Mechanics often repair aircraft wings, brakes, electrical systems, motors, bodywork, and other components using hand tools, power tools, and other industry-specific equipment. Mechanics also perform preventive care, or scheduled maintenance, at regular intervals. Airlines, government, private companies and the military hire aircraft mechanics to repair and perform scheduled maintenance of aircraft and helicopters. The jobs of aircraft mechanics are often stressful.
They are under pressure to identify and repair mechanical problems quickly so that airlines can maintain strict flight schedules. More importantly, they are responsible for the safety of passengers and aircraft crew. Air traffic is expected to increase gradually over the next decade, and will require additional aircraft maintenance, including that performed on new aircraft. Some aircraft and avionics mechanics and technicians learn their trade at an aviation maintenance technician school approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Because they are tasked with routine maintenance, A&P mechanics must measure aircraft wear using X-rays or ultrasonic inspection equipment. They have an enormous responsibility when it comes to maintaining and inspecting aircraft for service and compliance with safety regulations, as this can affect people's lives. Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians use and maintain equipment used to develop, test, produce and maintain aircraft and spacecraft. Aircraft mechanics are responsible for diagnosing, maintaining, adjusting and repairing aircraft, and service technicians are generalist mechanics who focus on engines and assemblies.
The more experience you have and the more aircraft you can competently maintain, the more money you earn as a mechanic. To become a specialized mechanic, you need to earn higher qualifications to be able to focus on the engine, hydraulic or electrical systems of a given aircraft. Aircraft maintenance technicians have an A&P license, and other industries also like to hire people with this certification. FAA rules state that certified mechanics must have at least one thousand hours of work experience in any two-year period or must take refresher courses in aviation technology and repair.
Most aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians learn their trade at an aviation maintenance technician school approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or on the job. Some mechanics and aircraft service technicians enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training to learn their skills and be able to pass FAA exams. To receive the fuselage license, applicants must have knowledge of aircraft inspection, wood, sheet metal and composite structures, and fuselage electricity. Aeronautical and avionics mechanics and technicians often lift heavy objects, handle hazardous chemicals, or operate large power tools.
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