Airplane Technician: Career Profile
The job title airplane technician can refer to avionics technicians, airplane mechanics or service technicians. Workers in these fields maintain the structural integrity of aircrafts and make repairs on engines, electrical mechanisms and other essential components. Airplane technicians and mechanics often work outdoors in loud environments. Most obtain job training through FAA certified vocational programs. Read on for the career profiles of these aviation professions.
According to O*NET Online, avionics technicians monitor and maintain the electronic components on aircrafts (www.onetonline.org). Normally working under the supervision of an aircraft mechanic or engineer, technicians use diagnostic equipment to check electrical wiring, circuit boards, lights and other computerized mechanisms. Technicians also maintain service logs that document how often each electrical component has been repaired or replaced.
After running routine checks, avionics technicians make decisions on how to repair components. Sometimes they have to completely assemble electrical mechanisms before installation, which can include using power tools and soldering equipment. If a repair will interfere with a scheduled flight, avionics technicians must inform the proper personnel in order to reschedule or cancel the flight.
Aircraft Mechanic and Service Technician
Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that aircraft mechanics and service technicians inspect the physical structure of aircrafts, perform needed repairs and run routine maintenance checks (www.bls.gov). Most mechanics and service technicians spend their time on precautionary inspection tasks, which include examining all aircraft systems prior to aircraft operations.
Workers run multiple spot-inspections on engines, landing gear, fluid receptacles, brake lines and other vital components. They maintain detailed logs concerning everything examined and repaired on an aircraft. According to guidelines set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), mechanics and service technicians must completely replace certain engine parts and aircraft components after an aircraft logs a set amount of flight hours.
Individuals often specialize as either airframe mechanics or powerplant mechanics. Airframe mechanics focus specifically on maintaining and repairing the physical structure of the craft. In contrast, powerplant mechanics work on the engines and some of the instrumentation. Mechanics who specialize in both fields are referred to as A&P mechanics.
Airplane Technician and Mechanic Employment Outlook
Information from the BLS does not show employment outlook statistics for airplane technicians because the job title encompasses multiple related careers. Nevertheless, for aircraft mechanics and service technicians, the BLS predicted a seven percent increase in job opportunities for these professionals between 2008 and 2018. Applicants who stand the best chance at finding employment include those trained in multiple skill sets, such as A&P mechanics and avionics technicians who can work on the electrical components for several different types of aircrafts.
Airplane Technician and Mechanic Educational Requirements
Avionics technicians and other service technicians often acquire educational training through a vocational certificate, associate's degree or diploma program related to avionics maintenance and technology. Coursework topics include analog devices and circuits, navigation systems, wiring techniques, communications systems, line maintenance, avionics troubleshooting and basic safety protocols.
Educational requirements for airplane mechanics usually include completing a diploma or certificate program related to aviation maintenance or aviation mechanic technologies. Undergraduate degree programs are also available in these fields, but most entry-level positions don't require formal degrees. Coursework in these programs include forms and regulations, hydraulics, engine maintenance, fuel systems, welding, powerplant systems and airframe systems.
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