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Become An Aircraft Mechanic

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Working As An Aircraft Mechanic

  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $61,314

    Average Salary

What Does An Aircraft Mechanic Do

An Aircraft Mechanic maintains and repairs avionic and mechanical equipment in order to ensure the safe operation of planes and helicopters. They work in the fields of aviation, aircraft, maintenance, and services.

How To Become An Aircraft Mechanic

Many aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians learn their trade at an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school. Others enter with a high school education or equivalent and are trained on the job. Some workers enter the occupation after getting training in the military. Aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians typically are certified by the FAA. See Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 65, subparts D and E, for the most current requirements for becoming a certified mechanic.

Education and Training

Aircraft mechanics and service technicians often enter the occupation after attending a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school. These schools award a certificate of completion that the FAA recognizes as an alternative to the experience requirements stated in regulations. The schools also grant holders the right to take the relevant FAA exams.

Some aircraft mechanics and service technicians enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training to learn their skills and to be able to pass the FAA exams. Other workers enter the occupation after getting training in the military. Aviation maintenance personnel who are not certified by the FAA work under supervision until they have enough experience and knowledge and become certified.

Avionics technicians typically earn an associate’s degree before entering the occupation. Aircraft controls, systems, and flight instruments have become increasingly digital and computerized. Maintenance workers who have the proper background in aviation flight instruments or computer repair are needed to maintain these complex systems.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians are not required to get licenses or certifications, most do, because these credentials often improve a mechanic’s wages and chances for employment. The FAA requires that aircraft maintenance be done either by a certified mechanic with the appropriate ratings or authorizations or under the supervision of such a mechanic.

The FAA offers separate certifications for bodywork (Airframe mechanics, or “A”) and engine work (Powerplant mechanics, or “P”), but employers may prefer to hire mechanics who have both Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) ratings. The A&P ratings generally certify that aviation mechanics meet basic knowledge and ability standards.

Mechanics must be at least 18 years of age, be fluent in English, and have 30 months of experience to qualify for either the A or the P rating or both (the A&P rating). If only one rating is sought by the mechanic, 18 months’ experience is required to take either the Airframe or the Powerplant exam. However, completion of a program at a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school can substitute for the experience requirement and shorten the time requirements for becoming eligible to take the FAA exams.

Applicants must pass written, oral, and practical exams that demonstrate the required skills. Candidates must pass all the tests within a timeframe of 2 years.

To keep their certification, mechanics must have completed relevant repair or maintenance work within the previous 24 months. To fulfill this requirement, mechanics may take classes from their employer, a school, or an aircraft manufacturer.

Avionics technicians typically are certified through a repair station for the specific work being done, or else they hold the Airframe rating to work on an aircraft’s electronic and flight instrument systems. An Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) certification is available through the National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT). It certifies that aviation mechanics have a basic level of knowledge in the subject area, but it is not required by the FAA for any specific tasks. Avionics technicians who work on communications equipment may need to have the proper radiotelephone operator certification issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Other licenses and certifications are available to mechanics who wish to increase their skill set or advance their careers. The Inspection Authorization (IA) is available to mechanics who have had their A&P ratings for at least 3 years and meet other requirements. These mechanics are able to sign off on many major repairs and alterations. Mechanics can get numerous other certifications, such as Repairmen of light-sport aircraft and Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR).

Important Qualities

Strength and agility. Mechanics and technicians may need to carry or move heavy equipment or aircraft parts. They may need to climb on airplanes, balance, and reach without falling.

Detail oriented. Mechanics and technicians need to adjust airplane parts to exact specifications. For example, they often use precision tools to tighten wheel bolts to an exact tension.

Dexterity. Mechanics and technicians must possess dexterity to coordinate the movement of their fingers and hands in order to grasp, manipulate, or assemble parts.

Observational skills. Mechanics and technicians must recognize engine noises, read gauges, and collect other information to determine whether an aircraft’s systems are working properly.

Troubleshooting skills. Mechanics and technicians diagnose complex problems, and they need to evaluate options to correct those problems.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Avionics technicians may begin their careers as aircraft mechanics and service technicians. As aircraft mechanics and service technicians gain experience, they may study independently, attend formal classes, or otherwise choose to pursue additional certifications that grant privileges to work on specialized flight instruments. Eventually, they may become dedicated avionics technicians who work exclusively on flight instruments.

Advancement

As aircraft mechanics gain experience, they may advance to lead mechanic, lead inspector, or shop supervisor. Opportunities are best for those who have an inspection authorization (IA). Many specialist certifications are available that allow mechanics to do a wider variety of repairs and alterations.

