what is an aircraft mechanic?

As an aircraft mechanic, you perform scheduled maintenance on helicopters and aeroplanes. You also perform inspections to determine the safety of the plane for use. You can work for private firms, military or commercial airlines helping them ascertain the airworthiness of aircraft. As an aircraft mechanic, you need extensive knowledge of the various parts of an aeroplane, from the engine to propellers and landing gear. Your expertise helps you identify problems during an inspection and isolate hydraulic equipment or radar instruments that need repairs or replacement.

Sometimes, you work on defects reported by pilots. However, during an inspection, you check all parts carefully to ascertain airworthiness. You take full responsibility for the repairs since you may lose your licence if mistakes occur.

The scope of your role as an aircraft mechanic depends on the company you work for. For instance, in small private aeroplane companies, you will be in charge of all aircraft repairs before takeoff. However, in large aviation companies, you can be part of the overhaul repair team that performs extensive maintenance on aircraft. You may specialise in specific repair and maintenance roles. For instance, some aircraft mechanics become experts in hydraulic inspections.

The role requires excellent troubleshooting and problem-solving skills. Attention to detail is also crucial, as mistakes can have devastating consequences.

Would working in engineering as an aircraft mechanic suit your exceptional troubleshooting skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an aircraft mechanic role.

aircraft mechanic jobs

average salary of an aircraft mechanic

According to ONS, an aircraft mechanic earns an average salary of £35,100 per year. At an entry-level position, your annual earnings start at £29,250. The salary scale moves upwards as you attain more qualifications and skills, and you can earn over £42,900 annually.

Aircraft mechanics enjoy numerous benefits and bonuses. Most employers provide basic pension benefits, life insurance and medical insurance. You also receive overtime pay and annual bonuses.

how to increase your aircraft mechanic salary

Specialisation and additional qualifications guarantee a higher compensation package. For instance, if you specialise in becoming an airworthiness engineer, your salary increases to £55,000 a year, and you will enjoy additional benefits. The size of the company also determines your earnings. Large commercial airlines have more extensive resources and pay than small companies.


man wearing ear protector
man wearing ear protector

types of aircraft mechanics

Some of the types of aircraft mechanics include:

  • airframe and powerplant mechanics: your job is to perform general maintenance on aircraft. You use precision instruments to measure defects and start repairs. You are also certified to perform alteration tasks on the engines, landing gear, air-conditioning system and brakes.
  • inspection authorised mechanics: your job is to supervise aircraft inspections before departure. You do a comprehensive inspection of aircraft and determine if an aeroplane is safe for flight after a major repair. You also have certification in airframe and powerplant, enabling you to perform some alteration and maintenance tasks.


working as an aircraft mechanic

Working as an aircraft mechanic involves supervising the repairs and maintenance of aircraft parts and systems. If you are interested in the role, read on to find out about aircraft mechanics' duties and work environments.


education and skills

Some of the educational qualifications of an aircraft mechanic include:

  • university: you need a foundation degree or higher national diploma to become an aircraft mechanic. You need 1 or 2 A levels to join the higher national diploma and foundation degree. Some of the relevant fields include mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering and avionics.
  • college: you can pursue a college course in engineering or get a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Aerospace and Aviation Engineering. Level 3 Diploma in Aircraft Manufacture is also a gateway into the career.
  • apprenticeship: you can become an aircraft mechanic through apprenticeship opportunities like an advanced engineering technician role or higher apprenticeship. You will undergo on-the-job training and complete coursework to become a trainee aircraft mechanic.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of an aircraft mechanic include:

  • troubleshooting skills: a major part of your role as an aircraft mechanic is solving problems in a plane's mechanical components. Troubleshooting skills rely on logical thinking to eliminate the potential causes of a problem. When you have exceptional troubleshooting skills, you can easily find the source of mechanical problems and develop solutions.
  • reading comprehension: your work relies on using blueprints and manuals to determine problems in the aircraft. You should have the ability to read and comprehend blueprints to pinpoint issues with aircraft parts. Comprehension helps you understand the instruction manuals and process technical information accurately.
  • manual dexterity: an aircraft mechanic needs good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity to succeed. When inspecting or doing repairs, you work on small components that you need to adjust or assemble carefully. Manual dexterity also helps you utilise power tools when performing intricate tasks.
  • attention to detail: as an aircraft mechanic, you need to be detail-oriented to avoid missing important information during repairs. Attentiveness to detail is also essential during an inspection. It helps you perform a thorough examination, so you don't miss broken or out of place components.
  • communication skills: communication skills will help you communicate clearly with engineers, pilots and other airport crew. Written communication skills are necessary for writing reports.

man staring on window
man staring on window


FAQs about working as an aircraft mechanic

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