.

h.  Canadian Applicants:

Per Policy Memorandum #138, Canadian applicants must present proof of experience.  With the exceptions noted below, Canada requires 48 months practical experience to issue an AME (Aircraft Maintenance Engineer) License.  If an applicant has a current valid Canadian AME License with ratings of M2 through M15 (excluding M1, M10 and M11) he probably meets the 30 months experience.  M1 rating is strictly for  Balloons and requires only 6 months experience.  M10 and M11 ratings are reserved for future use.  If he has an S31 through S34 he has experience in specific areas of Structures only and may meet the Airframe requirements.  A rating of P41, P42 and P43 may qualify for Powerplant.  Both P and S ratings require 36 months maintenance experience and 24 months specific aircraft experience.  An E21 through E23 rating is for Avionics only.  A more detailed explanation of these ratings may be found in Canadian Notice 04/89R2.

A Canadian Applicant should be advised to present the same documents at the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) that he used to obtain his AME license.

The last page of the handout lists the required subject areas of experience required.  You may use this handout as a checklist of your experience.  It is to your benefit to note adjacent to each subject area the document, form, page number, etc. of how the experience is verified.

When satisfactory documentation, as defined by the above guidelines is met, it should be presented at an FAA Flight Standards District Office.  Your documentation will be reviewed for adequacy of required experience, completeness, authenticity, and verifiability.  Prior to obtaining written test authorizations, applicants will be required to properly complete two (2) copies of the application, FAA Form 8610-2.



Part 1 - Definitions and Abbreviations
Part 39 - Airworthiness Directives
Part 43 - Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding and Alterations
Part 65 - Certification:  Airmen Other Than Flight Crewmembers
Part 91 - General Operating and Flight Rules


AC 43.13-1B:  Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices - Aircraft Inspection and Repair
AC 43.13-2A:  Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices - Aircraft Alterations
AC 43-3:  Non-destructive Testing in Aircraft
AC 65-2D: Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic - Certification Guide
AC 65-9D: Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics - General Handbook
AC 65-12D: Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics - Powerplant Handbook
AC 65-15A: Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics - Airframe Handbook


FAA-T-8080-10:  Aviation Mechanic - General Question Book
FAA-T-8080-11:   Aviation Mechanic - Powerplant Question Book
FAA-T-8080-12:  Aviation Mechanic - Airframe Question Book


The reference materials listed may be found through local Aviation Book Stores,
Aircraft Publications/Magazines and the following location:

GPO (Superintendent of Documents) Bookstores:

Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office
710 North Capitol St.
Washington, DC 20402


Local Testing Facilities may be located by contacting any of the three companies listed below.

Within the U.S.           1-800-947-4228
 Outside the U.S.        (650) 259-8550

Within the U.S.           1-800-211-2754
 Outside the U.S.        (360)896-9111

Within the U.S.           1-800-359-3278 or 1-800-274-1900
 Outside the U.S.        (612) 820-5702 or (410) 843-4800 x8890

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