Do you aspire to become an aircraft mechanic? Like cars, aircraft require regular maintenance. In no time, this article will explain all you need to know on how to become an aircraft mechanic.
The aeroplane continues to be the fastest means of transportation since its invention. It can conveniently move passengers across cities or countries within hours. Nevertheless, they can get faulty, endangering the lives of passengers.
A little engine fault could cause an aeroplane to lose its flight abilities. Airlines and air authorities run regular checks to ensure an aircraft is air-worthy before taking flight.
Get set as we explore the entire process of becoming an aircraft mechanic, from schooling to training and certifications.
Table of Contents
- Who is an Aircraft Mechanic?
- How to become an aircraft mechanic – Learning Path
- Qualities and skills of a Good aircraft mechanic
Who is an Aircraft Mechanic?
Before learning how to become an aircraft mechanic, it is crucial to understand what the job role entails. In the basic sense, you may assume that all the mechanic does is fix the aircraft when it’s faulty. But, could that be all?
While it is true that these mechanics fix aircraft frameworks, their specialty extends beyond aeroplanes alone, including other aircraft like jets, choppers, and helicopters.
That being so, aircraft mechanics examine the mechanical components and analyze breakdowns. Aircraft mechanics use power and hand tools like torque wrenches to fix mechanical faults.
These faults could be engine faults, landing gear faults, and other components crucial to the aircraft’s operations.
In summary, aircraft mechanics inspect and perform preventive maintenance, repairs, and alterations of aircraft systems. They can go by aircraft maintenance technician (AMT) or aviation maintenance technician.
Let’s look at some roles and responsibilities of an aircraft mechanic.
Assessing aircraft frameworks
Aircraft maintenance technicians cautiously look at an aircraft’s outside and inner components. They undertake routine investigations to diagnose possible issues and clear the aircraft for flight.
Diagnosing functional issues
You will learn how to run several tests when learning how to become an aircraft mechanic. Some issues may not be outright to the eyes for quick repairs. Hence, you will have to run diagnostic tests on motors and even electrical lines to determine the fault.
Don’t worry, as they are specialized devices to run these checks. An example is the onboard maintenance diagnostics systems, but you may need to connect a laptop to retrieve the fault codes.
Estimating aircraft parts
Sometimes, the faulty component may require a replacement, and the aircraft mechanic has to know when full replacement is required in place of repairs.
Aircraft parts will undergo wear and tear over extended periods of continuous service. Therefore, aircraft mechanics must estimate the need for replacement correctly.
Aircraft manufacturers always provide a user manual essential for checks, repairs, and in-flight safety. Pilots usually refer to them when they experience difficulties with a specific issue.
The quickest way to diagnose a fault might be to refer to the aircraft’s manual. That being so, an aircraft mechanic must be skilled in interpreting codes, diagrams, and schematics.
Repair or Replace Parts
Aircraft maintenance technicians constantly carry out needed repairs on components. However, some parts may get damaged beyond repair, warranting replacement.
Repairs could involve the removal of the component by unscrewing bolts and nuts or unplugging connectors. The components can be small as nuts or large, requiring overhead cranes to get them removed.
Cleaning Mechanical Parts
Aircraft maintenance has to follow strict procedures. Imagine testing an alarm system on a Boeing aircraft without informing the manufacturers. That could set off unwanted alarms in many quarters.
However, the procedures are less obvious on other occasions, like selecting the right solvent and degreaser to clean soiled parts. Aircraft cleaning is crucial to its longevity and overall safety in flight, and different cleaners cause different reactions to materials like aluminum, steel, and plastic parts.
Aircraft mechanics must select the right cleaners to keep parts free of dirt or grease. A vivid example will be cleaning the actuator in the wing section, and a wrong agent could damage the part.
Every maintenance, check, and repair has to be recorded, and this record will help the technicians and engineers keep track of the work done on the aircraft.
That being so, aircraft mechanics have to keep a detailed record of every work they perform on the aircraft. It is an essential part of the industry’s guidelines as they work to provide safe flights for passengers.
These roles are not exhaustive, but they should give you an overview of what you will be doing on the job. Now that we’ve looked at that let’s see what qualities you need to build to become an aircraft mechanic.
How to become an aircraft mechanic – Learning Path
In this section, you will know the path you have to follow from high school to professional certifications. I must admit that the journey is arduous, but if you keep at it, you will become the aircraft professional you desire.
Wondering what the educational requirements are on how to become an aircraft mechanic? Keep reading this article to know what you need to do to get your certifications as an AMT.
