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Career profile Aircraft Mechanic

Also known as Aircraft Maintenance Technician (Aircraft Maintenance Tech), Aircraft Mechanic, Aircraft Restorer, Aircraft Technician, Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A P Mechanic), Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT), Aviation Mechanic, Helicopter Mechanic

Aircraft Mechanic

Also known as Aircraft Maintenance Technician (Aircraft Maintenance Tech), Aircraft Mechanic, Aircraft Restorer

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$38,970 - $103,880 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Repairing
  • Operations Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Examine and inspect aircraft components, including landing gear, hydraulic systems, and deicers to locate cracks, breaks, leaks, or other problems.
  • Conduct routine and special inspections as required by regulations.
  • Inspect completed work to certify that maintenance meets standards and that aircraft are ready for operation.
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What does an Aircraft Mechanic do?

Aircraft Mechanics diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

What kind of tasks does an Aircraft Mechanic perform regularly?

Aircraft Mechanics are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Examine and inspect aircraft components, including landing gear, hydraulic systems, and deicers to locate cracks, breaks, leaks, or other problems.
  • Conduct routine and special inspections as required by regulations.
  • Inspect completed work to certify that maintenance meets standards and that aircraft are ready for operation.
  • Read and interpret maintenance manuals, service bulletins, and other specifications to determine the feasibility and method of repairing or replacing malfunctioning or damaged components.
  • Maintain repair logs, documenting all preventive and corrective aircraft maintenance.
  • Inspect airframes for wear or other defects.
  • Modify aircraft structures, space vehicles, systems, or components, following drawings, schematics, charts, engineering orders, and technical publications.
  • Measure parts for wear, using precision instruments.
  • Obtain fuel and oil samples and check them for contamination.
  • Maintain, repair, and rebuild aircraft structures, functional components, and parts, such as wings and fuselage, rigging, hydraulic units, oxygen systems, fuel systems, electrical systems, gaskets, or seals.
  • Read and interpret pilots' descriptions of problems to diagnose causes.
  • Replace or repair worn, defective, or damaged components, using hand tools, gauges, and testing equipment.
  • Test operation of engines and other systems, using test equipment, such as ignition analyzers, compression checkers, distributor timers, or ammeters.
  • Measure the tension of control cables.
  • Spread plastic film over areas to be repaired to prevent damage to surrounding areas.
  • Assemble and install electrical, plumbing, mechanical, hydraulic, and structural components and accessories, using hand or power tools.
  • Remove or install aircraft engines, using hoists or forklift trucks.
  • Fabricate defective sections or parts, using metal fabricating machines, saws, brakes, shears, and grinders.
  • Locate and mark dimensions and reference lines on defective or replacement parts, using templates, scribes, compasses, and steel rules.
  • Reassemble engines following repair or inspection and reinstall engines in aircraft.
  • Service and maintain aircraft and related apparatus by performing activities such as flushing crankcases, cleaning screens, and or moving parts.
  • Clean, refuel, and change oil in line service aircraft.
  • Trim and shape replacement body sections to specified sizes and fits and secure sections in place, using adhesives, hand tools, and power tools.
  • Install and align repaired or replacement parts for subsequent riveting or welding, using clamps and wrenches.
  • Remove or cut out defective parts or drill holes to gain access to internal defects or damage, using drills and punches.
  • Accompany aircraft on flights to make in-flight adjustments and corrections.
  • Inventory and requisition or order supplies, parts, materials, and equipment.
  • Clean, strip, prime, and sand structural surfaces and materials to prepare them for bonding.
  • Communicate with other workers to coordinate fitting and alignment of heavy parts, or to facilitate processing of repair parts.

The above responsibilities are specific to Aircraft Mechanics. More generally, Aircraft Mechanics are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

What is an Aircraft Mechanic salary?

The median salary for an Aircraft Mechanic is $66,440, and the average salary is $69,040. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Aircraft Mechanic salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Aircraft Mechanics earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Aircraft Mechanics earn less than $38,970 per year, 25% earn less than $51,760, 75% earn less than $85,400, and 90% earn less than $103,880.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Aircraft Mechanics is expected to change by 11.8%, and there should be roughly 12,700 open positions for Aircraft Mechanics every year.

Median annual salary
$66,440
Typical salary range
$38,970 - $103,880
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
11.8%

What personality traits are common among Aircraft Mechanics?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Aircraft Mechanic are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Aircraft Mechanics typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Aircraft Mechanics typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Aircraft Mechanic tend to value Support, Working Conditions, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Aircraft Mechanics very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Aircraft Mechanics moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Aircraft Mechanics moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Aircraft Mechanics must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, integrity, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Aircraft Mechanics, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Aircraft Mechanics need?

Aircraft Mechanics often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Aircraft Mechanics usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Aircraft Mechanics

  • 3.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 25.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 37.0% completed some college coursework
  • 22.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 9.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.5% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Aircraft Mechanics

Aircraft Mechanics may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, engineering and technology, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Aircraft Mechanics might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Important Abilities needed by Aircraft Mechanics

Aircraft Mechanics must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Aircraft Mechanics need abilities such as written comprehension, problem sensitivity, and information ordering in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Aircraft Mechanics, ranked by their relative importance.

Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.

Critical Skills needed by Aircraft Mechanics

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Aircraft Mechanics frequently use skills like equipment maintenance, repairing, and operations monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Aircraft Mechanics, ranked by their relative importance.

Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Troubleshooting
Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.