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

So I'm a brand new a&p doing heavy c check. My lead currently already has me doing projects solo, signing for work completed and signing off the job card to get it bought off by inspection. My question does the 6 month prior experience needed also affect buying off the card, is this s Nono or am I fine

Asked by wcbluedragon about 8 years ago

It sounds like you are specifically asking about the requirements outlined by FAR 65.81, and 65.83.

Go look them up, and read those two sections.

Ok, there are a few different ways to look at this that make what you are doing just fine.

There is the part about not returning an aircraft, appliance, or part thereof, back to service unless you have performed that work at an earlier date while under the supervision of someone who has done it before.

That could mean actually working with someone looking over your shoulder the whole time you do each job for the first time...... but usually it is interpreted as being under their supervision, as in having a lead or supervisor nearby who can help you if you have any questions, and will guide you when you need it.

The 6 month thing you mention, is basically an "active mechanic" clause. This is to prevent someone from quitting their aviation mechanic job to work at a lumberyard (or something) for five years, then just picking up where they left off one day back at the airport. The FAA views that as being gone from the environment for far too long, and you need some retraining under supervision again.

New mechanics, such as yourself, have proved to the Administrator that you are able to do the work, when you took your Writtens, Orals and Practical examinations. So as long as you start using your A&P within 1.5 years after getting it, you fall within the requirements.

"....within the preceding 24 months - (b) He/she has, for at least 6 months - served as a mechanic.....supervised others....etc"

So for every six months out of 24, you have to be an active A&P in order to maintain your privileges.

All that said; That bit gets ignored quite a bit when hiring people who have been away from aviation. And as with a lot of things like that, isn't an issue with the FAA unless there is an investigation for an error, accident, or incident.

We are expected to police ourselves quite a bit.

If you don't feel comfortable signing off the work, make sure your lead or supervisor comes and takes a look at it as well, during and after completion. At least for the first time you do each job.

Hello Sir,
I'm Naba from India..
I'm 16 years in 10 grade.
I want to become a aircraft mechanical engineer.. So I am planning for my further studies.. Which country/city should I plan to go after I finish my 11th grade?

Asked by Naba nargis almost 9 years ago

Naba, as an FAA licensed aircraft mechanic & inspector, who has worked primarily in the Mid-Western USA; I can really only answer you based on that experience.

If you plan on coming to the USA to get your Airframe & Powerplant licenses; I would recommend against large "Mechanic Factories" such as Emery Riddle.  Choose a smaller school program.  My Alma mater is the Lansing Community College aviation technology program, and I liked it very much, and it did not cost too much for a two year degree + my A&P.  I can also recommend the aviation maintenance program up at Northern Michigan University; where you can get your A&P, and stick around for a four year degree as well.  Those would be my personal recommendations.

If you meant going to some other country, then I'm afraid I cannot help you much.  

If you meant becoming an aircraft mechanical engineer, in the respect of being the guy who designs the aircraft; then I'm really really not the guy to give you advice.  I'm a mechanic.  :D

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

Asked by evan about 11 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.

What's a work schedule for an aircraft mechanic? Are they more at work or with their families? Do they work weekends?

Asked by David almost 7 years ago

It depends.

Depends on where you work; who you work for; and what type of equipment they are flying.

Aviation is a 365/24 industry, generally speaking. And somebody has to cover the 'crappy' shifts.

Heavy repair facilities tend to get stuck with a lot of crunch time overtime. When the planes are getting close to completion usually.

Flight line work will get hit with last minute overtime sometimes. When a plane breaks and you have to fix it before it can go.

Basically, unless you work in more of a shop environment, away from the flying part of aviation; then you will probably experience some level of unpredictability in your schedule.

You'll probably work weekends, at least sometimes.

There isn't a really straightforward answer to your question.

How big of a divot to a plane's exterior would change its aerodynamics? If I took a hammer and just whacked the top of the wing a few times to dent it slightly, would that render the plane non-airworthy?

Asked by wutang almost 11 years ago

Strictly speaking; I don't know.  If you look in the maintenance manual for any given aircraft, you will find limits for dents.  Depth, width, etc.  These would be dents that do not have any structural damage of any other kind associated with them.

So, if you took a hammer and dented the airplane 'slightly' it may or may not be airworthy.

Would it fly?  Probably; because it would take a terrific amount of surface deformation to ruin the aerodynamics completely.

But technically airworthy, is another matter.

As a certified aircraft mechanic, do you travel anywhere in the world for free or do you still have to pay for the plane ticket.??

Asked by Kou Yang over 10 years ago

No, I certainly cannot travel for free anywhere.  I, along with most other mechanics must pay our own way, just like the rest of the public.

Often, if you work for one of the major commercial air carriers, you can get discounts, or fly free on 'standby'.  But, most mechanics do not work for those companies.

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 about 11 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.