Many young aviation enthusiasts wonder what training as an aircraft mechanic looks like. Working in this position involves huge responsibility, and sacrifices but also allows you to fulfil your passion – aviation. What is required to become an aircraft mechanic? Is it necessary to graduate from a university or technical college? Let’s check out!
Aircraft mechanic trainee – where to start?
There is a lot of ways to become an aircraft mechanic. Naturally, the method which comes to everyone’s mind first is graduating an aircraft mechanic profile from a technical school. It’s a long path, which takes about six to seven years to obtain an aircraft mechanic’s license. Hardly anyone knows that you don’t need to have a technical college degree to take the first steps in the aviation industry as an aircraft mechanic. Yes! This means that even after the non-technical studies, you can apply for the position of an aircraft mechanic, called helper, and then – after meeting all the requirements – apply for a license of each category.
The diagram below shows all possible paths:
It is hard for high school graduates to become aircraft mechanics?
Anyone who has graduated from high school, vocational school, or any non-aviation related college or university, still has the opportunity to work in this industry. A person in this position should gain service experience first. Therefore, they should enroll in an internship or apprenticeship at a suitable MRO. At large aviation maintenance companies such as Linetech, experience is easily gained. You can get a similar experience in aero clubs which are representing small aviation. An applicant for an aircraft mechanic’s license has to work as an assistant, or unskilled worker, for five years.
REMEMBER: You must be at least 18 years old to apply for an aircraft mechanic’s license.
Modules for the award of an aircraft engineer’s license
According to EASA Part-66, the required modules for certification as an aircraft mechanic are following:
- basic electricity,
- basic electronics,
- electronic instrument systems digital techniques,
- materials and equipment,
- maintenance activities
- Fundamentals of Aerodynamics,
- human factors,
- Aviation Regulations,
- Aerodynamics, turbine aircraft structures and systems,
- Piston Aeroplane Aerodynamics, Structures and Systems
- Helicopter aerodynamics, structures and systems,
- aerodynamics, aircraft structures and systems,
- gas turbine engine,
- piston engine,
It is very important to know, that for each category, there are required different modules. Example: for category A, module No. 4 is optional, while for B1 and B2 – it is necessary.
Some of these modules may be confirmed, based on a report that is published annually by the Civil Aviation Authority, you can access it HERE.
A document describing which modules can be accepted by CAA from a particular school. It is valid for 10 years. To pass the missing modules, you will need to take an examination under the Civil Aviation Authority or the EASA Part-147 organization, which also offers module examinations for its licenses. For instance, Avia Prime offers the opportunity to pass relevant modules as a part of the training activities of one of its subsidiaries.
Some high schools or universities may have an EASA Part-147 certificate, for example, the Rzeszow University of Technology, Wroclaw University of Technology. In practice, this means they are a training organization, so you can complete all these modules as part of your education there.
Can a service practice be shortened?
According to local law, there are specified occupations for which compulsory service practice may be shortened. These are:
- electromechanical technician,
- electrical technician,
- energy technician,
- automation technician,
- electronics technician,
- mechatronics technician,
- automotive technician,
- avionics technician,
- aviation technician,
- mechanic technician.
On Job Training. Next step on the path to the an aircraft mechanic license
A training course that certifies a mechanic in a specific category under the guidance of a qualified professional is an on the job training program. A future aircraft mechanic receives OJT while he is actually working. Every mechanic learner is assigned a supervisor who begins and ends their shift at the same time as their mentee. In all cases, he ensures that the correctness of tasks is being performed, safety is being maintained, and the student poses no risk to himself or anyone else. The teacher pays close attention to the correctness of the tasks performed, safety and hygiene. During OJT, a student mechanic is assessed throughout the process, beginning with putting on work clothes. Next, to start his job, he must prepare the necessary components in the presence of their supervisors by meeting all safety rules. When he is ready to begin work, he reviews the technical documents and the tasks he will perform.
After that, the mechanic executes the assigned work under the supervision of a licensed OJT mechanic. If the operation is successful, the task supervisor certifies it with special documentation. OJT tasks cannot be simulated – something has to actually go broke or need concrete action from the MRO to complete them. In many cases, it is not possible to complete an OJT task because there is currently no aircraft in the hangar requiring a particular repair. In this case, OJT is extended. Typically, OJT lasts from 4-5 months to 1.5 years. It is expected that students on OJT will complete about 150 – 160 assignments for the training and quality departments to accept their OJT training logs. Please note that OJT is both training and actual work. OJT is done only once for each category. If a mechanic who has a B1 category wants to reach B2 category, he must do the OJT again. A mechanic who has a B1 category and wants to try for a B2 category must repeat the OJT. OJT is a mixture of training and actual work. OJT is only performed once for a category. Following completion of OJT, the student must take the completed practice book signed by the MRO/MTO to the CAA for issuance of the certificate. You must also bring an EASA Form 19 (available here), which is an application for the issuance/amendment/renewal of the aircraft maintenance license. The license is valid for 5 years.
Aircraft type training
As a condition of obtaining an aircraft mechanic’s license, the mechanic must meet the requirements specified in EASA Part-147 for the aircraft type. For example, training for a Boeing 737 Next-Generation aircraft type can take about 39 days: 29 – theory, and 10 – practice. At Avia Prime, we have developed a training system that allows you to obtain the required knowledge at the optimal time, keeping the highest learning standards.
Theoretical training ends with a written exam. On the practical part of the course, there is an “assessment”, i.e. an overall evaluation that sums up the training process of a given student, carried out by a so-called Assessor. Upon completion of the training, the mechanic can apply to the CAA for a certificate that will allow him to perform line and base maintenance.
What is the ideal soft skill set for an aircraft mechanic?
Anyone applying for an aircraft mechanic position, in addition to having technical skills, should stand out in qualities such as:
- ability to predict the consequences of one’s actions;
- accuracy and precision in action;
- motivational skills;
- control and patience;
- concentration and divided attention;
- problem-solving skills;
- ability to work independently and as part of a team;
- ability to work under deadline pressure in a fast-paced environment.
Aircraft engineer – the job of the future?
There is no doubt that the pandemic has cast a shadow over the aviation industry. As a result, there is growing concern about whether companies operating in this market, guarantee stable employment. In fact, MRO, like all Avia Prime companies in Poland, Slovenia and Serbia, is still operating at top speed. A career as an aircraft mechanic is still desired profession because it can guarantee a high quality of life. Interested in mechanics and mechanical engineering and passionate about aviation? Join us! Visit our website, check your opportunities and create your career on the international market!