A career as an aircraft mechanic is ideal for people who are interested in aviation and enjoy completing complex, technical work.
Aircraft mechanics serve a critical role in ensuring that planes and other flying machines operate correctly and safely. Gathering the essential skills, qualifications, and experience to be an aircraft mechanic takes commitment, but can result in a satisfying, stable career.
Major aircraft manufacturers are predicting a need for thousands of aircraft mechanics every year over the next several years as more and more airplanes are produced.
So the career as an aircraft mechanic is still up-and-coming. There is the answer to how to become an aircraft mechanic. Previously a person who was responsible for aircraft technical support was called an aircraft mechanic.
Now the term used in the U.S. is usually aircraft maintenance technicians (AMT). In Europe, under EASA rules they are called aircraft engineers. The term “aircraft mechanic“ will be used in this text in order to prevent confusion.
MORE ABOUT THE AIRCRAFT MECHANIC JOB
Aircraft mechanics repair, replace, and maintain aircraft parts and components. They also perform maintenance and functional checks on aircraft systems, such as hydraulic systems, pneumatic systems, electrical systems, and others.
There are many different types of aircraft mechanics, and each one usually specializes in one particular set of skills. For example, structural mechanics work on the frame of the aircraft, while avionics technicians work on the electrical systems and components.
Airframe mechanics perform maintenance on airframe components, including the wings, fuselage, tail section, and landing gear. They are not allowed to work on engines unless they are being supervised by a certificated and properly rated person.
Powerplant mechanics have the authority to service and maintain aircraft engines but are not allowed to work on airframe components unless they are being supervised by a certificated and properly rated person.
Most mechanics in the U.S. are certified for both airframe and powerplant. Their approval is in the form of a mechanics certificate with an airframe and powerplant rating (A&P).
Avionics technicians require specialized training to perform maintenance on aircraft radios, instruments, and computer systems, including radar, radio communications, and autopilot systems.
Aircraft mechanics work in hangars operated by airlines, flight schools, corporations, repair stations, or maintenance repair and overhaul facilities (MRO), and often times on the ramp where airplanes are parked.
Mechanics need to work fast and efficiently, in order to adhere to high safety standards and meet demanding flight schedules. They can be subject to high noise levels and strenuous physical work.
What does an aircraft mechanic do?
Aircraft mechanics provide maintenance and repair services for flying vehicles like helicopters and airplanes. They ensure that all of the mechanical components of an aircraft meet operational and safety requirements.
Inspecting aircraft systems:
Aircraft inspections involve carefully examining the external and internal elements of an aircraft. Aircraft mechanics complete routine inspections to identify potential problems and confirm that an aircraft is ready for flight.
Diagnosing operational issues:
Running tests to determine the cause of a problem is an important part of the aircraft mechanic’s role. They can complete diagnostics on electrical systems, engines, safety tools, and all other parts of an aircraft.
Measuring aircraft parts:
Using gauges and other technical instruments, aircraft mechanics regularly measure aircraft parts to identify small amounts of wear and corrosion over time.
Aircraft mechanics learn about specific vehicles and equipment by reading blueprints and studying instructional manuals. They interpret instructional manuals to locate aircraft components, appropriately troubleshoot problems, and order the right kinds of parts.
When something breaks or incurs damage on a plane, aircraft mechanics either repair the damaged part or remove the broken component and install a replacement part. This can involve using heavy machinery to modify the aircraft body and its internal elements.
Cleaning mechanical parts:
Aircraft mechanics improve ongoing maintenance by regularly cleaning the interior and exterior of their aircraft. They clean mechanical parts to keep the aircraft in the best condition possible and prevent harmful rusting, corrosion, or chemical buildup.
Updating maintenance records:
Aircraft mechanics are responsible for documenting all of their maintenance activities, repairs, and updates. They track all of their tasks, when they completed each repair and how their work impacted the aircraft’s function.
Having detailed records is critical for following industry regulations and creating safe conditions for aircraft passengers at all times.
CERTIFICATION AND TRAINING
If you choose to go to college or a technical school to become a mechanic, all you have to do is complete high school and then apply for the course. Once you start paying your tuition, you can start your career. There are thousands of schools all over the world that offer courses in aviation maintenance.
While you do not need a license to be an aircraft mechanic, getting certified is highly recommended. Non-licensed mechanics can only work under supervision and cannot approve aviation articles for return to service.
The courses take 12-24 months to complete, and Graduates generally have a higher starting salary than mechanics who are licensed through on-the-job training.
If you live in Europe, there are many schools where you can train and qualify to become an aircraft engineer under the rules of EASA. To get a certification, you need to successfully pass the oral, written, and practical tests that show you are capable of undertaking the job.
In the United States, the first and most common option to become an aircraft mechanic is by going to an Aviation Maintenance Technician School approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Specifically, the training given to students is covered under Part 147 of the FAA certificate. Completing this training means you are already prepared to take the tests easily and become FAA-certified aircraft mechanics.
It can take between 2-4 years to become an Aircraft Mechanic and in excess of 5 years to become a Certifying Engineer. Entry requirements vary but normally require you to have a Leaving Certificate having achieved a good result in maths and a science subject. This is subject to change depending on the organization.
AIRCRAFT MECHANIC SALARY
Talking about the average salary, for example, in the United Kingdom, actual pay rates may vary, depending on where you work, the size of the company, or work for the demand for the job.
The starting salary for aircraft mechanics or engineers is normally around $28,500 to $33,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to $45,000 and $60,000 a year. Senior engineers can earn $75,000 to $90,000 a year or more.
According to “Indeed“, the average salary for an aviation mechanic is around $55,230 a year or $26 per hour.
REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME AN AIRCRAFT MECHANIC:
- Scientific and technical aptitude
- An accurate, methodical, and systematic approach
- A strong sense of responsibility
- Good observation and problem-solving skills
- Good concentration
- The ability to understand engineering drawings
- Agility and a head for heights
- A responsible approach to health and safety regulations
YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO:
- Work carefully, accurately, and at speed
- Work reliably, alone, and as part of a team
- Pay attention to detail
- Meet deadlines