How does one obtain an FAA Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) license?
An A&P certification is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which allows a mechanic to legally work unsupervised on aircraft. Before taking the required FAA A&P test, you need to obtain some related experience to become eligible. This experience can be accomplished by one of three possible routes.
- You can obtain traditional training from an FAA approved, Part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician School. Usually, this training lasts 18 months to about 2 years. Then, after graduation, you take the FAA tests to become A & P certified.
- You can obtain military training. Depending on your military occupational specialty code, you can be eligible to test for either the airframe or powerplant certification, sometimes both. Visit your local FAA FSDO office to get cleared for the test. To see the complete Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) list, see the Airmen Certification FAA document.
- You can obtain work experience. This can be done by working under an FAA approved repair station or FBO under the supervision of a certified aircraft mechanic. This route requires 18 months per certificate or 30 months for both certificates. All of your work experience must be thoroughly documented with your pay stubs and log book entries (signed off by the supervising aircraft mechanic), and/or a notarized letter from your employer or other proof that you actually performed the required work . You then need to visit your local FAA FSDO office for an interview.
Traditionally, after graduating from an aircraft mechanic school, taking the FAA aircraft mechanic test series is the next step on your way to an A&P license. To improve understanding of its aircraft mechanic tests, the FAA has issued a useful test guide, entitled:
FAA-G-8082-3A, Aviation Maintenance Technician—General, Airframe, and Powerplant Knowledge Test Guide
which is available online at:
This test guide provides needed information, preparing you to take one or all of the three FAA aircraft mechanic knowledge tests.
The FAA has a sequence of three tests, identified as follows:
TEST NAME TEST CODE
Aviation Maintenance Technician—General AMG
Aviation Maintenance Technician—Airframe AMA
Aviation Maintenance Technician—Powerplant AMP
For any of these tests, the minimum passing score is 70 percent. If a passing score is not obtained, a particular test can be re-taken, with certain restrictions. Detailed test information is provided in the FAA-G-8082-3A document.
FAA guidance on A & P certification
To describe the FAA tests, the FAA provides a web page, with further information, at:
Further FAA aircraft mechanic test guides and standards can be seen at:
The FAA in addition provides “Sample Airmen Knowledge Test Questions” which can be found at:
Further, the FAA provides a useful computer testing supplement at:
You can get a good idea of the kind of test questions that might be asked by the FAA, by referring to this document. Many students also find utility in the Dauntless “Ground School” software, featured in an earlier post:
To prepare for the FAA tests, you can either rely entirely on the above mentioned FAA documents, or use other test study aids. Recently, Dauntless Aviation has released a version of “Ground School” FAA Test Preparation, for the Android smartphone, as well as the PC and Mac. You can see many of its features in the video below. This video gives an overview of Dauntless Aviation GroundSchool for Android application.
You can see the purchase and download details for this FAA test preparation software at http://www.dauntless-soft.com/PRODUCTS/GroundSchool/mechanic.asp
Software to aid your Preparation for A & P certification
According to Dauntless Aviation,
“Pass your FAA Knowledge (written) test the easy way with our GroundSchool series of apps for Android! Whether you’re studying for your Private Pilot license, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor, ATP Airline Transport Pilot, Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT/A&P) or any other FAA certificate or rating, GroundSchool is the best way to study actual FAA questions complete with detailed explanations…In addition to our Android offerings, GroundSchool is also available in versions for PC, iPhone/ iPad, and several other platforms.”
As of this writing, a 3-Pack Aviation Mechanic A&P Bundle is $89.99. Dauntless allows a free download trial of its software. If you believe it has value for you, you can then purchase an individual test module for around $35-$40, or the 3-Pack Bundle to unlock the full functionality of this software.
To take any of these FAA tests, graduation from an FAA-certified aviation maintenance technician school (AMTS) is generally required. Depending upon the testing facility affiliation, a graduation certificate, certificate of completion, or an FAA Form 8610-2, Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (properly endorsed), is required, along with proper identification, to take the test. By following the FAA guidelines, you can be confident of obtaining your A & P certification.
by Steve Adams