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LSA Repairman to Airframe & Powerplant with Inspection Authorization (A&P IA)

Three years ago, Mike Zidziunas took advantage of the little known benefit of the light sport rule and became the nation’s first LSRM to earn his FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic certificate (A & P). The A & P Certification authorizes the holder to work on U.S. standard category airplanes such as Cessnas and Pipers and to complete the condition inspection on amateur built aircraft. Today, Mike has been signed off to add his Inspection Authorization to his A & P.

“Adding my IA will create even more opportunities for me,” Mike comments. “Every aspect of my business has been built on my Light Sport Repairman Certificate.”

Mike, owner of Island Bird Flying Service and home of Breezer Aircraft USA, located in Plant City, Florida, is a one-man prototype for how LSRMs are finding their way into mainstream. Now that the lightsport rule is in place, there’s no shortage of opportunity and LSRMs across the country are taking notice.

The new light sport rule allows the LSRM to apply for authorization to take the A&P written and practical exams after working in the field for 30 + months under his or her own supervision. Additionally, an individual can earn the LSRM certificate quickly- in just three weeks. This is incredible when you compare that to the 1900 hour requirement for an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic school. This powerful three week course is what entrepreneurship is all about: success.

After Mike reached the 30 month mark, he contacted his local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) to apply for the approval to take the written and practical exams. “The application process was simple. An FAA inspector validated the date of issue on my Repairman Maintenance certificate and looked over my paperwork.

In short order I had my letter of approval to take the A&P written and practical exam,” explains Mike.

With the approval in hand, the next step was to prepare for the written and practical exams. A LSRM may choose to study at home and can purchase the A & P written and practical exam study guides which include the list of FAA test questions and support material.

Study material is available in good old fashion books, on CDs, through software that can be downloaded and even in MP3 format. Some community colleges offer test prep programs as well, but Mike chose to enroll at the National Aviation Academy in Clearwater, Florida. The course was 2 weeks of very intensive test preparation.

There are many such schools throughout the United States that offer similar programs.

Now, three years after earning his A & P, Mike qualifies to challenge the IA exams. With his signed authorization he is planning to complete the test in the next 10-20 days.

Mike plans to attend AirVenture with that new certificate in his pocket.

Mike, a sport pilot instructor, realized early on that light sport was going to be the future of aviation so he earned his LSRM in August of 2006. “I was not prepared for the incredible opportunities the certificate would offer.” And Mike is taking full advantage of those opportunities.

He has opened a Rotax Service Center and works with manufacturers assembling S-LSA aircraft.

Maintenance is Mike’s primary focus and he will now be able to include amateur-built aircraft inspections to the list of services he offers.

Here’s Mike’s take: “I was able to set up my business based on the LSRM training. This course was the foundation to everything else: becoming a Rotax service center as well as an A & P. After adding my A & P, I found that there was a huge demand for amateur built aircraft inspections. Since most A & Ps do not want to inspect amateur built aircraft, especially those with a Rotax engine, I have had a huge demand for this service.

Likewise, now with my IA, I will be able to perform inspections on Type-Certificated Aircraft.”

But Mike’s achievement is even more striking than becoming the “first LSRM to add the A & P, IA Option.”

Mike has built up a full service LSA facility at the Plant City Airport. Mike offers flight training, aircraft rental and a full service maintenance shop. Mike has become the importer for Breezer Aircraft and the Flying Ambassador to The Bahamas, leading groups of LSA pilots in flights to the islands of The Bahamas. In this light, Mike’s achievement is even more remarkable.

The big news is that his operation which had been based solely on LSA is so active Mike has had to hire help. “Now, with the additional personnel and projects, I have signed a 5 year lease agreement with Sun ‘n Fun to be a permanent resident of Hangar B on the Sun ‘n Fun Campus at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport which will give my operation more space and new opportunities,” Mike adds. Mike’s maintenance rates at $65.00 an hour—are at the low end of the scale inhabited by conventional aviation maintenance facilities. For more information, visit www.breezeraircraftusa.com.

With the LSRM certificate an individual, like Mike can start a new career or a home based, low-cost business that is rewarding- not just financially- but personally. The LSRM allows you to perform maintenance, condition, and the 100 hour inspections (required on aircraft used for hire) on Special Light Sport Aircraft and Experimental Light Sport Aircraft and to be able to charge for your services. The job opportunities for the repairman with a maintenance rating are wide-ranging. Light sport manufacturers and dealers in the light sport industry will all require a LSRM to perform maintenance on their aircraft after they are certificated. Additionally, flight schools need LSRMs for the required 100 hour inspections. Not to mention the opportunities for new light sport maintenance facilities.

After earning your LSRM the sky is truly NOT the limit in this ever-expanding, high demand, hands-on, exciting field. Rainbow Aviation Services, the sole provider of the LSRM training, states there are currently more jobs available than graduates to fill them! A career as an Aviation Mechanic is in high demand and can take you on many paths in your life.

For more information visit www.rainbowaviation.com or call Rainbow Aviation Services at 530-824-0644.

July 2012 Light Aviation Edition

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