Aircraft mechanics play an essential role in the repair and maintenance of aircraft and their components. They are responsible for performing routine checks on aircraft systems, such as electrical, communications, and hydraulic systems. They are also on-hand to help repair aircraft that have experienced problems or damage.

As there are many different types of aircraft used in the aviation industry, many aircraft mechanics specialise in particular areas. For example, those who specialise in avionics will focus on electrical systems and structural mechanics will work on airframe components.

What does an aircraft mechanic do?

  • Making repairs to aircraft that have been damaged
  • Inspecting electronic and structural elements of aircraft on a regular basis
  • Diagnosing issues with aircraft and determining how to fix these
  • Making reports on the work done and any components that need replacing
  • Using specialist equipment to check aircraft systems are in working order

What qualifications do you need to become an aircraft mechanic?

In order to begin a career as an aircraft mechanic, it is advisable to have a strong foundation in technical subjects such as maths and science. Although you don’t need a license to work as an aircraft mechanic, it is highly recommended to become fully qualified. Mechanics working without a license can only do so under supervision.

As mechanics are usually employed by an airline, they will specialise in the type of aircraft operated by that airline. Some airlines will, therefore, offer apprenticeships which will provide you with the relevant qualifications for the aircraft and components you will be working with. For example, the Virgin Atlantic apprenticeship scheme will leave you with two Level 3 National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) in Aeronautical Engineering and On-Aircraft Maintenance and an EASA Part 66 in the required categories for your role.

What skills do you need to become an aircraft mechanic?

  • You will need a strong sense of responsibility as the safety of aircraft and their passengers rely on your work.  
  • Due to the nature of the role, you will need to be able to understand scientific and technical principles.  
  • The majority of the work, such as testing and repairs will require you to have a methodical and systematic approach.
  • You will be working closely with engineering drawings so you will need to ability to understand and interpret these.
  • Should any unexpected issues arise with the aircraft, you will need good problem solving skills to help find a solution.
  • You will need high levels of concentration and an eye for detail to make sure that you haven’t missed any potential issues with the aircraft.
  • The role can be quite physically demanding, so a good level of agility and a head for heights are important.
  • You will need to take health and safety regulations seriously.
  • Your employer will need to be able to rely on your commitment to your role and your ability to work with colleagues.

How much do aircraft mechanics earn?*

Starting salary: £18,000 – £22,000

Experienced: £30,000 – £40,000

Senior: £50,000 – £60,000+

What are your career prospects as an aircraft mechanic?

With the aviation industry expected to continue growing over the next few years, the need for aircraft mechanics will also increase. Employment prospects are therefore looking good for the near future.

Aircraft mechanics have the opportunity to progress in their careers to supervisory positions where they can manage other mechanics and oversee operations in a hanger. Depending on the airline employing them, the earnings at this stage in a mechanic’s career can be high.

Search for the latest aircraft mechanic roles on Aviation Job Search.

*Salaries are meant as a guide and can vary depending on a number of factors.

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