An aircraft mechanic basically services and inspects airplanes. Also called airframe mechanic or power plant mechanic, aircraft mechanics inspect planes of firms, military, and private companies. Job duties include conducting routine inspections, preparing and painting aircraft surfaces, inspecting airframes for wear or other defects, and making sure completed work meets maintenance qualities.
To be an aircraft mechanic, one must work well with hands and tools, have good hearing and eyesight, agile, and must be very precise and attentive with details. One must also have a thorough knowledge of all parts of airplanes such as engines, propellers, hydraulic equipment, and landing gear. In terms of education, employers usually require a high school diploma or the equivalent. Applicants should be able to read and interpret electricity charts, blueprints, instructional manuals, and diagrams. Government certification is required and aspiring aircraft mechanics must pass written, oral, and practical tests to earn licenses. Most mechanics study at FAA-approved schools for about two years.
Many two to four year degrees in related subjects such as aviation technology are offered every year. Those who have not taken such courses must have at least eighteen months of practical experience before they can take the tests. Once employed, aircraft mechanics usually continue their education to keep up with technological advances.
An aircraft mechanic’s salary depends on the experience, level of certification, and the size of the company. In 2004, the average salary for all mechanics was $21.70 per hour. This included benefits such as paid holidays, medical insurance, and reduced air fares.