Vaughn College Celebrates Aviation Maintenance Technician DayBy Vaughn College
Thousands of aircraft take off and land every day, but did you ever wonder what it takes to keep them properly maintained and flying safely?
Aviation Maintenance Technician Day is May 24―a day when we recognize both the men and women who work behind the scenes. Additionally, we honor an early pioneer named Charles Edward Taylor, who made all of this happen.
History of Aviation Maintenance Technician Day
As history serves us, the Wright Brothers were the first aviation pioneers to make the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered aircraft. But did you know it was a man named Charles Edward Taylor who built the engine used to power the plane? To honor his achievement, Taylor’s birthday was selected to mark Aviation Maintenance Technician Day as a national day of recognition for aviation maintenance professionals. Aviation Maintenance Technician Day is currently observed by 45 states in the United States.
According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians have been projected to grow five percent from 2016 to 2026, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. And according to Boeing, the industry will need as many as 648,000 new technicians by 2036. In May 2017, the median annual wage for aircraft mechanics and service technicians was $61,020. The time couldn’t be better to pursue a career in this field.
What it Takes to Become an Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT)
Working as an AMT―also known as airframe and powerplant technician―is a demanding career. It is a highly skilled job that requires licensing by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure candidates have mastered a broad range of industry-related knowledge and skills. AMTs perform routine maintenance on aircrafts and look for parts that need to be repaired or replaced, including: brakes, wheels, electrical systems and wings. Candidates who pursue a career as an AMT must fulfill a few of the following requirements:
- Completion of 1,900 hours of class time and hands-on training before taking the licensing exam
- Being able to work on different engine systems from varying manufacturers, along with the ability to apply knowledge learned from manuals for troubleshooting
- Must be skilled in mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, composite and sheet metal applications
Skills and Responsibilities
For every flight that lands in the United States, there is a crew of AMTs who must inspect the plane and sign off on each protocol to ensure every facet of its mechanics is working properly and efficiently. Here are some of the skills and responsibilities required to do the job:
Skills and Requirements:
- Be licensed by the FAA
- Must be conscientious and thorough
- Adhere to demanding schedules
- Work well under pressure
- Address immediate problems and resolve them before takeoff, or defer problem and ground flight for later repair
- Use full knowledge of industry standards and apply troubleshooting skills
- Sign off on all protocols to ensure a plane is safe to fly
Opportunity for Growth
AMTs working in their field have the opportunity to move up the ladder within their company. Here is a snapshot of the different types of jobs in the field:
- AMT―performs routine maintenance and repairs
- Lead technician―distributes, assigns and monitors work
- Instructor―teaches general familiarization classes for the type of aircraft that airlines use along with classes on aircraft systems, procedures, safety and compliance
- Aircraft Maintenance Planner―handles environmental studies, oversees land use planning, and participates in business development activities
- Maintenance controller―works in a central location to help troubleshoot problems on the ground
- Maintenance engineer―modifies aircraft
Vaughn Expert Weighs In
Fred Parham, associate director at Vaughn College’s Aviation Training Institute (ATI), has over 30 years of experience in the aviation maintenance field. Parham said the opportunities for AMTs have never been better than they are today. “Now is a great time to pursue a career in the field of aviation mechanics,” Parham said. “No two days are ever the same. It’s a serious job with great responsibility, but the rewards are endless.”
Vaughn College Can Get You There
Vaughn College’s ATI can prepare you for a high paying career as a certified airframe and powerplant technician in as little as 16 months. To learn more this exciting opportunity, register for our Aviation Maintenance Information Sessions on June 13.
Happy Aviation Maintenance Technician Day, and Happy Birthday to Charles Edward Taylor!