What is an Aircraft Mechanic?
Pilots are often the face of a flight but there are several people behind the scenes that keep things running safely and smoothly. Aircraft mechanics are vital to the safety of thousands, using their technical skills and knowledge to repair and maintain aircraft. As an aircraft mechanic, you may work on a number of different types of planes such as commercial airplanes, cargo planes, jets, and helicopters. Mechanics don’t just show up when something is wrong; maintaining an aircraft includes evaluating the durability of different pieces and estimating how long a part will last before it needs to be replaced. Aircraft mechanics assess the functionality of an aircraft and make repairs based on what the specific issue is. Common workplaces for this career are service and repair shops, as well as airports. While individual employers will have different expectations depending on the job, generally a mechanic needs to be adept at problem-solving, able to interpret blueprints, technical manuals, and understand how to use other resources when necessary.
Aircraft mechanics, also sometimes called aviation maintenance technicians, have one responsibility above all else: to make sure that the airplanes they service are safe for flight. This is a very important job and it comes with quite a lot of responsibility. As an aircraft mechanic, you would need to perform routine maintenance on planes such as oil changes, battery service, making adjustments so that everything was aligned and calibrated properly, and cleaning the aircraft both inside and out. You would also be the one responsible for ensuring that the plane was meeting or exceeding the standards set forth by the FAA and the company you worked for. Compliance with other regulations like environmental or health and safety would also fall into your hands You would regularly need to inspect the aircraft for any cracks, leaks, or defects as well as testing operations to be sure everything is perfectly functional. In some cases, if you found anything wrong, you would need to keep a diligent record of what was wrong and everything that you did in order to fix it. Various components of the plane may need to be repaired or replaced over time and you may encounter complex technical problems that it’s up to you to troubleshoot and then take care of. Another integral part of your day-to-day at a job like this would be making sure that all of the company-provided tools at your disposal were properly stored and maintained and that your work area was clean and free of safety hazards. Continuing education is a mandatory aspect of this career path as well.
The average aircraft mechanic salary is $58,390. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the current growth rate for this job is just 1% which is much slower than the average rate of 5-8%.
Prior military training qualifies you for this job. In all other cases, you would need to complete a trade program at the very least. In order to get the proper training and certifications to work as an aviation mechanic, the program you complete must be approved by the FAA which is the Federal Aviation Administration.