IA Renewal — Not Just for IAs
Each winter (roughly the months of January through March), those wanting to renew their Inspection Authorization gather at training events around the country to obtain the necessary eight hours of training that is required to renew their authorization. Currently, eight hours of training are required each year by March 31st – with actual renewal taking place every two years.
(Note: This is important because according to the regulation, if you don’t complete the 8 hours each year, you may not exercise the privilege of the authorization until you have undergone an oral exam by an FAA inspector and are re-issued your authorization.)
Training isn’t required for everyone who wishes to keep their Inspection Authorization — it can be kept current by simply conducting an Annual Inspection every 90 days, or by conducting two major repairs or alterations every 90 days, or one of several other ways listed in 14CFR Part 65.93. The methods listed in the FAR favor staying current through activity — i.e., stay active and current.
Yet, many mechanics choose to attend IA renewal courses as a convenient and beneficial way to renew their authorization. By the way, the courses don’t have to be taken all in one sitting, and are typically approved by the FAA in anywhere from one- to eight-hour blocks. Typically, the one-hour block courses are offered at some tradeshows and online, while the 8 hour events are often conducted for the purpose of providing a convenient way to renew your IA.
If you intend to use the courses that you attend towards your IA renewal, it’s recommended that you ask to be sure the course being offered is approved by the FAA. Don’t be afraid to ask for a “Course Acceptance number.” The complete list of FAA-approved courses along with their course acceptance numbers can be found online at faasafety.gov. Search for “Acceptable I Refresher Training.”
As I attend trade shows and search online for training seminars and meetings, I am impressed with the number of courses that are still available from the Month of January through March. Many are State-sponsored seminars, some are online and others are in conjunction with tradeshows and industry events.
The thing that many mechanics miss, however, is the fact that these meetings are not just for those who hold an Inspection Authorization. If you look closely, many of these courses are promoted as maintenance, mechanic or AMT and IA renewal seminar. Typical training courses topics include regulatory updates, technological advances, aircraft system reviews and detailed discussions of some of the latest Airworthiness Directives.
These seminars benefit everyone and anyone who might be involved in maintenance. Plus, they offer networking and career building opportunities for many mechanics. It’s never a bad idea to “rub elbows” with your peers in the industry! You never know what might develop and what new opportunity might come your way. Opportunities come in many forms: jobs, idea sharing, tool and test equipment sharing — who knows?
The events are often very low cost (usually covering the cost of lunch and maybe facilities fees) and sometimes are even free — with the cost being covered by sponsors. Exhibit booths are frequently part of these gatherings. This offers an opportunity to question manufacturers and/or suppliers about their products and services. Many of these events recognize that it’s inconvenient for mechanics to take off from work so they frequently occur on a weekend.
It’s not difficult to locate an IA renewal near you faasafety.gov — simply google IA renewal, or go to FAASafety.gov and register to receive alerts about training events in your area. If you missed one closest to you, chances are there are several others within a short drive from where you live.
Thanks for reading.
Greg Napert, Proud to be an A&P