Get a High school degree or GED.
One of the necessities for becoming an aircraft mechanic is having high school training. You have to complete your high school education or get a GED.
Consider taking elective classes connected with the field of aircraft technicians. They could be aeronautics or mechanical. Either way, you will gain valuable knowledge of the mechanical systems in the airplane.
Courses in math, science, designing and development can assist you in laying a solid foundation for your career. Even better is finding schools that offer shop classes where a trained professional will take you on the basics.
Where do you go after you have completed your high school or GED? Do you jump straight into college? Keep reading to learn more.
It would be best to do your research to know what aircraft technician you want to be. Becoming an aircraft mechanic can become complicated if you don’t know which area to specialize in.
The Federal Aviation Authorities in the United States have two aircraft mechanics tiers, namely, airframe maintenance specialists and powerplant technicians.
Airframe mechanics conduct thorough inspections of aircraft frames and electrical and mechanical components to locate wear, defects, and other faults. On the other hand, powerplant technicians focus on the aircraft’s engines, rotors, electric motors, and fuel systems.
Now that you know both areas of specialization, you can decide what type of aircraft mechanic to become. Nonetheless, you can become a professional in both areas.
If you like this article on how to become an aircraft mechanic, please share it with your friends. Now that you know what type of mechanic you want to become, progress in obtaining a college degree or attend a technical school.
Obtain Technical Education
Technical education provides the necessities for becoming an aircraft mechanic. You have to get this training from a licensed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technical school.
In an Aviation Maintenance Technical School (AMTS), you’ll require 400 hours on essential aircraft repairman basics and 750 hours on either airframe or powerplant classes. However, you’ll need 1500 hours if you want to master both airframe and powerplant.
The entire AMT program can take from eighteen months to two years, but it will be worth it. Be that as it may, you will find everything on how to become an aircraft mechanic in the technical school.
You will most likely go through the following courses during your training:
- Power, physical science, water power, aircraft operations, specialized drawings, and aircraft maintenance.
- Documentation practices, corrosion prevention, airframe assessment, and aircraft instruments.
- Welding, fuel frameworks, danger cautioning frameworks, turbine motors, and start frameworks.
Pursuing proper training in aircraft mechanics is the ideal way to become an aircraft mechanic. You will have an organized system to learn the rudiments of the field and grow your knowledge.
However, the AMTS has related costs like educational expenses that you should consider before applying. Don’t hesitate to pursue your dreams.
On-the-job Training (OTJ)
You will have to spend at least a year and a half in a professional clime to boost your chances of obtaining a practicing license. This environment will expose you to airframe repairs or powerplant mechanics.
Nevertheless, you can decide to go for airframe repairs or power plant maintenance separately, and doing both will require thirty months of on-the-job training.
You can complete your OTJ aircraft repairman training through the military or regular citizens program. The Joint Service Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification Council (JSAMTCC) offers aircraft repairman training for individuals from the military.
You can apply for the military OTJ program by submitting the required papers to a Flight Standards District Office. Then, the JSAMTCC will plan and record your OTJ exercises for the FAA upon completion.
You don’t have to follow the military’s approach on how to become an aircraft mechanic. Regular aircraft upkeep terminals provide OTJ training to citizens, whether as a business or charitable effort.
However, you will have to record your experience to painstakingly demonstrate your aircraft repair proficiency. Keep a definite log of your activities, jobs, materials, and devices.
You may even have to record how long it takes to carry out certain repairs and the kinds of aircraft you’ve worked with. This training has to be done under the supervision of a certified aircraft technician, whichever is the case.
Concentrate on aircraft mechanic handbooks and codes
These books are crucial in keeping you informed of the FAA rules and guidelines. Understanding FAA codes is a significant piece of your certification test, so invest energy in its handbooks and flight codes.
Studying these materials will prepare you for the examinations when you apply for your license or certification. Remember, the aircraft is a fragile transport media that requires rapt attention.
FAA accreditation tests
The next step on how to become an aircraft mechanic is to take the accreditation tests. You will have to plan for the certification, which incorporates composed tests, oral interviews, and field appraisals.
The entire process begins with a comprehensive information-composed test comprising sixty questions. Depending on your expertise, you may take the airframe test or powerplant test.
Notwithstanding, you can take both tests if you are pursuing full certifications. An accomplished inspector will run an in-person interview once you have successfully passed the tests.
