Aircraft play an integral role in our lives. Without aircraft, we wouldn\’t have fast travel, medical evacuation services or military air defense. Aircraft connect our world.
An aviation maintenance technician ensures modern aircraft are safe for flight and meet industry standards established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is an ideal career for someone who wants to combine a passion for aviation with mechanical practice in his or her day-to-day life.
Why Do People Become Aviation Maintenance Technicians?
An aviation maintenance technician is a thinker and doer. Passion for aircraft and their inner workings bring out a love of detail, complexity and patterns. The technicians like to solve problems, tinker with their hands, and make things happen using science and engineering. Doing this job well means following a checklist, enjoying a methodical approach to problem-solving and being an active person with an equally active mind.
The lives of passengers and crew are in the hands of maintenance technicians. The ability to apply your passion and skills to keep people safe may inspire you to prepare for this field.
How Do You Become an Aviation Maintenance Technician?
The first step for any aspiring aviation maintenance technician is trade school. This is where students learn about maintenance, safety science, repair tools and techniques, and inspection protocol. Graduates end training with an Associate in Applied Science degree in aviation maintenance. They then are ready to take the FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license exam to earn an A&P certificate that demonstrates knowledge and skills in maintenance and repair of aircraft.
What Is on the Airframe & Powerplant Licensing Test?
The A&P license qualifies the recipient to work on both airframes and engines. The exam contains two sections to demonstrate a person has a comprehensive understanding of what it takes for aircraft to operate safely.
The airframe includes the mechanical components that make up an aircraft. Planes and helicopters all have unique structures, with some varying drastically from model to model.
Some test topics include:
- Aviation inspection practices and standards
- Different types of structural materials
- Electrical wiring and repair in aircraft
- Aircraft fluid lines and fittings
- Navigation and communication hardware
- Landing gear systems and how they operate
- Aircraft hydraulic and pneumatic system functions
- Fuel systems, including inspection, tune-ups and repairs
- Cabin atmosphere safety
The powerplant is the part of an aircraft that makes it move. To work on aircraft, a maintenance technician must understand how the engine, pistons, fans, cylinders and even propeller all work in harmony to create a safe, smooth flight. Propulsion systems, engine structure and electrical units, turbine engine theory, induction and more are covered on the powerplant aviation exam.
An A&P license demonstrates the recipient knows how to thoroughly examine parts of various aircraft to ensure they are fully secure and ready for flight. A trade school degree program in aviation maintenance will help prepare a graduate for the exam.
What Can I Do with a Degree in Aviation Maintenance?
A degree in aviation maintenance qualifies a graduate to perform inspections and maintenance services on commercial airplanes, helicopters and light aircraft. A technician may work in airports, or for small aircraft companies or those involved in industrial technology or renewable energy. There also are military mechanics who use their skills, education and passion for aviation while serving as active-duty soldiers.
What Is It Like Being an Aviation Maintenance Technician?
Aviation maintenance mechanics usually do their jobs in hangars, though some are outdoors on airfields. Their jobs require collaboration with team members, so they may work alone but still be a part of a team. While every person has tasks, the collaboration of a close-knit team of technicians and engineers ensures aircraft are as safe as possible.
Daily tasks include inspecting and diagnosing aircraft for structural, mechanical and electrical problems; servicing equipment as part of routine maintenance; using diagnostic devices to detect problems or malfunctions; keeping diagnostic, maintenance and repair logs; and using power tools to perform a variety of maintenance jobs on different parts of the aircraft.
Aviation maintenance technicians also may install different components and oversee their integration alongside an aviation engineer. As technology continues to improve, airplanes and helicopters are advancing as well. Newer technology keeps people safer in the air, reduces energy consumption and gives aviation professionals an opportunity to keep learning.
Ready to learn more about becoming an airframe and powerplant technician? The Airframe and Powerplant Technician program can be completed in as little as 20 months. Airframe and powerplant technicians are part of a dynamic industry.
To learn more about the Airframe and Powerplant Technician program and to explore whether MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page.
UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary. For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.