& Other Requirements
Aircraft mechanics must do careful and thorough work that
requires a high degree of mechanical aptitude. Employers seek
applicants who are self-motivated, hard-working, enthusiastic,
and able to diagnose and solve complex mechanical problems.
Agility is important for the reaching and climbing necessary
to perform the job. Because they may work on the top of wings
and fuselages on large jet planes, aircraft mechanics must
not be afraid of heights.
Rapidly changing aircraft technology means
that aircraft mechanics are constantly updating their skills
and knowledge to maintain aircraft in safe flying condition.
Advances in computer technology, aircraft systems, and the
materials used to manufacture airplanes have made this career
a more highly professional and technical occupation than
The normal course of career advancement for an aircraft
mechanic, as he/she gains work experience, is from assistant
to line mechanic to lead mechanic (or crew chief). Some
mechanics pursue the additional training they need to become
inspectors who review the work of other mechanics, perform
required inspections, and may advance to become lead inspectors
or inspectors for the FAA. With additional business and
management training, some mechanics become maintenance directors
that manage a crew of aircraft mechanics and other maintenance
personnel; and others start their own aircraft maintenance
Most commercial airlines are reluctant to
hire mechanics with new A&P certificates or new associate's
degrees in electronics. Therefore, most aircraft mechanics
begin their careers working at Fixed Based Operators, repair
stations, and aircraft manufacturing, service and maintenance
companies to gain the actual work experience. However, some
new A&P mechanics begin working for regional airlines
and other companies due to their schools’ partnerships
with various employers.
Aircraft mechanics may work in indoor areas such as hangars
and repair shops, or outdoors. The weather conditions outdoors
vary with geographic locations and seasons. Mechanics often
work under time pressure to maintain airline flight schedules
or, in general aviation, to keep from inconveniencing customers.
Under these conditions, mechanics must work as fast as possible
without sacrificing the safety standards of the aircraft or
its passengers, and this can cause the job to be stressful.
Mechanics occasionally lift or pull heavy
objects weighing as much as 50 pounds. They often stand,
lie, squat, or kneel in awkward positions and occasionally
must work in tight spaces and awkward positions on platforms,
scaffolds, and ladders. Noise from aircraft and ground equipment
is a common concern for mechanics wherever they work, so
ear protection is necessary. Minor scratches and skinned
knuckles from tool slippage are the most frequent injuries
Hours and Benefits
Aircraft mechanics usually work 40 hours a week on 8-hour
shifts around the clock, with occasional overtime for various
reasons such as the peak summer season, backlog of maintenance,
etc. The work shifts are typically assigned to mechanics
based on seniority; and the most senior mechanics usually
work the day shifts and junior (new) mechanics for the company
work the evening shifts. The benefits will vary for each
employer. The typical benefits include vacation, life and
health insurance plans, and retirement benefits. Airlines
also extend flight benefits in the form of free or reduced
air travel to employees and their families. Experienced
aircraft mechanics can also advance to positions of greater
responsibility in aviation-related industries, which can
lead to even better compensation and benefits.
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