Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft.
What they do
Aircraft mechanics typically do the following:
- Diagnose mechanical or electrical problems
- Repair wings, brakes, electrical systems, and other aircraft components
- Replace defective parts, using hand tools or power tools
- Examine replacement aircraft parts for defects
- Read maintenance manuals to identify repair procedures
- Test aircraft parts with gauges and other diagnostic equipment
- Inspect completed work to ensure that it meets performance standards
- Keep records of maintenance and repair work
Avionics technicians typically do the following:
- Test electronic instruments, using circuit testers, oscilloscopes, and voltmeters
- Interpret flight test data to diagnose malfunctions and performance problems
- Assemble components, such as electrical controls and junction boxes, and install software
- Install instrument panels, using hand tools, power tools, and soldering irons
- Repair or replace malfunctioning components
- Keep records of maintenance and repair work
Airplanes require reliable parts and maintenance in order to fly safely. To keep an airplane in operating condition, aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians perform scheduled maintenance, make repairs, and complete inspections. They must follow detailed regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that dictate maintenance schedules for different operations.
Many mechanics are generalists and work on many different types of aircraft, such as jets, piston-driven airplanes, and helicopters. Others specialize in one section, such as the engine, hydraulic system, or electrical system, of a particular type of aircraft. In independent repair shops, mechanics usually inspect and repair many types of aircraft.
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians work in hangars, in repair stations, or on airfields. They must meet strict deadlines while following safety standards.
Most of these mechanics and technicians work near major airports. They may work outside on the airfield, or in climate-controlled shops and hangars. Civilian aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians employed by the U.S. Armed Forces work on military installations.
How to become an Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanic and Technician
Some aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians learn their trade at an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved aviation maintenance technician school. Others are trained on the job or learn through training in the military. Aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians typically are certified by the FAA. (See Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), part 65, subparts D and E, for the most current requirements for becoming a certified mechanic.)
Aircraft mechanics and service technicians typically enter the occupation after attending a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school. These schools award a certificate of completion that the FAA recognizes as an alternative to the experience requirements stated in regulations. The schools also grant holders the right to take the relevant FAA exams.
Avionics technicians typically earn an associate’s degree before entering the occupation. Aircraft controls, systems, and flight instruments have become increasingly digital and computerized. Workers who have the proper background in aviation flight instruments or computer repair are needed to maintain these complex systems.
Some aircraft mechanics and service technicians enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training to learn their skills and to be able to pass the FAA exams. Aviation maintenance personnel who are not certified by the FAA work under supervision until they have enough experience and knowledge and become certified.
The FAA requires that aircraft maintenance be done either by a certified mechanic with the appropriate ratings or authorizations or under the supervision of such a mechanic.
The median annual wage for aircraft mechanics and service technicians was $64,090 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,890, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $101,070.
The median annual wage for avionics technicians was $65,700 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,350, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $97,150.
Overall employment of aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by occupation (see table below).
Air traffic is expected to increase gradually over the coming decade, and will require additional aircraft maintenance, including that performed on new aircraft.
Similar Job Titles
Aircraft Electrical Systems Specialist, Aircraft Technician, Aviation Electrical Technician, Aviation Electronics Technician, Avionics Electronics Technician, Avionics Installer, Avionics Manager, Avionics Systems Integration Specialist, Avionics Technician, Electronic Technician, Aircraft Maintenance Director, Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor, Aircraft Maintenance Technician (Aircraft Maintenance Tech), Aircraft Mechanic, Aircraft Restorer, Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A & P Mechanic), Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT), Aviation Mechanic, Helicopter Mechanic
Robotics Technician, Mechanical Engineering Technician, Manufacturing Production Technician, Medical Equipment Repairer, Ship Engineer, Electronics Engineering Technician, Electrical Engineering Technician, Electrical and Electronics Repairer-Commercial and Industrial Equipment
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- Aeronautical Repair Station Association - ARSA is devoted to the worldwide civil aviation maintenance industry—from its global corporations to the small, independent businesses. ARSA members are located on five continents and in nearly 20 countries.
- Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association - This organization’s mission is to ensure that the sky remains within reach of everyone who dreams of becoming a pilot.
Resources are available on this website for students with an interest in aviation.
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers - With nearly 600,000 active and retired members, the IAM is one of the largest and most diverse labor unions in North America.
- Professional Aviation Maintenance Association - This organization is dedicated to promoting professionalism and recognition of the aviation maintenance technician through communication, education, representation, and support of continuous improvement in aviation safety. Our mission is to promote continuous improvement in aviation safety through communication, education, representation and support of our members.
- Aircraft Electronics Association - PAMA has been dedicated to promoting professionalism and recognition of the aviation maintenance technician through communication, education, representation, and support of continuous improvement in aviation safety. Our mission is to promote continuous improvement in aviation safety through communication, education, representation and support of our members.
Magazines and Publications
- Avionics News
- AEA Pilot’s Guide
- Director of Maintenance Magazine (Bureau of Aircraft Maintenance)
- Aviation Maintenance Magazine
- Aircraft Maintenance Update
- Aircraft Technology Engineering & Maintenance Magazine
Video TranscriptAircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians maintain airplanes and their components to keep flight travel safe and on schedule. Airframe and power plant mechanics repair and maintain most parts of an aircraft, including the engines, landing gear, and brakes. They use special equipment to check for cracks and corrosion in the plane’s exterior, then repair and recheck to ensure soundness. Avionic technicians take care of the plane’s electronic instruments and systems, such as testing navigation and weather radar to keep flights safely en route, or fine-tuning radio communications to keep pilots in touch with the experts on the ground. This is one of the highest paid technical professions, and it’s easy to see why. These workers analyze complex problems and develop safe, workable solutions quickly to get aircraft back up in the air, often in a matter of hours. Exposure to noise and vibration is part of every shift. Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians work in hangars, repair stations, or on airfields. Most work full time on rotating 8-hour shifts; overtime and weekend work is common. Typically, workers have a high school education and obtain training at technical schools certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, although some learn on the job or enter the field after military experience. Certification by the FAA increases job opportunities and wages, and is required for some positions. This is a job where safety can never take a back seat to schedule.Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistic www.bls.gov/ooh,
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