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Airplane Mechanic

Education and Training: Aviation Maintenance Technician schools and aircraft trade schools certification
Average Salary: $24.71 to $33.19 per hour
Job Outlook: Good

With airplanes fast developing in terms of function and machinery, it is the airplane mechanic’s job to ensure that all aircraft are in optimal operating condition before and after their flight. To do so, they have to perform several duties and preventive maintenance, most of which are required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Close examination of aircraft engines. An airplane mechanic’s main is to examine, test, repair, and maintain aircraft engines. Inspection of particular parts of the aircraft such as landing gear, brakes, valves, instruments, and engines is part of the protocol. A schedule of inspections for both mechanics and technicians are supposed to be performed meticulously for aircraft, considering little details such as the number of hours that the aircraft has flown, the days of operation, and such. Whether it is for a commercial airline, military aircraft maintenance, or a private corporation, airline mechanics have the responsibility of checking and ensuring that required repairs are conducted before the flights. Otherwise, the airplane mechanic’s FAA license may be put on the line.

Perform tests on aircraft engines. In order to discover defects in airplane engines, the airplane mechanic is assigned to conduct a variety of performance tests and regular inspections before and after the flights have occurred. Troubleshooting certain electrical areas of the aircraft and repairing defective equipment and components of the plane is integral in ensuring that there will be minimal to no accidents in the airplane.

Analysis of the condition of accessory items for preflight checking and avionics systems. Function such as fuel and oil levels and radio communications should be checked and examined to ensure that they are at their optimal performance level. There are particular airplane mechanics who specialize in working on particular parts or specific types of an aircraft.

Education and Training Requirements

To become an airplane mechanic, one has to remember that training in formal higher education is important. While there is no course that is prescribed specifically for aircraft and airplane mechanics, it is necessary to enhance one’s skills through an Aviation Maintenance Technician school or an Aircraft Trade school. There are course offerings in Aircraft Technology that lasts for four years or the Aircraft Technician course which spans for half of that time period.

Aside from the training, having a background in related fields such as computer science, mechanical drawing, math, physics, and electronics would allow them to have advanced knowledge of the repairs and operation of aircraft.

After their education in an Aviation Maintenance Technician school, they can now get their Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Getting the Job

Aspiring airplane mechanics who are looking for an edge should first acquire experience on the job, because this has oftentimes proven to be more valuable than formal training. An Aviation Maintenance Technician license is also a requirement, as it is the validation of one’s experience around maintenance and repair of aircraft.

Usually, before applicants can receive their certification, they have to spend a minimum of 1,900 hours of class work. This will include a year or two worth of applied practice and training. The difference with aircraft trade schools is their school of thought, which are more focused on aviation electronics, turbine engines, and composite materials. These give potential certified aircraft mechanics the edge of having advanced knowledge on the technical aspects of the job.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Airplane mechanics who are just starting out on their careers would be pleased to note that the year 2018 holds several job opportunities from mechanics who are going to retire.

Competition in the industry relies more on the technical knowledge that the applicant has of the technological advances in aircraft maintenance and management. Since the technology of aircraft are constantly improving and becoming more complex, one has to be up-to-date with the latest in mechanics and electronics to have an edge in the aviation maintenance industry.

For those who are feel that they are not yet ready to retire but may no longer have the competitive edge of the industry can move on to related fields that require similar skills, which will open the field for newly-certified airplane mechanics.

Working Conditions and Environment

During their 40 hours a week shift with high chances of overtime work, airplane mechanics will always be subject to a variety of illnesses and injury related in the workplace.

Airplane mechanics also have to be physically fit, given the manual labor that they will be going through every day. From lifting objects weighing 70 pounds or more to standing on ladders and scaffolds, a mechanic will always be exposed to physical labor that can take its toll on the body.

With the strict schedule with which commercial airplanes adhere to, airplane mechanics are constantly under time pressure. This means they have to balance accuracy in their inspections to ensure responsible safety standards and maintain the flight schedule.

Salary and Benefits

Though the usual range of salaries for airplane mechanics cash in around $24.71 to $33.19 hourly, the professional experience of an individual accounts for a higher salary. For instance, compared to beginner mechanics, those who have experience working for major airlines or those with degrees from aviation maintenance technician schools have higher salaries.

Where to Go for More Information

American Aviation Historical Society
AAHS, 15211 Springdale St.
Huntington Beach, CA
(714) 549-4818

Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20591

Long Island MacArthur Airport (KISP)
2075 Smithtown Ave.
Ronkonkoma, New York, 11779
(800) 786-9060 / (631) 471-3550

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