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What Does an Aircraft Mechanic Do?

If you’re fascinated by planes, here’s a job that will help you understand what makes flying possible. Aircraft mechanics or aircraft maintenance technicians keep aircraft flying safely by performing scheduled maintenance and repairs. They follow detailed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines. They identify problems, replace parts and do maintenance on various aircraft parts.

Many mechanics — also called airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanics — are generalists. These certified mechanics repair many types of aircraft, from commercial airliners to private business jets to single- or multi-engine propeller-driven planes. Others are specialists who focus on a specific type of aircraft or a specific part. For example, avionics technicians repair and maintain a plane’s electronic instruments.

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$ 35,000 - $ 101,000
$ 64,000
12,110+
An aircraft mechanic works on a NetJets plane
Aircraft mechanicss help keep flight travel safe and on schedule. (Credit: NetJets)
A private jet
NetJets Logo
NetJets: Proud Sponsor of the Aircraft Mechanic
Job Responsibilities
  • Diagnose problems with mechanical and electrical systems 
  • Repair systems and specific parts, like brakes
  • Replace defective parts
  • Inspect all aircraft components, including de-icing systems, hydraulic systems and landing gear
  • Follow FAA and other safety rules
  • Read maintenance manuals
  • Order supplies and equipment for repairs and maintenance
  • Keep detailed records 
Education + Training

Mechanics must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Students who want to be aircraft mechanics must attend an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school. These skills can also be learned on the job or through military training in aviation maintenance, which is recognized by the FAA.

Aircraft mechanics must have 30 months of experience to qualify for A&P certification, which is required to work independently. (Airframe or A covers non-engine related mechanical, structural and skin-related components of aircraft maintenance; powerplant or P covers engine work.) About 18 months are needed to get either A or P certification. Many mechanics get both certifications. This requires passing written, oral and practical exams.

On-the-job training must be through an FAA Certified Repair Station under the direct supervision of a certified mechanic.

Avionics technicians typically earn an associate degree.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have good hand-eye coordination
  • Have excellent troubleshooting skills
  • Are physically strong enough to lift heavy equipment
  • Have good dexterity and excel in the use of power tools
  • Have good balance to work on ladders or scaffolding

Aircraft Mechanic Training in Your Area

Coordinates
Oklahoma City Community College logo

Engineering Technology, A.A.S.

Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City (156.7 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Aviation Maintenance Technology, A.A.S.

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Airframe Aviation Maintenance Technology Certificate

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Powerplant Aviation Maintenance Technology Certificate

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
Southern Arkansas University Tech logo

Aviation Maintenance Technology, A.A.S.

Southern Arkansas University Tech
Camden (292.5 Miles)
Southern Arkansas University Tech logo

Aviation Maintenance Powerplant Technical Certificate

Southern Arkansas University Tech
Camden (292.5 Miles)
Southern Arkansas University Tech logo

Aviation Maintenance Airframe Technical Certificate

Southern Arkansas University Tech
Camden (292.5 Miles)
Southern Arkansas University Tech logo

Aviation Maintenance Certificate of Proficiency

Southern Arkansas University Tech
Camden (292.5 Miles)
Amarillo College logo

Aviation Maintenance- Airframe Mechanic Certificate

Amarillo College
Amarillo (366.5 Miles)
Amarillo College logo

Aviation Maintenance, A.A.S.

Amarillo College
Amarillo (366.5 Miles)
Amarillo College logo

Aviation Maintenance- Powerplant Mechanic Certificate

Amarillo College
Amarillo (366.5 Miles)
Amarillo College logo

Aviation Maintenance- Powerplant, A.A.S.

Amarillo College
Amarillo (366.5 Miles)

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