Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft Mechanic

Fred Robel

25 Years Experience

Au Gres, MI

Male, 46

I'm a licensed Aircraft Mechanic & Inspector with twenty-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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108 Questions

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Last Answer on October 11, 2017

Best Rated

Do you ever have to go into the air traffic control tower to troubleshoot something with a pilot during a flight? If you can't solve it over the radio, do you have the authority to order the pilot to divert?

Asked by Oprahh over 4 years ago

I have never had that situation, or heard of a mechanic having to do that. 

Flight crews do occasionally confer with their company's maintenance control dept in flight about things. But this wouldn't involve the tower. 

As a mechanic, I have no authority to tell the flight crew to do anything in flight. Once I release the aircraft for flight as "Airworthy", the aircraft is the Captain's.

Tower aircraft controllers, or an FAA person would have authority to order a plane to divert. 

 

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 4 years ago

Done and done.  :)

What do you think are the most realistic plane crash movie scenes?

Asked by evan over 4 years ago

I really can't say. I've never been to a real crash site before. From the pictures I've seen, you usually have one of two scenarios: Either there is nothing but little chunks of metal and debris everywhere, or there are several largish chunks of airplane (sometimes just one bent up airplane if it was really low speed). I do know what isn't very realistic. Having engines running after the crash, is pretty far fetched, such as was seen in the opening scenes of Lost and Cast Away. Maybe I've just avoided most plane crash movies.

Can airplanes fly upside down?

Asked by JimSaunders over 4 years ago

Regular aircraft cannot fly along upside down like in an airshow. The reason for this is that the fuel and oil systems are designed for a one Gee environment. The fuel pickups in the tanks are on the bottom of the tanks in the lowest corners. The oil tanks on the engines feed from the bottom of the tank. So if you go upside down, those oil and fuel pickups will suck air. You can roll an airplane as long as you maintain at least one Gee. As the famous Boeing test pilot did when the Boeing 707 was having it's debut. For a very skilled pilot, such a maneuver would be possible. Airplanes that you see performing upside down, have either been designed from the start to do such things, or have been modified.

I'm in school currently to become a aircraft mechanic and I have a paper to write and had some ?s. what kinds of reports do u have to make while working? What kinds of oral communication and to whom? types of communication? What happenswith poor com?

Asked by Will over 4 years ago

There are several types of 'reports' that I have to make in the course of my work.  

The simplest one is the Non-Routine.  When I find something wrong, or that needs doing on the aircraft: I fill out this form, which gets recorded in the records, and then is addressed by the appropriate department at our Repair Station (maintenance, sheetmetal, avionics, paint shop.....etc)

Another kind of report we have to fill out sometimes is called an Service Difficulty Report (SDR).  These are filled out whenever certain "critical" systems or structures have a problem.  Such as emergency equipment.  If we have an emergency light that doesn't test properly; we have to fill out the report.  This gets submitted to the FAA, and goes into a huge database which is all sorted out as to types of aircraft and issues; and is used to help them decide when to issue Advisory Directives (AD's).

As to Oral Communication:  There is oral communication all the time.  Even if it is something that is written down, we usually go over it verbally (and use our hands for that matter).  As an Inspector, I communicate with the mechanics on the floor, their supervisors, and often the Hangar or Shop Foreman.  At our Repair Station, everything is 100% inspection buyback; so we are constantly in demand to witness certain steps of jobs, or to do final buyback on tasks.

We use all types of communication here.  We use written communication, via our non-routine and routine task cards, written turn overs on jobs and shift work, as well as little grease pencil notations on the aircraft itself, to help guide mechanics to the discrepancy areas.

We use oral communication, to discuss the steps of a job that is about to be performed, as well in all other steps of maintenance.  Reading body language and speech inflection is also important when talking about the work at hand.

Poor communication results in about what you'd expect.  From the nearly harmless simple repetition of a task that was already completed; to the disastrous of having an aircraft fall off of jacks during a jacking procedure, due to confusion in the communication between the guys manning the jacks and the person monitoring the level indicator.

Essentially, with poor communication; people can get hurt or die, and aircraft can be damaged or destroyed.  

Clear, concise, and timely communication is essential to any operation; especially aviation activities.

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

Asked by Chad over 4 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.

How do they install wifi on an airplane? My phone doesn't get reception at 30,000 feet, and don't they need that signal to make it work?

Asked by MOOAAR over 4 years ago

The system I've seen installed is a satellite based system. A satellite antennae is installed on top of the aircraft, and then a wireless router is located somewhere in the cabin. So no, it doesn't use the same land based signals that your phone uses.