The aircraft industry typically divides the non-passenger parts of planes into two major areas: the powerplant (the engine and internal propulsion and control systems and gauges) and the airframe (mostly external structures and components). An airframe & powerplant mechanic (A&P mechanic) is certified to perform almost all repair and maintenance work on airplanes and responsible for inspecting, maintaining, and repairing planes as needed. They may also diagnose any issues reported by pilots or flight crew upon landing.
Many large commercial passenger and freight carriers employ A&P mechanics at all major hubs to help perform federally mandated inspections and maintenance and keep logs detailing the work. These mechanics are typically certified by plane type and perform and document necessary repairs based on issues either detected in inspections or reported by flight personnel. For some larger aircraft, mechanics may specialize in repairs and inspections in specific parts of planes.
Many airports and flight centers also employ A&P mechanics, and privately owned businesses specializing in aircraft maintenance and repair may lease space from airports. A&P mechanics perform regular pre-flight and post-flight inspections on even the smallest aircraft, and in many jurisdictions they must must sign documentation to verify inspection and maintenance of the engine, rudders, flaps, control systems, and cabin gauges prior to an authorized flight.
Aspiring A&P mechanics need training from technical schools, as well as certification issued by federal authorities, and many air carriers which hire A&P mechanics employ entry-level employees in crews to learn and specialize in certain types of aircraft. Most of these mechanics work in airport hangars during regular daytime and evening hours.
Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic Tasks
Perform preventative, regularly scheduled, and unexpected maintenance on aircraft.
Service aircraft according to all FAA regulations.
Document inspection and test results and maintain a repair log.
Inspect aircraft integrity and perform post-maintenance tests.