Operated aircraft are required to be kept in a ‘like new’ condition thus aircraft mechanics are expected to repair and maintain them to meet this standard. In order to keep them in mint operating condition, aircraft and avionics mechanics and service technicians perform scheduled maintenance, make repairs and complete regular inspections required by the EASA or the FAA. All maintenance work on aircraft is performed by certified mechanics or under the supervision of a certified mechanic. But what is it like to be an aircraft mechanic?
‘I’ve always been into challenges. That’s why I decided to join the MRO segment. My friends are quite jealous about the job I have. When choosing my career, I already knew that I would certainly get my hands on both the industry classics such as Boeing 737 CL and Airbus A320 as well as the most modern aircraft models including Boeing 737 NG and even the symbol of the modern technological sophistication - Boeing 787 Dreamliner. What is more, after my graduation, I spent six months during my practice working in five different countries!’- said one of the FL Technics Training students.
Many aircraft mechanics specialize in preventive maintenance. They inspect aircraft engines, landing gear, instruments, pressurized sections, accessories and other parts of the aircraft, as well as carry out all the necessary maintenance tasks and take care of replacing unreliable or faulty parts. Other mechanics specialize in repair work rather than inspection. They find and fix problems pointed out by the pilots. For example, during a pre-flight check, a pilot may discover that the aircraft’s fuel gauge does not work. To solve the problem, mechanics may troubleshoot the electrical system, using the electrical test equipment to make sure that no wires are broken or short out, and replace any defective electrical or electronic components. Some mechanics work on one or many different types of aircraft, such as business jets, propeller-driven aircraft and helicopters whilst others specialize in a single section of a particular type of aircraft, such as engine, hydraulics or the electrical system.
‘The profession of an aircraft maintenance specialist is constantly listed among the top twenty on the most desirable career lists by popular websites such as Yahoo! Jobs. It can be a great career, but only if you know all the details. After all, aircraft maintenance is not everyone’s cup of tea. the commonly circulating joke is as follows: ’If we had a dollar for every new mechanic that quits within few months after starting the job, we would have thousands in our bank account.’ This line of work is difficult and requires attention to every single detail. It is safe to say that’s one of the most challenging jobs in aviation,’ commented another FL Technics Training student, who’s is undergoing the on-the-job training practice at the moment.
‘Mechanics specialize in a single or many types of aircraft, but specialization in the areas such as airframe maintenance, engines and power plants, or electronics and avionics are common. Like a doctor, a specialist must know the anatomy of the certain aircraft, including the ways of how each part fits into the unit and works with the next. Thousands of passengers a year depend on the skills, knowledge and attention to detail of aircraft mechanics.’ says Deputy Head of FL Technics Training Dainius Sakalauskas.
The global passenger air traffic is expected to increase as the result of rapidly expanding economies and growing population. No doubt that the demand for aircraft mechanics and service technicians will increase accordingly. As airlines are expecting the deliveries of tens of thousands of new commercial aircraft over the next 20 years, the demand for personnel to maintain those aircraft will be unprecedented. The 2012 Boeing Pilot & Technician outlook projects the need for approximately 600 thousand maintenance technicians: 243 thousand in the Asia Pacific region, 129 thousand in Europe, 92 thousand in North America, 53 thousand in the Middle East, 47 thousand in Latin America, 18 thousand in the CIS and 16 thousand in Africa.