The FAA has always been kind to provide mock tests and materials before the certification process. You can practice with them and build up your confidence. Don’t worry, and a little more effort will take you across the finish line.
You have to work in the end, don’t you? All the studies and tests were to prepare you for a career as an aircraft mechanic.
After your OTJ training and certification, you can proceed to work for your former company or search for an opening elsewhere. Get your CV ready and throw in applications in as many places as possible.
Also, you can join professional bodies like the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association or the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association. Becoming part of them might boost your chances of landing a job.
After gaining three years’ experience as a licensed aircraft mechanic, you can go for an Inspection Authorization. This level is the highest if you learn how to become an aircraft mechanic.
IA ensures airplane mechanics have the approval to finish FAA-commanded airplane reviews, approve significant fixes and work their airplane fix stations. The prerequisites for this license include airplane diagnosis and completing a composed investigation test.
Qualities and skills of a Good aircraft mechanic
When thinking of how to become an aircraft mechanic, you may likely focus on the technical aspects, however, the process begins from inside you.
You have to develop certain skills to provide efficient services. Take a look at the Boeing 737, for instance. That airplane has 367,000 parts working together to keep the plane airborne and provide passengers with a safe and comfortable flying experience.
These skills are inert and may not come from external training. Notwithstanding, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn these skills.
Here are the top skills you need to have if you are learning how to become an aircraft mechanic:
Attention to details
During checks and diagnosis, you have to pay close attention to details. It is a crucial skill to discover faults that otherwise remain hidden or cunny.
Remember that the safety of the passengers depends on the air plane’s systems. Hence, you need to develop a keen eye for faults when running checks on the aircraft.
In your duties, you may work with little parts or huge components during servicing or repairs. This process takes skill and the ability to rapidly and precisely roll out mechanical improvements.
Therefore, you need to develop agility on your feet and hands to carry out the needed activities.
Sometimes, carrying out fixes on an aircraft requires strength and perseverance, and the faults may need prolonged efforts to be corrected. How is your concentration game?
I asked that question because you may need to spend hours on one task to get it fixed. Also, the workspaces may not always be ideal, with some being tight, dull, and boisterous. In those moments, you must persevere in carrying out the needed repairs.
In the end, we all want the aircraft to be flight-ready. Don’t we? You may have to endure muscular pains while running repairs on the aircraft.
This skill is crucial if you are pursuing how to become an aircraft mechanic. Notwithstanding, let’s look at more skills. These will need more of your brain than your body, though.
Remember when we spoke of operational manuals from the manufacturers? New built-in aircraft technology records its faults and presents them as a series of codes.
It would be best if you had manuals to interpret those codes and know what you have to do at that point. Hold on a minute. I know you want to be a guru but don’t forget that you did not build the aircraft.
There will be manuals, diagrams, and repair procedures that you will need to decipher in the repair process. Some of these data will be complex, while others may be simple. Nevertheless, you have to interpret them accurately and get the job done.
Specialists, pilots, and different engineers/technicians must work together to keep an aircraft operational. Pilots usually detect faults during flight and report such to the control towers.
Sometimes, you will need the pilots to describe what they experienced during the flight accurately. This process calls for stellar communication skills. That being so, you must develop skills to communicate with different personas in finding faults and fixing them.
You don’t have to go at it alone. Most times, you will be working in a team, meaning that the task spreads across the members. It would be best to learn efficient communication strategies to get the job done.
No, I’m not referring to Sherlock Holmes’ investigative prowess, but you will need to be a good investigator if you learn how to become an aircraft mechanic.
Investigation calls for keen eyes as you run visual checks on the faulty components to know more. In the process, you will have to carry out critical thinking to track down the mechanical issues on the aircraft.
Are these all the skills? Not at all. There is more you need to develop in your training and on the job. The crucial thing is to build your personality to fit the work requirements.
Remember that the airlines need your certification to put the aircraft in service. If you don’t certify them as ok, they cannot fly passengers to their destinations. Hence, you must gather all the necessary skills to carry out your duties professionally and without hiccups.
This article on how to become an aircraft mechanic is in no way exhaustive. The process can become intense as you progress from a high school degree or a GED. Notwithstanding, you will enjoy every bit of the journey.
Aircraft mechanics carry out repairs on air transport vehicles. You can either train as an airframe repairman or a powerplant technician. You can become both, but you’ll need more study hours.
The journey continues from an Aviation Maintenance Technical School to on-the-job training. Then you can proceed to obtain an FAA license and begin your professional journey. Good luck.