Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology Blog
There are many ways to be involved with the exciting world of aviation. If you can’t become a pilot, you can become a mechanic and take care of the machines that make flight possible. In this article, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology looks at some of the personality traits, skills, and training you’ll need to consider if you want to become an aircraft mechanic.
The Tinker Gene
First, we’ll look at the personality traits you need for success as an airline mechanic. Perhaps the most obvious one is “the tinker gene”—the obsessive need, since childhood, to take things apart to see how they worked, and put them back together again so they worked even better. If you love getting your hands dirty and have a huge collection of mechanical tools, you are probably suited for the workshop life.
In addition to having a burning desire to tinker, you should be:
If you have many of the above traits, aviation maintenance could be the career path for you.
Training for Aviation Maintenance
In addition to having the aptitude for a mechanic’s life, you’ll also need the right training. Choose an FAA-approved college or trade school that will teach you the right blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills. You should take part in:
You should also take courses in:
Your ultimate goal is to obtain an FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A & P) certificate. This is gained by completing a diploma or degree program and then taking an oral, written, and practical exam administered by the Federal Aviation Administration.
An A & P is critical for your success as an aircraft mechanic. So, you need to take your training very seriously—even the general education classes you may encounter if you choose a degree program rather than a diploma program. All of the classes you take are designed to make you more marketable, either by teaching you directly applicable skills or by enhancing your creative and critical thinking abilities.
Finally, it’s always worth mentioning that aviation is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world. The FAA, NTSB, and many other agencies all take a keen interest in the daily operations of airports and aircraft maintenance shops. With all these government agencies involved, it means you’ll be dealing with lots of paperwork and procedures mandated by bureaucrats.
Don’t blow these procedures off. There’s a saying that all of the Federal Aviation Regulations are “written in blood”—meaning that they became necessary after someone died because of a lack of regulation. While the point of a particular reporting procedure may not be readily obvious to you, someone further up the chain may find it very useful indeed. If you can consider the bureaucratic intrusions as part of the cost of getting to do what you love—make airplanes fly—then you have the right mind set for becoming an airline mechanic.