Mechanics with broad experience in maintenance and repair might become inspectors or examiners for the FAA.

Additional business and management training may help aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians open their own maintenance facility.

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Aircraft Mechanic jobs

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Real Aircraft Mechanic Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Operations Manager of Aircraft Mechanics Us Technicians, Inc. Des Plaines, IL Sep 04, 2013 $78,534
Operations Manager of Aircraft Mechanics Us Technicians, Inc. Des Plaines, IL Nov 12, 2013 $78,534
Aircraft Mechanic and Maintenance Analyst Professional Aviation Marketing, Inc. NY Jun 25, 2013 $69,638
Aircraft Mechanic and Maintenance Analyst JFK Professional Aviation Marketing, Inc. NY Oct 01, 2011 $69,638
Aircraft Mechanic Thrust-Tech Aviation, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Jan 11, 2016 $66,269 -
$66,275
Aircraft Mechanic CR Aviation, Inc. Miami, FL Mar 29, 2016 $66,040
Aircraft Mechanic Thrust-Tech Aviation, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Sep 27, 2015 $63,294 -
$63,300
Forgein Aircraft Mechanic and Instructor Skyworld Aviation, Inc. Midland, VA Nov 01, 2013 $60,523 -
$77,219
Aircraft Mechanic Kolob Canyons Air Services, LLC Smyrna, TN Jun 01, 2016 $60,237
Aircraft Mechanics Millennium Air Xpress Los Angeles, CA May 19, 2011 $60,000
Aircraft Mechanic Thrust-Tech Aviation, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Sep 27, 2014 $59,738
Operations Manager of Aircraft Mechanics Us Technicians, Inc. Des Plaines, IL Sep 04, 2010 $53,219
Aircraft Mechanic Thrust-Tech Aviation, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Sep 27, 2011 $52,624
Aircraft Mechanic Commercial Jet, Inc. Miami, FL Mar 30, 2009 $51,027
Structure Aircraft Mechanic Airtecs & Parts Corporation Oscoda, MI Jan 01, 1970 $44,704
Aircraft Mechanics and Service The MEC Group, LLC San Antonio, TX Aug 09, 2012 $43,971
Aircraft Mechanics and Service The MEC Group, LLC San Antonio, TX Jun 08, 2012 $43,971
Aircraft Mechanics and Service The MEC Group, LLC San Antonio, TX Jun 14, 2012 $43,971
Aircraft Mechanics and Service The MEC Group, LLC San Antonio, TX Jun 05, 2012 $43,971
Aircraft Mechanics and Service The MEC Group, LLC San Antonio, TX Jun 06, 2012 $43,971
Aircraft Mechanics and Service The MEC Group, LLC San Antonio, TX Jun 01, 2012 $43,971
Aircraft Mechanic Miami Tech Line Maintenance Miami, FL Oct 27, 2010 $43,846
Aircraft Mechanic AE Wolffe, Ltd. Tucson, AZ Jan 26, 2009 $42,909
Aircraft Mechanic Helimax Aviation, Inc. Jackson, CA Apr 01, 2010 $41,740 -
$30
Aircraft Mechanic Aviation Pacific Camarillo, CA Mar 31, 2009 $41,740 -
$56,349
Aircraft Mechanic Aerotechnic, LLC Opa-locka, FL Apr 24, 2009 $40,968 -
$41,010
Aircraft Mechanic Anton Ostermeier Chino, CA Jun 08, 2010 $39,894
Aircraft Mechanic Anton Ostermeier Chino, CA Oct 14, 2011 $39,894
Aircraft Mechanic Interaereo A-1, Inc. Opa-locka, FL Dec 06, 2010 $39,444

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Top Skills for An Aircraft Mechanic

AircraftEnginesSafetyCorrectiveAircraftMaintenanceAirframeRemovalAircraftSystemsFlightControlSystemsInspectAircraftComponentsAircraftStructuresMaintenanceManualsHydraulicSystemsFAAGroundSupportEquipmentHandToolsAvionicsDepotFlightLineTestEquipmentUh-60TechnicalData

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Top Aircraft Mechanic Skills

  1. Aircraft Engines
  2. Safety
  3. Corrective Aircraft Maintenance
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Removed and installed aircraft engines, using hoists or forklift trucks.
  • Established and adhere to maintenance safety rules and procedures.
  • Screened and ordered parts for repair; maintained repair logs, documenting all preventive and corrective aircraft maintenance.
  • Assisted in annual inspections on private and experimental aircraft involving repairs on aircraft airframe structure & aircraft fabric.
  • Assisted in the removal and replacement of an engine nacelle and tilt axis gearbox spindle bearing.

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