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Air Craft Technician: Understanding the mechanics of being an aircraft mechanic and an avionic technician

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Air Craft Technician

Aircraft technicians maintain and repair all types of aircraft, including planes, helicopters, blimps and balloons. Job duties include the diagnosis of electrical and mechanical issues, the replacement of defective and worn parts, and the inspection of aircraft on a maintenance schedule in order to prevent problems before they happen. In addition to traditional tasks, some technicians conduct testing on a plane's communication and diagnostic systems or work specifically on electrical systems. Many also choose to work on one specific part of a plane, such as the engine, structure or frame.

What is an Aircraft Mechanic?

An aircraft mechanic is someone who repairs and performs scheduled maintenance on airplanes and helicopters. They also inspect airplanes and helicopters as required by federal agencies.

Educational Requirements

Aircraft technicians can earn certificates in aircraft technology, aircraft mechanics, aviation mechanics or aviation science. Some programs offer degrees such as an Associate of Applied Science in Airframe and Aircraft Power plant Maintenance Technology, an Associate of Occupational Science in Aircraft Maintenance Technology, a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology or a Master in Aviation Science. Aircraft trade schools offer programs that may be completed in 18-24 months; in addition to formal education, most positions require on-the-job, supervised training.

Licensing Requirements

In order to work in this field, prospective aircraft technicians must be licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In order to obtain a license, candidates must be at least 18 years old, speak fluent English and have a minimum of 30 months of experience working on air frames and engines. The completion of a formal education training program approved by the FAA may substitute for the experience requirement. Candidates must successfully pass written, oral and practical examinations.

What does an Aircraft Mechanic do?

An aircraft mechanic typically does the following:

  1. Examines aircraft frames and parts for defects
  2. Diagnoses mechanical or electrical problems
  3. Measures parts for wear, using precision instruments
  4. Reads maintenance manuals to identify methods of repair
  5. Repairs wings, brakes, electrical systems, and other aircraft components
  6. Replaces defective parts, using hand tools
  7. Tests aircraft parts with gauges and other diagnostic equipment
  8. Inspects completed work to ensure that it meets performance standards
  9. Keeps records of maintenance and repair work

Required Skills

  1. Adept understanding of mechanics and how various parts of machinery interact with each other
  2. Detail-oriented personality and troubleshooting skills
  3. Strong background in math and technical writing
  4. Communication skills, including writing and speaking, since aircraft technicians often work in teams and must keep thorough records of all repairs and maintenance done on an aircraft
  5. What is the workplace of an Aircraft Mechanic like?

    Employment of aircraft mechanics is concentrated in a small number of industries. The majority work for private companies and about 15% work for the federal government. Aircraft mechanics work in hangars, in repair stations, or on airfields. They must often meet strict deadlines to maintain flight schedules, yet still maintain safety standards. This is quite stressful at times.

    Most aircraft mechanics work near major airports. They often work outside, on the airfield, while repair and corporate mechanics work in climate-controlled shops. Civilian aircraft mechanics employed by the armed forces work on military installations.

    The work can be noisy from loud aircraft engines. Workers must often bend, stoop, and reach from ladders and scaffolds. Most aircraft mechanics work full time with some overtime. Weekend work is common.

    Today?s airplanes are highly complex machines that require reliable parts and service to fly safely. To keep an airplane in peak operating condition, aircraft mechanics do scheduled maintenance, make repairs, and complete inspections.

    Some aircraft mechanics work on many different types of aircraft, such as jets, propeller-driven airplanes, and helicopters. Others specialize in one section of a particular type of aircraft, such as the engine, hydraulics, or electrical system of a jet. In smaller independent repair shops, mechanics inspect and repair various types of aircraft.

    Most aircraft mechanics who work on civilian aircraft have some sort of official certification. Mechanics that have this certification are authorized to work on any part of the aircraft except electronic flight instruments, which is the job of avionics technicians.