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.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +

Share:

Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

154 Questions

Share:

Last Answer on July 09, 2022

Best Rated

I wana know what did you had to go through to learn about this career because I wana to go to a school that's is all they focus on and if I really have to go take basics?

Asked by Jimmy over 10 years ago

I attended a two year aircraft maintenance school in Lansing, Michigan.  At the end of the schooling, I was able to take the Oral and Practical Tests for my Airframe & Powerplant license.  

It's really up to you, as to which path you take.  You can go to a school like I did, and be done with your license after two years.  Or, you can go buy some tools, and find a job as a mechanic's helper at a Repair Station or some other aircraft place.  Your goal, if you choose this as your career path, should be to have your A&P license.  That enables you to work, and to sign off your own work.  

If you take the working for your license path, you can expect to work at least three years as a helper, before you can get your A&P license.  Because, it takes 18 months of documented work on airframe things, to get signed off to take your Airframe oral and practical test; then it takes another 18 months of documented working on Powerplant things, before you can get signed off to take your powerplant tests.

If you go to a school, they will usually have the testing available to you there, or nearby; as you reach the levels of schooling needed for each license.  

If you sign up for an aircraft maintenance school, they will include the basics of each mechanic discipline.  It is just the way things are taught.  Don't underestimate the value of re-learning basic concepts though.  It can help you in the long run.  

Good luck.

Can airplanes fly upside down?

Asked by JimSaunders about 11 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.

Do you think flying cars will be more closely related to cars or planes?

Asked by Anonymous over 10 years ago

I think it will be a blend of the two, at least physically.  But the actuality will be more like owning and operating an airplane.  Here's why:  

I think that there will be a lot more "car" type aspects that the airplane folks are not used to, such as more Tonka toy like wings and flight controls (for durability); as well as the nicer interiors that car/truck people have come to expect.

On the flipside, there will be lots of 'airplane' aspects that car people will have a hard time coming to grips with.  Such as the inherent delicacy of exposed flight control surfaces, the inspection frequency that will be required, the record keeping practices that will no doubt be mandatory.

The biggest thing that lots of folks aren't thinking about, will be the amount of regulation that these flying cars will be faced with for operations.  Meaning the places they will be allowed to take off and land; as well as where they can and cannot fly in and around populated places.  

Certainly there will be some kind of special operator's license that will be issued by the FAA, which will require specialized training, and recurrency.

Also the aircraft itself (Which is what the FAA will consider this to be, no matter that it can drive on the road as well as fly) will have to be certified every year, just like every other aircraft, and maintained like every other airplane.  Meaning that minor dents and dings that most cars experience can and will be a big deal to take care of.  Likely requiring certified FAA mechanics to fix, maintain, and sign off the paperwork.

I think the general public has a rude awakening coming, when their dreams of simply walking into a Ford delership and buying their flying car, has such hurdles and caveats attached to it. 

hey I have a 66 Cessna 150 and the mechanic has left the sparkplugs out of the engine for app 10 weeks and now the compression reading are low. I think the guy has screwed up the engine what do you think

Asked by mike over 10 years ago

I'm not terribly familiar with what you have there.  My specialty lies more in large turbine aircraft, size DC-9 and up.

But, for my two cents worth:  I guess it would depend on where the engine was stored.  If it was outside, or somewhere damp, then sure, it would probably have corroded a little inside the cylinders maybe.  But, do you know what the compression of the engine was before he took them out ten weeks ago?  

Not to defend the guy.  In my opinion, and as standard practice; you should ALWAYS plug holes just like those.  Just to keep dust an dirt out of them.  To say nothing about bugs (who may build things in there), and other foreign objects.  

I really couldn't guess if that is what caused the low compression readings.  But, if they really were left wide open for ten weeks, it certainly didn't help anything.

Sorry to hear of your difficulties.  I hope you can get things sorted out without too much trouble.

What tools or equipment do you usually use on the job?

Asked by Chad almost 11 years ago

Currently, as an inspector in an engine shop, my tools consist of what I carry on my belt:  A good flashlight, a leatherman, a mirror, a blue pen, black pen, and red grease pencil.

Our shop cabinet has numerous precision measuring devices.  Calipers, micrometers, depth guages, etc.  All a mix of Starrett, and Mitutoyo brands.  

We also have two GE borescope kits, which are simply marvelous.

When I was a mechanic, I had a Stanley Vidmar toolbox, which I judge to be the sturdiest for the money.  With a mix of Craftsman, Mac, and Snap-On tools inside.  

Basically consisting of what you'd imagine to be in a mechanic's box.  Screwdrivers, wrenches, sockets, hammers, punches; with several different variations of each.  

Also:  Don't underestimate the value of keeping a 'cheap' set of wrenches and sockets in your box.  They are used to make 'special' tools (bending, cutting, etc) to reach difficult areas.  That way you don't have to wreck your good brand tools.

I can't exaggerate how much I love my Snap-On Ratcheting screwdriver.  Get one with the 'old fashioned' hard plastic handle, as the newer one with the rubberized inserts will get eaten by the hydraulic fluid.

Start off with the basic tool list your workplace will give you.  And just build it intelligently from there.  Buy quality when you can.  But Craftsman works just fine, don't be a tool snob.

There seems to be an almost infinite number of specialized tools and fixtures that each particular aircraft you work on will need.  Usually, the company you work for will buy or rent those for your use.  Occasionally, you will find yourself doing one certain job so often, that it makes sense for you to buy, or make it for yourself.  But you won't know that, until you do.  

In your opinion, What is the most common airplane(s) used in the the industry? (in General Aviation and Commercial Airlines)

Asked by Chad almost 11 years ago

In large commercial aircraft, it seems to be the Boeing 737, in production since 1967.

For General Aviation I'd think it would be the Cessna 172.

gear used in aircrafts

Asked by Vinod almost 11 years ago

Vinod, I'm not sure what you mean?  If you mean the basic tools I use on the job, check out the answer I just gave to Chad........

"What tools or equipment do you usually use on the job?Asked by Chad over 1 year ago

Currently, as an inspector in an engine shop, my tools consist of what I carry on my belt:  A good flashlight, a leatherman, a mirror, a blue pen, black pen, and red grease pencil.

Our shop cabinet has numerous precision measuring devices.  Calipers, micrometers, depth guages, etc.  All a mix of Starrett, and Mitutoyo brands.  

We also have two GE borescope kits, which are simply marvelous.

When I was a mechanic, I had a Stanley Vidmar toolbox, which I judge to be the sturdiest for the money.  With a mix of Craftsman, Mac, and Snap-On tools inside.  

Basically consisting of what you'd imagine to be in a mechanic's box.  Screwdrivers, wrenches, sockets, hammers, punches; with several different variations of each.  

Also:  Don't underestimate the value of keeping a 'cheap' set of wrenches and sockets in your box.  They are used to make 'special' tools (bending, cutting, etc) to reach difficult areas.  That way you don't have to wreck your good brand tools.

I can't exaggerate how much I love my Snap-On Ratcheting screwdriver.  Get one with the 'old fashioned' hard plastic handle, as the newer one with the rubberized inserts will get eaten by the hydraulic fluid.

Start off with the basic tool list your workplace will give you.  And just build it intelligently from there.  Buy quality when you can.  But Craftsman works just fine, don't be a tool snob.

There seems to be an almost infinte number of specialized tools and fixtures that each particular aircraft you work on will need.  Usually, the company you work for will buy or rent those for your use.  Occasionally, you will find yourself doing one certain job so often, that it makes sense for you to buy, or make it for yourself.  But you won't know that, until you do.  "