Major aircraft manufacturers are predicting a need for thousands of aircraft maintenance technicians each 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 of how to become an aircraft mechanic.
Aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) are responsible for performing repairs, preventative and routine maintenance on all types of aircraft and helicopters. FAA certified aircraft mechanics (also called Airframe & Powerplant mechanics, or A&P mechanics) are in high demand. The military, airlines, government, and many other companies are hiring aircraft mechanics.
Aircraft maintenance technicians need specific training, an eye for detail, and a basic understanding of how things work. And they bear a large amount of responsibility when it comes to maintaining and inspecting aircraft for service, so being professional and diligent is important for aircraft mechanics.
Previously a person who was responsible for aircraft technical support was called 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 of „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 certficated 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 certficated 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 peform 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.
How to become an aircraft mechanic
Most aircraft mechanics and technicians learn their trade in a federally approved training program. Coursework normally lasts 18 to 24 months and provides training with the tools and equipment used on the job. About one-third of the programs award two- or four-year degrees in avionics, aviation technology, or aviation maintenance management.
Increasingly, employers are looking more favourably on aircraft mechanics with a bachelor’s degree. Aircraft trade schools are placing more emphasis on technologies being used in new airplanes, such as turbine engines, composite materials, and aviation electronics. These technical advances require aircraft mechanics to have stronger backgrounds in composite materials and electronics.
Courses in mathematics, physics, chemical engineering, electronics, computer science, and mechanical drawings are helpful because they teach the principles involved in operating an airplane. Aircraft mechanics often need this knowledge to figure out what is wrong and how to fix the problem. Courses that develop writing, communication, and management skills are important for aircraft mechanics who want to move into senior positions.
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 then 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 certification, you need to successfully pass the oral, written and practical tests that show you are capable of undertaking the job.
In the Unites 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 organisation.
Aircraft mechanic salary
Talking about the average salary, for example, in 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 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.