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Whats an I A?

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IA stands for Inspector Authorization.


It means you can inspect other peoples work and sign off annual inspections, overhauled parts and stuff like that. You have to have 3 years experience as an A&P mechanic plus complete a written test to get your IA.

Further compicated by the fact that some instrument rated fixed-wingers use it (correctly, I suppose) to me "Instrument - airplane".

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When an A&P signs off a repair or a 100hr inspection, they're just taking responsibility of it until the next 100hr inspection (which they may or may not do). When an IA signs off an annual they are taking responsibility for everyone's work back to the date it rolled off the assembly line. It is a liability nightmare, and involves more bookwork and research than anything else. You have to make sure every AD has been complied with....and that's not easy if the airplane has gotten new engine(s), props, instruments, seats, whatever. I say airplanes because they usually get modified a lot more than helicopters.


In fact, when a mechanic has their IA hat on, they do NOT perform any wrechin' what-so-ever. An IA solely inspects work performed by an A&P (which may be their own.) So you sign off the work and 100hr with your A&P, then sign off the annual inspection with your IA.


An IA can also approve and sign off major repairs and major alterations. Now those two had to be in performed in accordance with FAA APPROVED (not just acceptable) data. That could be from the manufacturer or an STC's instructions. If this info is not available or approved, an FAA inspector or designated engineering rep has to approve the repair or alteration first.


An IA is an authorization, not a certificate, and you have to maintain currency. You have to perform X amount of annuals and major repairs and/or alterations a quarter. I can never remember the number because I never get anywhere close to it. I have to go to the renewal seminar or take the test again to stay current every year.



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