Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft Mechanic

Fred Robel

27 Years Experience

Au Gres, MI

Male, 49

I'm a licensed Aircraft Mechanic & Inspector with twenty five-plus years in the field. I've had a varied career so far, with time spent in the sheetmetal, mechanic, and inspection specialties. Most of my time is on heavy Boeing and McDonnell Douglas aircraft, of the passenger, cargo, and experimental type. This career isn't for everyone, but I enjoy it.

Please do NOT ask me to troubleshoot problems with your airplane, that is not what this Q&A is for.

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154 Questions


Last Answer on July 09, 2022

Best Rated

I have a friend who is working hard to obtain an aircraft mechanic license, however, he has been arrested three times on DUI inside a ten year span. The last arrest was in 2012. How hard of a road does he have ahead to obtain his license? Thank you

Asked by PAUL about 10 years ago

There aren't any additional hurdles for your friend, as far as obtaining his mechanic's licenses from the FAA.  Nor in keeping them; as long as he stays sober on the job.

Finding a job with an employer after he gets his licenses, is another matter entirely.  If he doesn't have a driver's license, due to it being revoked; then not only will he have the problem everyone has in that situation, of begging rides to work.  But he will have the additional issue of not being able to drive any company owned vehicles on the airport or facility.  That usually means ramp vehicles, forklifts, etc.  They almost always want driver's licenses for that.

Also, lots of airport security screenings, will do the ten year background checks. And won't always be willing to issue ramp access badges to someone with recent legal trouble like that.

Many companies have government contracts; and do those background checks as well.  And wouldn't be able to use someone with extensive legal issues on any government type work.

My advice to him would be to hunt around until he finds a place that is willing to take him on; and keep his record clean while he gets experience on the job.  Then, later on he can shoot for a better position somewhere.

For what it's worth:  The aviation maintenance 'club' is often not a dry one.  Drinking after work, and partying is the norm.  Long hours, and often frustrating work feed it as well.  

I won't play nanny to him.  But it might be a tough road for a few years for him.  He can do it though, if this is really what he wants to do for the rest of his life.

This Q&A is a great help for my project! I was wondering what the job outlook is for this occupation (Is it easy for me to find a job as an aircraft mechanic if i had the right skills?) Thanks very much!

Asked by Nic about 10 years ago

Yes.  It is easy to find a job.  IF you have your A&P license, AND you are willing to go to where the jobs are.

There are most often jobs available, not necessarily in your immediate area, and you might have to go with a contracting company.  But there are jobs.  

If you don't have your license, or you aren't willing to move at least yourself to wherever the work is; then there might be a harder time finding a job.

who do you talk to on a typical day at work?is it mostly by radio or to the people you work with on the ground?

Asked by michuki over 10 years ago

I'm not sure as to what facet of being an aircraft mechanic you are referring to?  

If you are talking about the "ride-on mechanic" part of the job; then yes, occasionally you'll talk to maintenance control via radio.  But usually not.  Usually you'll be talking in person to everyone you need to, and by phone when you need remote assistance or instructions.

As far as working at a maintenance base, which is where I have spent most of my career:  You most always talk to everyone in person.  Excepting when you use radios or cel phones to coordinate some operational checks of large aircraft.

In my current position as an engine shop floor inspector, I talk to everyone you'd expect.  My supervisor, my manager, my co-inspectors, and the floor mechanics.  We don't have a need to use radios in the shop environment.

Why are there suddenly more chemtrails in the sky of Crimea?

Asked by Francois Demers about 10 years ago

I would speculate that there are more contrails in the sky over Crimea, because it is a very interesting place, and there are planes taking lots of pictures of what is going on.  That, and people leaving, on airplanes.

I don't reckon that they were chemtrails.  I've never seen any evidence of chemical spraying devices on any aircraft I've ever worked on.

As far as to the existence of said chemtrails.  We should look for the simplest explanation.  

Is what we see streaming out behind aircraft at altitude, a condensation of water vapor around the warm engine exhaust?

Or is it a worldwide government plot, to plant mind control chemicals in aircraft (and somehow keep that all secret) to be sprayed into the atmosphere?

My money is on the simple condensation.

I always wondered this: what would happen if someone ripped out a plane's emergency exit door mid-flight?

Asked by taylorlevin about 11 years ago

That sounds like a question for Adam and Jamie over at Mythbusters!

I don't really know.  

After the initial air pressure equaliziation, which could be quite turbulent I suppose; you'd still have the air rushing along outside the open hatch.  That would create some suction, courtesy of Bernouli's principle.

I guess as long as you stayed away from it, and were belted in, it might be all right.

A more immediate concern would be bringing the aircraft down to an altitude that had enough oxygen for humans to live.

And further:  Opening an emergency hatch would be a Herculian effort for sure.  All the emergency exits I've seen, are plug type hatches.  Which means that whomever 'ripped' it out; would be fighting against the higher air pressure of the inside of the airplane, versus the outside air.  

Those few psi don't sound like much, but it adds up to a lot of force holding that plug type hatch in place, even without a latch holding it.

I love to work in aircraft this is my dream job,
But as you had over 20 years of an experience,would you advise me to join it and get my license, And is it good job for lifetime living ?


Asked by Anmar about 8 years ago

In my opinion:  If you love aircraft; and more importantly, the less glorious job of actually working on them; then this might be the career for you.

So far, this has been a good job as far as making a living.  It pays pretty well, if you choose your jobs and locations carefully. 

If you really plan to make a career out of this; where a career means starting, and progressing forward or upwards; then I'd advise you to get a four year degree before you start, or at some point along the way.

Reason being, there are a lot of ways you can start off this career.  At the low end, you can walk in with a small toolbox, no license, and start working for mechanic's helper wages on a maintenance crew; or you can invest in yourself up front, go to school for your A&P licenses for two years; then continue with your school for a couple more years to get that four year degree.  Doing the latter, will prep you to not only start off at full mechanic's wages, but also have you poised to move into management at the appropriate time later on. (As lots of companies require a four year degree in their managers)

If you are flexible with locations, travelling, and willingness to do various parts of the job; then you will never be unemployed.  

Being an aircraft mechanic can be a great career, if it is right for you.  Only you can really decide if it is.  

I am a student in powerplant struggling with the task of searching to find references for procedures for various aircraft. Are there any sites or helpful hints to narrow down the information or is this goose chase something I should get used to?

Asked by WilkesK about 10 years ago

The short answer is:  Get used to it.

In reality, there may be places to go to find helpful hints as to where to find the info you need.  But in the long run, it's better for you to just learn how the individual manufacturer's manuals are set up and organized.  This will give you a good 'feel' as far as where to start looking for the more obscure references.

I've found, that the more recent the manual, the more of a standard it adheres to.  As the companies that put out our publications do seem to be trying to make things a little easier, and have more commonality, as far as how things are laid out.

The older manuals though; they can be a headache and a half.  Douglas did their manuals one way; Boeing did theirs another; Pratt & Whitney does theirs a third way still.  The list could go on.  

It can feel like a goose chase to find information sometimes.  If it's a PDF document, use the search function to help narrow things down.  

Otherwise, just do your best to try to learn the manuals you use most often.  Before you know it, you'll be the manual guru that everyone turns to when they just can't seem to find what they are looking for.  

Best of luck.