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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152 Questions

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Last Answer on July 09, 2022

Best Rated

can you email me at swissie@hotmail.ca i have a few questions for you that i need to ask for my assignment

Asked by Shawn over 9 years ago

Done and done.  :)

Why don't more planes have power outlets? Everyone has gadgets to plug in. Is it really that hard to add outlets to a plane that already has enough power to fly through the stratosphere?

Asked by JOE over 9 years ago

I know the older planes (made 2000 and earlier), weren't made for a public with so many gadgets they'd love to keep charged. I can't speak for new ones, as I haven't set foot on a passenger plane newer than a '90's model. As for adding them. Yes, that could be done. There are already several standard power outlets on most planes, for the use of the cleaning crews at the airports. Also, I've seen regular outlets in the bathrooms before. So the process of having them isn't unknown to airlines. Maybe the airlines don't want to deal with yet another system to maintain. Or the cost of installing a modification like that. It isn't as simple as just saying "Hey, I'm going to do that". The modification has to be sent through engineering, vetted by them, then submitted to the FAA for approval. It's a lengthy process to get something like that approved for installation and use on a public carrier aircraft. I lean towards the reason of not wanting to deal with the extra system. Especially one which the general public can get their hands on all the time. Most people are responsible, and won't break the outlets, or plug in anything strange, or use damaged equipment. But there are always the few that ruin it for the rest of us. It wouldn't surprise me if there weren't already First Class seating with USB and 115Volt outlets built into them. If it's viable, it will trickle down into Business, and then Coach classes someday. The way airlines are pinching their pennies these days, I wouldn't hold my breath though.

edit 2/8/2015: You would have been safe to hold your breath actually. I'm seeing more and more airlines offering USB charging ports to their customers, built right into their seats. As a matter of fact; last year a customer at the place where I work, put in an entire new interior system into their B777's, with fancy backseat touchscreens, and power outlets for each individual seat, front to back.

I am very pleased to have been wrong with my prediction. I love gadgets on airplanes.

Are you able to fly free or at some significant discount?

Asked by zzzach over 9 years ago

At my current job, no I can't get any discounts or free flights. It depends on who you work for. If you work for an actual passenger airline, there is usually an employee discount of some kind, or free flying via standby status. Some other employers have arrangements with airlines for discounts.

Is it important to get a Security Clearance for this industry?

Asked by Chad about 9 years ago

No, you don't have to get your own Security Clearance.  Whichever company you work for will handle getting it for you if it is required.  

Depending on where you work, you might not need one.  But I know all the major airports require background checks to get ramp badges and such.  

And, of course, working on government aircraft will likely require some sort of clearance, and an extensive background check.

It will be a big help in this industry, if you can pass a clearance background check for sure.

Hey this is a really interesting Q&A! Can I ask a question: do you think aircraft maintenance could be a soft target for terrorists? Everyone pays attention to the TSA, but do you think security measures around the mechanics / hangars is sufficient?

Asked by Julie over 8 years ago

In all honesty, yes, aviation maintenance, especially away from major airports, would present some good opportunities to do no good, if that was your intentions.  

I could speculate on specifics, but I won't here in an open forum, nor with anyone I didn't personally know already and trust.  No offense.

There are many facets of aviation, or railroad, or shipping, that are pretty big soft targets.  But the TSA/NSA has chosen the targets of interest that they have chosen.  

 

Are you responsible for ALL mechanical aspects of the plane, or do airplane mechanics have specialties?

Asked by Django over 9 years ago

In general, the larger the place you work, the more specialized the people and teams tend to get. Avionics people doing the electronic stuff, sheetmetal doing all the sheetmetal work, mechanics doing all the mechanical stuff, etc. If you work for a smaller place, or are out on your own at a remote outstation, or as a ride on mechanic; it is possible that you would have to do whatever task pops up. As an AOG/Ride on mechanic in the past, I’ve had to do a tire change, troubleshoot a fuel quantity problem, and perform a small sheetmetal repair; all in the same day, same plane, by myself. This would tend to be more common on smaller aircraft as well, as they tend to be privately owned, or operated by smaller organizations. Some mechanics do work only in specialties. Sometimes a mechanic will only have the Airframe portion of his/her A&P license, and they can only officially work on structures and associated systems. Same for someone with only a Powerplant license; they can only work on engines and their systems (typically defined as anything on the engine side of the firewall). There are also people who never work anything except Avionics, seats, painting and such. The typical person with an A&P (Airframe & Powerplant) license, is expected to be more of a ‘jack of all trades’ when it comes to aircraft. And mechanics that can actually perform as such, are valuable to have around.

Is there a particular aircraft you work on that you consider to be the best made / most sturdy?

Asked by smittay_101 over 9 years ago

The best made/most sturdy award goes, hands down, to the Douglas DC-8 series aircraft. I have never worked on a more overbuilt, Mack Truck of an airplane.