What does a Aircraft Maintenance Technician do?

Median Pay $61,260
Growth Rate 5%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

An aircraft maintenance technician keeps aircrafts in optimal operating condition by performing scheduled maintenance or repairs as dictated by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and guidelines. They examine and replace necessary parts, identify problems, and follow maintenance manuals procedures to include but not limited to brakes, motors, wings and electrical systems.

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How to Become an Aircraft Maintenance Technician

Step 1: Attend a Technical School

In order to become an aircraft maintenance technician most applicants attend a Part 147 FAA-approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School. This program will help you gain the skills sought after by employers and required by the FAA. Some people enter this career field directly after military service as being trained by the military is also an option if you join the U.S. Armed Forces.

Step 2: Take FAA Exams

Though not required, you are also eligible to sit for several FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) exams to become certified. These exams increase your employment opportunities and may give you some leverage when applying for a position and during salary negotiations.

Job Description of an Aircraft Maintenance and Technician

aircraft maintenance technician

Aircraft maintenance technicians use diagnostic equipment and gauges to test aircraft parts while keeping careful records of any work done. He or she inspects machinery to ensure it functions correctly. Aircraft maintenance technicians generally work on general aircrafts, piston-driven airplanes, helicopters or jets.

Some technicians choose to specialize in a particular area like hydraulics, engines, or other areas of interest. They must be physically fit, be able to balance, reach, and lift heavy objects. They handle dangerous chemicals and operate large power tools. They often work on ladders or scaffolds and endure loud noise or vibrations. The risk of injury and illness is high for this occupation compared to other types of jobs.

Aircraft maintenance technicians can be found working for private companies, airports, or the federal government. They work in hangers, repair stations, or airfields unless employed by the military, in which case they work may work at military installations or remote sites. A aircraft maintenance technician usually works full-time in 8 hour shifts. Overtime and weekends are required at times.

Aircraft Mechanic Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the Department of the Air Force. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Performs inspections, functional checks, and preventive maintenance on aircraft to include periodic, phase, hourly, preflight, post flight, calendar, thru-flight, and special inspections such as fuel contamination, emergency equipment, and oil sampling.
  • Troubleshoots and performs unscheduled maintenance on assigned and transient aircraft, utilizing various gauges, meters, measuring devices and other related test equipment.
  • Performs major adjustments and alignments of aircraft systems or components and assists specialists as required.
  • Removes and replaces aircraft components such as control surfaces, engines, constant speed drive, engine mounted gear boxes, wing fuel tanks or cells, landing gear mechanisms, wheels, brakes and tires.

This position was posted to run 12/12/2018 until 01/11/2019 with a salary range of $29.53 to $39.14 per hour on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers a free Introduction to Aerodynamics course on EdX.org (link opens in a new tab) with the option to pay a small fee receive a verified certificate upon completion of the course.

By taking this course, you’ll learn:

  • Basics of aerodynamics.
  • Fundamentals of potential flows from subsonic to supersonic speeds.
  • Viscous flows including laminar and turbulent boundary layers.
  • Aerodynamic models of airfoils and wings.

Avionics Technician Career Video Transcript

Avionics technicians keep airplanes in the sky. They repair and maintain components used to keep flights running smoothly. Whether they test the aircraft’s navigation and weather radar to keep it safely on-route, or fine-tune radio communications to keep pilots in touch with the experts on the ground, avionics technicians take care of the systems that we depend on for long-distance travel. Dealing with noise, vibration, and heavy equipment is a common part of every shift.

These technicians must analyze complex electronic problems and develop safe, workable solutions. Often, the work is done on a deadline to turn around aircraft due to get back up in the air, in a matter of hours. This is one of the highest paid technical professions, and it’s easy to see why. The work is very complex and vitally important.

Avionics technicians work for airlines, manufacturers, and at repair facilities. Training is available at trade schools certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. An engineering background can be helpful. Certification is not required if you work under a certified technician, but higher pay and better opportunities may be available if you earn a certificate, which requires written, oral, and competency tests. This is a job where safety can never take a back seat to schedule.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians.

National Center for O*NET Development. 49-3011.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.