General Aviation (GA) represents all civil aviation operations, including:
- General business, flight training, recreational flying, and aircraft homebuilding
- Specialized operations like agriculture, construction, aerial photography, surveying, advertising, observation, patrol, search and rescue
GA aircraft are generally smaller in size.
- Piper is an example of a general aviation manufacturer
- Embraer produces aircraft for agricultural purposes in addition to larger commercial and military aircraft
- Sarasota Avionics is a repair station that services the avionics systems, structural body, and engines of smaller general aviation aircraft
- Icon Aircraft creates consumer-friendly, safe, technologically advanced aircraft that make the adventure of flying more accessible to mainstream consumers
- American Flyers is a pilot training school where you can learn how to fly for fun or pursue careers in corporate charters and commercial aircraft
- Bell Helicopters is an American aerospace company that manufacturers military and commercial helicopters
- Textron Aviation provides a wide range of aircraft solutions for general aviation flying, including but not limited to turboprops, piston-engine aircraft, and military training aircraft
Advancement Opportunities in GA
In GA, the advancement opportunities for maintenance professionals will depend on the number of employees and the operation’s size within the individual company. Aircraft mechanics or avionics technicians typically start at entry-level positions where they perform maintenance tasks alongside other team members, and the supervisor or lead mechanic would oversee their work.
Lead mechanics/technicians, or leads, are very reliable and consistently provide quality work. They often mentor other inexperienced aircraft mechanics and technicians and lead their maintenance team through assigned tasks.
With time, a lead can progress into supervisor and management roles, overseeing the aircraft maintenance crews. As supervisors gain enough experience managing crews and projects, they may qualify for a Director of Maintenance position to manage the day-to-day hangar operations.
Experienced mechanics may also qualify to test and earn additional certifications to progress into the positions listed below.
Inspection Authorizations (IA) perform the required annual inspections for aircraft and, in some cases, are also the Maintenance Director. Mechanics who only have their A&P ratings can perform up to 100-hour inspections but need this additional certification to perform more progressive checks.
To become an IA, maintenance professionals must have:
- A&P ratings for three years
- 2 years of active experience before applying to test
- A fixed base of operations, whether privately owned business or working for a company with a need
- The appropriate equipment, facilities, and inspection data to properly inspect aircraft
- To apply, mechanics must attend an annual seminar and take a test
Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DAR-T) are private individuals appointed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to enforce safety regulations for aircraft home-builds. DAR-Ts may be limited to their functions authorized by the FAA, which depends on their level of experience and technical background. Their work usually consists of:
- Performing examinations, inspections, and testing services
- Issuing airworthiness certificates for special flight permits, import aircraft
- Issuing export certificates for products and articles
- Providing conformity inspections and field approvals for repair and alterations
The range of qualifications to become a DAR depend on the type of aircraft you will inspect.
Designated Mechanic Examiners (DME) are also private individuals appointed by the FAA. DME’s oversee testing and issue certificates to people involved in aircraft operation or aircraft maintenance, such as pilots and mechanics. Once students are ready to test for their A&P ratings, they must take their oral and practical exams overseen by the DME.
To obtain your DME License, you must:
- Have your A&P ratings for 5 years
- Be an active IA certification
- Prove there is a need in the area
- Receive continuous training
Earning Potential in GA
GA companies are typically smaller-scale operations in which employees work more closely with clients. In this environment, mechanics can establish relationships with aircraft owners, making GA a strategic place to start a new business. While working for a GA company offers great pay opportunities, the earning potential of owning a business is limitless and would be based on your client base, the rates of services you offer, and overhead cost of the operations.
Seeking a Career in General Aviation?
Our alumni’s success is a critical measurement of our institution. Beyond getting you trained and certified, our goal is to make sure you are successfully employed. National Aviation Academy’s Career Services Team works with industry employers to help students find positions that align with their career goals.
During your training, Career Services will assist you with:
- Resumes writing, applications, and other employer documents
- Interview practice and preparation, so you know what to say, how to dress and correspond with hiring employers
- Company introductions, scheduling, and conducting your interviews
- Understanding employee benefits, pay, and best-negotiating practices
Once you are a certified Aviation Maintenance Professional, you’ll have a range of career opportunities in General Aviation and other industry sectors. It is estimated that 739,000 new aviation maintenance technicians will be needed globally in the next 20 years, not including the need in other industries. Career Services is here to explore and learn about the options you’ll have in and outside of aviation.
Want to gain access to these high-earning, highly demanded careers? Apply Now to get started!