What Does An Aircraft Mechanic Do?
Aircraft mechanics have the important job of repairing and maintaining different kinds of aircraft. They follow strict safety guidelines to make sure that each aircraft is in proper working condition and ready to fly safely and consistently.
Aircraft mechanics can work for a variety of employers, including:
- Private Organizations
- Government Agencies
- Commercial Airlines
- Airport Bases
Aircraft mechanics work on all sorts of aircraft, including military, commercial, and private:
- Ultralight aircraft
Aircraft mechanics have to follow strict and detailed maintenance schedules for each aircraft. These schedules are regulated to meet specific standards required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure routine safety checks occur. This is when aircraft mechanics look for, identify, and analyze any wear and tear or damage to parts of the aircraft before a problem occurs. This means that aircraft mechanics must know what tests to perform to inspect the aircraft, and how to understand the test results to decide what to do next.
In order to repair and maintain different types of aircraft, an aircraft mechanic has to complete detailed examinations of all the different systems of the aircraft, including:
Some aircraft mechanics are called generalists and are trained to work on all different types of aircraft, others choose to specialize and only work on a certain type of aircraft. Some take their specialty even further, and receive advanced training to work on only a specific system, or part, of a certain aircraft.
One very specific specialty is an avionics technician, this is the mechanic that is in charge of maintaining and repairing the electronic instruments of the aircraft, including the navigation, radar and radio systems.
Aircraft mechanics use many different tools to inspect and diagnose each aircraft part and system, including:
- Hand and Mechanical Tools
- Diagnostic Devices
These tools give them the information they need to decide whether the part needs to be repaired or replaced. Aircraft mechanics must be able to read and understand complicated maintenance and repair manuals for each aircraft. They must follow the detailed instructions outlined in the manual, as well as read and understand the different gauges, instruments, and diagnostic tools.
As technology continues to advance, more and more parts of each aircraft are operated with complex computer programming and software. Some aircraft mechanics are required to learn how to assess, update, and repair computer software systems.
Another part of the inspection takes place when an aircraft mechanic looks very carefully for any signs of corrosion or cracking on the exterior of the plane, including the body, wings, and tail. This is accomplished by using x-ray and magnetic inspection equipment.
Sometimes aircraft mechanics have to look at the detailed flight information of the aircraft to figure out if something might be wrong with it. They use this information along with the information they learn from their inspection to figure out the problem.
Another part of an aircraft mechanic’s job is to keep a detailed record of all maintenance and repair for each aircraft. This is how aircraft mechanics communicate with each other about what has been repaired and replaced on each aircraft, and what wear and tear has been observed. This maintenance and repair log stays with the aircraft until it is no longer in service.
If an aircraft mechanic is having a hard time figuring out what is wrong with an aircraft, they can look more carefully at the repair and maintenance log to see if they can identify any patterns or clues that might help them figure out the problem. They may have to troubleshoot, which means they must test several different parts at the same time, and in different combinations, to figure out what the problem is.
Once a problem has been identified, the aircraft mechanic documents and reports the problem as required. Then, when the repair has been completed, they must run the necessary tests to make sure that the repair was successful and the aircraft is working properly. After that, the aircraft mechanic can clear the aircraft for continued flight.
If the aircraft mechanic decides that a part needs to be replaced, then they must inspect and test the replacement part to make sure it is working correctly and doesn’t have any manufacturing defects before they install it. After installation, they test it again to make sure they installed it correctly. They must always follow all guidelines and safety rules.
Successful aircraft mechanics must be very observant and able to notice tiny details, patterns and connections to try and figure out what is causing a problem. They must be able to use high tech tools accurately, and follow complicated directions exactly to repair and replace damaged parts.