How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic: With Steps and Skills
Updated 27 March 2023
Aircraft mechanics oversee the regular operation of various aircraft vehicles, from helicopters to planes. They undergo advanced training to ensure the components and systems properly work before the aircraft flies. This career can be a noteworthy option for people who enjoy completing technical work in the aviation industry. In this article, we explain how to become an aircraft mechanic and list the top skills and qualifications you may use to succeed in this career.
How to become an aircraft mechanic
Learning how to become an aircraft mechanic can help you plan your personal career path. Aircraft mechanics have a highly technical job. Undertaking advanced training can play a big role in making you eligible to work in your dream company. Therefore, understanding how to conduct analyses and operate significant components can make you more productive during your job. The steps outlined below are one of the many ways you can become an aircraft mechanic:
1. Earn a high school degree
The basic requirement for mechanics is to finish their high school education. You can opt for subjects like construction, math, science and engineering, which sets a robust foundation in this field. Some schools also offer extra-curriculum activities related to aviation to let you establish your identity and gain familiarity with aircraft. This step prepares you to start your official training effectively.
2. Gain certification
To gain reputable certification in Australia, you can complete a Certificate IV in Aero skills and achieve CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) Part 66 LAME licensing that provides specific training to suit your interest and personality. With this, you can choose to specialise in avionics or mechanical or opt for a double diploma to help you increase your career options and employability.
3. Complete on-the-job training
Once you've completed your education and certification, try undertaking on-the-job training with a more experienced aircraft mechanic to help you qualify for your job. For example, if you spend 18 months in an entry-level job position, you may gain aircraft technician certification instantly. Then, depending on your speciality, you can choose to do on-the-job training in more specialised roles. Hands-on helps position you as an expert in your industry and makes your resume stand out from the rest.
Related: What Is On-the-Job Training?
4. Study aircraft mechanic handbooks
The aviation rules vary according to the country where you live. Before you start your first job, obtain a complete understanding of the aviation market and regulations to ensure you meet all the local guidelines. You can use that knowledge to answer skill-based interview questions from your hiring managers.
5. Apply for jobs
After you've obtained sufficient done on-the-job training, you may consider applying for higher-level positions. You might discover internal opportunities at the company where your internship or entry-level position takes place. Alternatively, you may research your desired companies. You can do this by creating a list of your favourite companies and sending out a tailored version of your resume and a cover letter. The key is to include proof and statistics from your certifications past jobs to make your resume appealing.
6. Seek inspection authorisation
Usually, aircraft mechanics pursue Inspection Authorisation (IA) after their initial three years of experience in the industry. IA is an advanced level certification that teaches you to master aircraft inspection and sign off aircraft repair stations. The requirements for IA certification include working from a fixed location, passing a written inspection exam and having access to aircraft inspection equipment. Doing this helps you understand the daily operations of an aircraft mechanic and prepares you to start your first job.
What does an aircraft mechanic do?
Aircraft mechanics ensure the aircraft model meets the safety and operational requirements of people. They examine, maintain and repair the vehicles like planes using their advanced aviation training. Besides that, here are some of the typical responsibilities of an aircraft mechanic:
Inspecting aircraft's systems
Aircraft inspection means carefully examining vital components like de-icers, hydraulic systems, breaks, leaks and landing equipment to ensure the aircraft is ready to fly. They consider both internal and external factors that may keep the flight safe for the passengers. This procedure usually includes inspecting systems, measuring the components, drafting reports and completing the aircraft.
Diagnosing operational issues
Before the aircraft is ready, aircraft mechanics run frequent tests and carry out complete vehicle diagnostics on the safety tools and engines to help them make the necessary changes. These checks keep the vehicle in the best shape possible. Mechanics do this by thoroughly inspecting the hand tool, adhesive and power tools that ensure the aircraft runs smoothly and safely during flight.
Measuring aircraft parts
Aircraft mechanics use precision instruments and gauges to measure aircraft parts and identify corrosion in the body. Components become worn out over time and typically cause this corrosion. If they find signs of wear in these elements, they usually use replacement body parts or cure bonded structures to bring back the aircraft in this ideal condition.
A big part of a mechanic's job is to study the instructional manuals and interpret the information accordingly. They read, analyse and comprehend manuals to troubleshoot problems, locate components and follow the operational sequence. This information helps them diagnose and repair damaged parts with ease.
The day-to-day task of aircraft mechanics is to complete repairs and get the vehicle ready for the next flight. They usually do this by either repairing the damaged components or replacing the broken part with replacement parts. Aircraft mechanics use cleaning screens, flushing crankcases and lubricating products that speed up their performance.
Documenting maintenance records
Having a detailed record of the ongoing procedures and maintenance helps them inspect their team members' productivity, evaluate the aircraft's performance and utilise the supportive details for other engineers to refer to later. Thus, aviation mechanics usually write and update vital industry details and create regulations, which can later help form the equipment's instructional manual. When recording essential data, they may use industry-specific terminology.
Skills for aircraft mechanics
Aircraft mechanics combine their hard and soft skills to prepare vehicles and maintain an enjoyable environment at work. They usually possess special advanced technical skills which help them work with aircraft equipment. Here are some of the skills you might use as an aircraft mechanic:
Attention to detail
Paying attention to minor changes helps you excel in your job and improves your overall services. Thus, most employers may conduct a few tests to see your perception skills, attentiveness and ability to offer quality work. You may improve your attention to detail skills by observing your environment and sharpening your research skills.
Carrying out regular repairs requires you to be patient, focused and persistent. Therefore, having good endurance may help you finish your maintenance tasks with ease and become more proficient in your work. Most successful aircraft mechanics also take frequent strategic breaks to stay focused on their work.
Dexterity skill is where you have excellent hand-eye coordination to assemble any large and small components of a vehicle. You usually build these skills during months of training, years of experience and techniques to boost your stamina and cognitive ability. This way, you can improve your agility and ability to provide better work.
Most of your job involves communicating with your teammates and generating reports for the maintenance update. Therefore, it's crucial to have exceptional written and verbal communication skills to help you address aircraft operations. You can improve this skill by socialising outside of work and employing active listening. Some of the other scenarios where you'd use communication skills include:
understanding written information in the instructional manual
speaking clearly to help your colleagues and managers understand
listening to others and asking thoughtful questions
having clear handwriting to help others understand the context
Average aircraft mechanic salary
The average salary for an aircraft mechanic is $62,930 per year in Australia. Depending on the company, its range can vary from $26,900 to $77,200. In this career, you may also receive transportatuon, benefits and housing.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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