Q: What does an aircraft mechanic do?
A: When planes or helicopters are in need of maintenance or repair, it’s an aircraft mechanic that gets the craft up and running smoothly. Your typical daily activities will look a little something like:
- Running diagnostics to determine any issues
- Fix any parts that are in need of fixing
- Inspect for defects
- Test all the parts using equipment
- Repair according to the aircraft manual instructions
- Keep diligent and detailed records
- Use high tech precision instruments
You’ll be trained to work on many different types of aircraft, from jets to planes to helicopters and beyond. You can also choose to specialize on specific parts such as wings, motors, hydraulic systems, or any other part of an aircraft you want.
Q: How do I become an aircraft mechanic?
A: Before you can even enter an aircraft mechanic program, there are some prerequisites for you to check off:
- Be a minimum of 18 years old.
- Be able to read, write, and speak English.
If you’re ready to become an aircraft mechanic, then follow these steps:
- Apply to a Part 147 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved program. Or …
- Receive a minimum of 18 months on-the-job training, or learn through the military.
- Pass both the written and practical parts of the FAA exam.
- There are three different written exams, and you have two years from the time you complete your training to take them: the AMT General test, the AMT Airframe Test, or the AMT Powerplant test. The general test has 60 questions, and the other two exams have 100 questions. You have two hours and must receive a minimum of 70 percent to pass.
- The practical test has both an oral and practical portion, where you will show how well you know your stuff. There are 43 subject areas, and the exam is given by a FAA Designated Examiner. There is a different test for each certification (General, Airframe, and Powerplant).
- Once you pass both portions of your exam, you can apply for a job.
- Join professional organizations such as the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association or the AMT Society.
Q: What is an aircraft mechanic salary?
A: As an aircraft mechanic, you’ll earn a median annual salary of more than $60K, with the top ten percent in your field earning over the $87K mark. The top paying industries you may want to work in are scheduled air transportation, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, and the federal government. Top paying states are Kentucky, Washington, Nevada, Maryland, and Georgia.
Q: Will it be hard to find a job?
A: The employment growth for aircraft mechanics is going to remain about average, with 6,400 jobs remaining available through 2026. However, there will be more air traffic than ever, which means more maintenance and repairs on those aircraft to keep them flying safely. And, jobs will be available as older aircraft mechanics retire. But many airlines are outsourcing, which could possibly negatively impact domestic positions.