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The Requirements Behind Becoming an Aircraft Mechanic

Jun 26, 2008
Do you desire to be an aircraft mechanic? Well, that is a great career choice. New pilots are continuously emerging, and being an aircraft mechanic is an important job, one whose goal is to keep pilots safe. There will always be a need for good mechanics, as airfields couldn't function in their absence.

Figuring out what type of planes you want to work on is the first step to becoming an aircraft mechanic. Much like a car mechanic deciding if he wants to repair Porsche sports cars, Ford trucks, or tractors, you need to determine what you want to do with your mechanic's license. For instance, you might choose to specialize in working on helicopters, small personal planes, commercial aircraft, or even military jets. Take the time to figure out exactly what your goals are before you choose a program of study.

Then, decide on a good aircraft maintenance school. Most schools will require that you pass not just written and oral tests before receiving your FAA Mechanic certificate, but a practical examination too. Don't worry; the school will train you for all of this. Bear in mind, however, that it is of the utmost importance that you enroll in a school that is suited for your needs. Is a four-year degree what you want? If so you should attend a four-year university that has a maintenance study program. Universities offering degrees in aviation management or aircraft engineering will often offer aircraft maintenance programs. Do you just want the certificate? In that case, a privately operated technical school or public community college is most likely the correct choice for your situation.

It is in your best interest to research any program of study before entering it. This research and a careful weighing of options will help ensure that you end up with a successful career as an aircraft mechanic. Certified mechanic schools must offer students a minimum of 1,900 class hours according to FAA standards established by law. Providing training with the tools and equipment used on the job, school coursework usually lasts from 18 to 24 months. With a good school, about 80 percent of your time should be devoted to learning practical on-the-job skills under the supervision of well qualified instructors. Enroll in a school that will train you on the latest industry-standard equipment; using old worn-out tools is not beneficial in the long run.

Training for aircraft mechanics isn't about sitting in lecture halls and taking tests. One of the things you'll find yourself doing, while studying aircraft mechanics, is taking apart and reassembling engines and entire aircraft systems. You will do this repeatedly to help you better understand how they work. Using a combination of hands-on experience and classroom lecture, aircraft mechanic students will be taught the upkeep of every part of an aircraft, becoming experts in aircraft maintenance and repair.

Once school is over, you still won't have your license, however. According to FAA regulations, in order to receive your license, you must still log 18 months of supervised work to take either the airframe or power plant licensing test or 30 months of work to take them both. This is called the combined A&P test. Your supervising mechanic must document and sign off on all of your work time or you are required to obtain a notarized statement from your employer.

After this, you will have the education and the hours behind you to apply for your license. But remember, this is only after many long work days spent under, in, or on top of a plane. Once you have your license, keep in mind that you are the most essential person on the airfield; enjoy it because you have earned it. Without your expertise, people could die. So take pride in your chosen career and do well.
About the Author
As a pilot, James Bunter has blown his share of Aviation Supply and instruments. That's why he goes to the expert mechanics at TGH Aviation supply when he needs to buy or repair his aviation GPS, The Gyro House, altimeter, or altitude encoder. He knows these are the best avionics mechanics out there, and he chooses the best in order to keep himself and his passengers safe.
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