How to Find a Good Aircraft Maintenance Shop

Trever
Trever

Trever Rossini is the owner of Inflight Pilot Training and Citadel Aircraft Maintenance at Flying Cloud Airport (FCM) in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

In the world of aviation, there’s almost nothing as important as a reputable, trustworthy aircraft maintenance shop. Not only will they help you keep up with required maintenance and inspection checks, they’ll keep you – and your passengers – safe, each and every flight.

If you’re searching for a mechanic who will treat you as a partner, rather than just another contract, here are some ways you can find a good aircraft maintenance shop.

The Importance of a Trustworthy Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT)

An AMT is the person who is certified to conduct aircraft maintenance on your airplane, and their importance cannot be understated. These mechanics inspect, perform or supervise various maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) duties. Since airplanes need constant maintenance, you’ll get to know these individuals pretty well – so it’s important that you feel comfortable with the AMT you choose.

 

AMTs hold special certifications, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Developing a strong relationship with your mechanic can be crucial to ensuring your plane never stays grounded.

Know What The Main Mechanic Certifications Are

There are many aviation certifications out there that an aviation mechanic will need to obtain in order to operate. First, a person who meets the necessary requirements is issued a mechanic certificate with either an airframe or powerplant rating, or both. This common FAA certification is what’s known as an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A&P). To receive an A&P certification, the mechanic must have the following qualifications:

 

  1. You must be:
    • At least 18 years old
    • Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
  2. You must get:
    • 18 months of practical experience with either power plants or airframes
    • OR 30 months of practical experience working on both at the same time
    • As an alternative to required experience, you can graduate from an FAA-Approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School.
  3. You must pass three tests to receive an A&P certification:
    • Written examination
    • Oral test
    • Practical test

 

A&P-certified mechanics that have at least three years of experience can be eligible for Inspection Authorization (IA) with further action through the FAA. This authorizes the performance and approval of various aircraft inspections, as well as major repairs and overhauls.

Know What Other Aircraft Mechanic Credentials to Look For

There are many professional groups, organizations and associations that cater to the aviation mechanic. When you find a shop or AMT that has professional credentials, it shows that they stay consistent with the latest maintenance industry service methods, tools, recommendations and more.

 

When searching for the best aircraft maintenance shop for your needs, check the professional affiliations of the mechanics. For example, the SAE Institute offers additional certification programs that further solidifies an AMT’s knowledge and skill when it comes to aircraft inspections, maintenance and repair. Additionally, the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) is an organization that promotes ethical and professional practices in the field of aviation maintenance. Graduating from this program gives the mechanic an Aviation Maintenance Engineer (AME) certification.

Always Analyze the Shop and the Team of Mechanics  

Whenever you’re on the hunt for a new aircraft maintenance shop, always take a trip to visit the hangar and chat with the team of mechanics. A big indicator that will let you know they operate a professional business include clean facilities, where everything in the shop looks put together, orderly and up to code. Additionally, check out the other types of planes they’re servicing. If you need maintenance on your single-prop airplane and there seems to be a lot of corporate jets at the hangar, you may need to search elsewhere.

 

In addition, take time to speak with the mechanics around the shop. Developing a relationship with your mechanic will increase the chance that they’ll take extra care of your plane, while also providing you with potential money-saving opportunities when available.

 

After you find what you believe to be a quality mechanic, take the relationship for a test run. Bring your airplane to that particular shop for a simple oil or filter change before you dedicate your airplane to that mechanic.

Before Choosing a Shop, Get References from Other Pilots

This is a fairly obvious tip, but we thought we’d share anyways, because advice from fellow pilots can be invaluable. Aircraft owners in your network are likely to have experience with maintenance shops and can recommend one that they currently use or have used in the past. Additionally, you could ask around at your local flying club.

 

Know the Other Types of Mechanics You May Need to Hire as an Aircraft Owner

Beyond an A&P mechanic, there are a few other types of shops you may deal with throughout your tenure as an aircraft owner. The list below details some of the more common types of airplane technicians.

Avionics Technicians

These aircraft maintenance professionals inspect, test, repair and replace electronic systems within your airplane to ensure they’re operational. These tools are crucial for maintaining altitude, weather, radio and autopilot systems.

Airframe Mechanics

One half of the A&P is Airframe, which can be obtained without the power plant half. These mechanics are trained to understand and work on all aircraft parts except engines, propellers and avionic instruments. They work on the fuselage, the supporting frame and skin and the doors, windows and wings.

Military Certifications

Since military plays such a large role in the aviation industry as a whole, there is a certification option for those who are in the military. You can obtain this even if do not serve in the military – you’ll have to take at least a year or two of schooling at an Aviation Maintenance Technician vocational training school to receive certification. Advanced degrees that require three and four years to complete certification are available, as well as masters and doctoral options.

In Conclusion

Each pilot should do what’s in their best interest and find a good aircraft maintenance shop. This can help cut back on upkeep costs, save you time and always ensure you take-off as planned. Always take time to understand AMT certifications, professional credentials, shop condition and the various types of mechanics you’ll ultimately end up working with, and you’ll always be ready to take flight.  

Contact Citadel Aircraft Maintenance Shop for Better Airplane Servicing

When you have maintenance, inspection, repair or overhaul needs, reach out to the team of experts at Citadel Aircraft Maintenance immediately. We’re ready to help you with any issues your airplane may be facing. Whether you’re in need of a 500-hour inspection, simple engine updates or a major overhaul, we have the ability to meet your unique aircraft maintenance needs.

 

The experience we offer gives pilots confidence in their aircraft and sets future expectations for a higher level of service. At Citadel Aircraft Maintenance, we will always treat our clients’ planes like our own.

 

Get in touch with our shop for a no-hassle quote on your airplane maintenance project.

 

Contact us!

 

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