Aircraft maintenance technicians are highly observant, detail-oriented,
dexterous professionals who inspect, maintain, and repair different types of
aircraft. They notice and draw accurate conclusions about information provided
by engine noises and gauge data to determine whether aircraft systems are
in need of repair or replacement. They complete technical trainings, interpret
complex repair manuals, and adjust airline parts to precise specifications.
Aircraft technicians are proficient with a variety of power and precision tools
used in aircraft maintenance operations. They are able to coordinate finger
and hand movements to manipulate and adjust parts, carry and move heavy
equipment, and maintain balance while climbing on airplanes.
Aircraft maintenance technicians perform scheduled maintenance and repairs
to ensure that airplanes are in safe operating condition. They interpret gauges
and use diagnostic tools to conduct tests of instruments and parts of aircraft.
They study flight information and examine parts to identify mechanical and
electrical issues. They read complex manuals to learn repair procedures
and utilize a variety of hand and power tools to replace defective parts
and address problems. Finally, aircraft maintenance technicians conduct
inspections to ensure completed work is up to standard and keep records
of repair work. In all of their work, maintenance technicians are required to
follow rules and equipment maintenance schedules established by the Federal
Although many aircraft maintenance technicians work on different parts
of aircraft, many become experts on one section, such as the engine, the
hydraulic system, or the electrical system. Others specialize on a single
aircraft type, including jets, helicopters, or piston-driven airplanes
maintenance technician school that is certified by the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA). Others are trained on the job after they receive a high
school diploma or during military service. FAA regulations require that
aircraft maintenance must be done either by FAA-certified mechanics or
individuals working under the supervision of certified mechanics. Separate
certifications are offered for airframe (“A”) mechanics, or body work, and
powerplant (“P) mechanics, or engine work.
FAA-certified mechanics must be at least 18 years old, speak fluent English,
and have 30 months of experience to qualify to receive “A,” “P,” or “A&P”
certification. They also must pass oral, written, and practical examinations
within a two-year time frame. There also are coursework and experience
requirements for maintaining FAA certification.
Avionics technicians, those who specialize in electronic and flight
instrument systems, can work to receive Aircraft Electronics Technician
(AET) certification from the National Center for Aerospace Transportation