AIRCRAFT TECHNICIANS perform scheduled maintenance, make repairs, and complete inspections required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to keep jets, prop planes, helicopters, and other aircraft in top operating condition. They inspect engines, landing gear, instruments, brakes, and other parts of the aircraft, and do the necessary maintenance, or repair or replacement of parts. Large airplanes are equipped with monitoring systems that keep track of the aircraft's basic operations and provide diagnostic information to the technician. After completing repairs, technicians must test the equipment to make sure that it works properly.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $56,500 average per year ($27.25 per hour)
- A medium occupation (117,500 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow slowly (0.6% per year)
Most AIRCRAFT TECHNICIANS who work on civilian aircraft are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as airframe or powerplant technicians, avionics repairers, or combination airframe-and-powerplant technicians (A & P Technicians). The FAA requires 18 months of work experience for an airframe, powerplant, or avionics repairer's certificate, and 30 months for a combined A & P certificate. Completion of a program at an FAA-certified mechanic school can substitute for the work experience. Most airlines require a high school diploma and an A & P certificate.