What Is an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer? (How To Become One)
Before an aircraft leaves the ground, it undergoes mandatory routine maintenance and checks to ensure all parts are functioning. An aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) checks for worn-out and non-working parts and replaces them to ensure an aircraft is ready to fly. To excel in this industry and for a rewarding career, a candidate requires educational qualifications, experience and skills. In this article, we discuss what is an aircraft maintenance engineer, explore their typical duties, salary and skills and outline steps required to become one.
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What Is An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer?
What is an aircraft maintenance engineer, can be described as someone responsible for checking and fixing mechanical, structural and operational issues with an aircraft. This ensures that an aircraft operates and flies as per the standard set by the aviation department. These professionals have in-depth knowledge of the inner working of propellers, aircraft engines and instruments. An AME can work on multiple aircraft on a single day, making an AME's workday busy.
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What Does An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Do?
Some common day-to-day job responsibilities of an AME are:
Perform scheduled and emergency maintenance to ensure safe operations of an aircraft
Maintain the airline's facility and equipment
Conduct pre and post-flight inspection
Conduct thorough inspection of aircraft before and after flight
Stay current on new aircraft models
Stay up-to-date on aviation rules, regulations, protocols and procedures
Perform aircraft tests and repairs to fix damage from wear and tear
Sign the maintenance certificate before aircraft take-off
Diagnose and maintain mechanical and electrical problems related to aircraft
Use hand and power tools to examine replacement of damaged parts
Average Salary Of An AME
The average salary of an aircraft maintenance engineer is ₹64,164 per month. But, this salary depends upon your skills, qualification, employer and experience. With a high number of flying hours, you are likely to earn a higher salary.
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Skills Of An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
Here are some of the most valuable skills required for this job role:
Mechanical dexterity: Maintenance engineers handle and work with delicate parts in small spaces and this requires the ability to work well with hands and fingers.
Physical strength: Working as a maintenance engineer requires you to move heavy parts and structures. Excellent physical strength helps these engineers lift heavy objects to repair or maintain them.
Attention to details: Paying keen attention to details can help these engineers find any defects or problems that require repair. Even the slightest mechanical issue can cause an aircraft to develop problems, so it becomes essential for these professionals to have good attentiveness.
Reading comprehension: When interpreting manuals and reading instructions for maintenance, these engineers use their reading comprehension for processing technical information.
Troubleshooting skills: These engineers troubleshoot aircraft problems to ensure they fly as per aviation guidelines. Critical thinking, logical reasoning and troubleshooting skills help engineers to find the potential source of the problem.
Communication: As these professionals work as a part of a large team involving mechanics, pilots and technicians, they require excellent communication skills to convey their ideas and solutions.
Decision making: It is these engineers who decide whether to replace or repair an aircraft part. This requires excellent decision-making skills because flying with a damaged part can put many lives at risk.
Proficiency in diagnostic tools: An AME performs many scans and testing during aircraft inspection. They are adept at knowing when and where to use a diagnostic tool for proper aircraft maintenance.
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How To Become An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer?
To become a successful aircraft maintenance engineer, follow these steps:
1. Complete your 10+2 or diploma
To start your career as an aircraft maintenance engineer, pass your 10+2 with physics, chemistry and mathematics as the main subjects. A candidate with All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) approved three-year engineering diplomas in any stream are eligible to become a maintenance engineer. Furthermore, to gain admission in technical courses related to this field, candidates require a minimum of 45% in 10+2 or equivalent.
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2. Ensure you meet all requirements to become an AME
For getting admission in an aircraft maintenance engineering course, it is essential to meet certain requirements to get a license:
At the time of admission, your age can be between 16 to 28 years
You do not have colour blindness and any other physical disability
Pass the medical fitness examination as required by different institutes
3. Enroll in an aircraft maintenance engineering course
Since maintaining an aircraft requires technical skills, get admission in institutes accredited by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to learn the specific skills. The duration of the course depends upon the type of program you select:
A program: The duration of 'A' program course is two years. During these two years, you spend one year in an academic program on the campus and one year training in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) organisations and airlines. During the live training, candidates receive a fixed monthly stipend.
B program: The duration of the 'B' program course is four years, including a two-year academic program on the campus and two years of practical training. During the training period, candidates work in airlines and MRO organisations to gain practical experience and understand the day-to-day job responsibilities of this role. Depending on a candidate's skill set and education, they receive a monthly stipend during the two-year training period.
Admission is this course is usually after clearing different engineering entrance exams. So, depending upon the institute in which you want to get admission, research about the eligibility criteria and entrance exam you are required to pass.
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4. Choose your engineering course stream
After deciding on the program to pursue, the next step is selecting the engineering course stream. Some streams allow you to solve aeroplanes with jet engine defects, while others may allow you to maintain jet engine aeroplanes. So, based on your interest, choose a stream.
5. Earn your license
The license you get upon completing each course stream defines your career path. The three main types of course streams are:
This license allows you to maintain aircraft, but with certain limitations. With A license, you can work as a technician and it is sub-divided into four categories:
A1: You are responsible for maintaining only aeroplanes with jet engines.
A2: You are responsible for maintaining only aeroplanes with piston engines.
A3: You are responsible for maintaining only helicopters with jet engines.
A4: You are responsible for maintaining only helicopters with piston engines.
With a B1 license, you are eligible to maintain and repair engines and wings. It has four categories:
B1.1: You are responsible for the maintenance of jet engine aeroplanes.
B1.2: You are responsible for the maintenance of piston engine aeroplanes.
B1.3: You are responsible for the maintenance of a jet engine helicopter.
B1.4: You are responsible for the maintenance of piston engine helicopters.
This license is for the avionic stream and relates to maintaining and repairing electronic components like instrumental, electrical and radio navigation and communication.
The license you obtain makes you eligible to work in India and abroad.
6. Study aviation codes
During your practical training, you get exposure to DGCA rules and regulations. Understanding the DGCA codes can help you become a successful aircraft maintenance engineer. Reviewing these education materials and studying aviation codes can help you apply your theoretical and practical knowledge at your workplace.
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To find employment as an aircraft maintenance engineer, network with people who already work in the aviation sector. Connect with such individuals through online forums, social media platforms or join a professional association to meet like-minded professionals. Networking with experienced professionals can help you gain some tips on how to get the job and inform you about the latest job openings.
How Long Does It Take To Become An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer?
On average, it may take anywhere between two years to four years to become an AME. The fastest route is to attend a DGCA approved aircraft maintenance engineering course. If you choose ‘A' program for the aircraft maintenance engineering course, you can complete it in two years, but if you choose the ‘B' program, you require four years to become an AME.
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Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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