Inspection Authorization

While I was at my last job, I found not one but an uncommon four IAs in the hangar.  (As the title of this post implies, “IA” stands for “Inspection Authorization.”  It is the highest rating you can achieve in the aviation maintenance arena, and enables you privileges to inspect and sign for the airworthiness of work that you are not authorized to as a regular Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Technician.)  The company had sent three of these guys to school, and one guy had already been hired on with his own.  I asked them all individually how they did it (how they enjoyed the school, or if it might be worth it to buy a computer course different from the two-inch-thick book they have to study from), and the resounding answer from the one guy I seemed to have the most in common with was simply to study the book and take the test on my own.  I’m a self-starter, so I went out and bought the book from one of the authorities in aviation test prep, ASA.  At three DVD cases thick, it’s a hefty mother!

So.  Why the quest for an Inspection Authorization?  Well, every A&P Technician has his own reasons.  Some like the prestige, some will use it to start or augment their own business, and some companies will pay more if you have it.  Mostly, I just like to learn.  I am ready to earn the driest, most responsibility- (and liability-) laden rating that aircraft maintenance has to offer because I simply want to learn as much as possible, and become as professional as I can be.

While I’m a big believer of the adage, “You are the company you keep,” I have also come to believe that it’s important to be worthy of the kind of company I would want to keep me.

Do you see in the photo of the magnifying glass, how the classifieds are blown up but still very, very blurry?  Thats how my first crack at this test prep book has been so far.  Everything crammed into one place to be studied:  Every FAA regulation, covering every kind and classification of aircraft, and every kind of part replacement or structure repair…oh yes, it’s all there, and while I’m not intimidated, I am facing a long, difficult road of memorization.  My wife might be ready to take her own IA test by the time we’re done with it!  Of course, as I am well-prepared to study for FAA tests–after all, I had to master the answers of nearly 5,000 possible questions (though only tested over 250 of them), all crammed into books like this one, to get my Airframe and Powerplant Licenses.  As an IA, I’ll have traded my wrenches, sockets and screwdrivers for a good flashlight, and a mirror and magnifying glass.  I’m looking forward to it.

I wonder if I could get this done by the New Year?  I suppose time will tell…stay tuned!

PS–Any one who is an IA have any tips for the test, or leads on jobs at which to use it?  Feel free to drop me a line!

 

 

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