When forming a flying club, there are a few members that you will want from the outset, each bringing a particular knowledge base and skill set. Among those key members are a Certified Flight Instructor, an A&P or someone with a mechanical background, and either an aircraft owner or someone who has owned an airplane. Here are the advantages of having an A&P as a founding member.
Just as pilots can hold different certificates and ratings, aviation mechanics are certificated in different fashions. Aviation mechanics are commonly referred to as A&Ps, indicating that they carry both an Airframe certificate and a Powerplant certificate. But a mechanic may also hold only one of the two certificates, giving him the authority to work on either the airframe or the engine. Having both Airframe and Powerplant certificates allows a mechanic to perform most regular maintenance, including a 100-hour inspection.
A seasoned mechanic with demonstrated experience can also obtain an inspection authorization (IA) from the FAA. The IA designation must be renewed every two years. For this reason, generally only active mechanics maintain an IA. An IA allows a mechanic to perform an aircraft’s annual inspection.
Having a mechanic, no matter what his certification, as a founding club member is extremely valuable. Even a mechanic with only an Airframe or a Powerplant certificate has spent more time turning wrenches and troubleshooting aircraft than the average pilot, which makes him a wealth of first hand knowledge.
A mechanic can help guide decision making when it’s time to choose an aircraft for the club, perform a pre-buy inspection, and manage the aircraft’s upkeep. He or she can also educate club members on the proper treatment of the aircraft and its nuances.
For a club to bring all maintenance in house, it would have to have an A&P with an IA as a club member or employee. If your club operates an amateur built experimental aircraft, it requires a yearly condition inspection in place of an annual inspection. The condition inspection can be performed by an A&P.