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Career Profile: Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians

Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 130,100 people employed as aircraft mechanics and service technicians in the United States. The median annual salary is $66,400. Entry level employees earn approximately $38,970 per year and senior employees earn approximately $103,880 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Check for corrosion, distortion, and invisible cracks in the fuselage, wings, and tail, using x-ray and magnetic inspection equipment.
  • Disassemble engines and inspect parts, such as turbine blades or cylinders, for corrosion, wear, warping, cracks, and leaks, using precision measuring instruments, x-rays, and magnetic inspection equipment.
  • Cure bonded structures, using portable or stationary curing equipment.
  • Fabricate defective sections or parts, using metal fabricating machines, saws, brakes, shears, and grinders.
  • Reassemble engines following repair or inspection and reinstall engines in aircraft.
  • Remove, inspect, repair, and install in-flight refueling stores and external fuel tanks.
  • Prepare and paint aircraft surfaces.
  • Listen to operating engines to detect and diagnose malfunctions, such as sticking or burned valves.
  • Clean engines, sediment bulk and screens, and carburetors, adjusting carburetor float levels.
  • Determine repair limits for engine hot section parts.
  • Service and maintain aircraft and related apparatus by performing activities such as flushing crankcases, cleaning screens, and or moving parts.
  • Clean, refuel, and change oil in line service aircraft.
  • Trim and shape replacement body sections to specified sizes and fits and secure sections in place, using adhesives, hand tools, and power tools.
  • Examine and inspect aircraft components, including landing gear, hydraulic systems, and deicers to locate cracks, breaks, leaks, or other problems.
  • Conduct routine and special inspections as required by regulations.
  • Inspect completed work to certify that maintenance meets standards and that aircraft are ready for operation.
  • Read and interpret maintenance manuals, service bulletins, and other specifications to determine the feasibility and method of repairing or replacing malfunctioning or damaged components.
  • Maintain repair logs, documenting all preventive and corrective aircraft maintenance.
  • Measure the tension of control cables.
  • Spread plastic film over areas to be repaired to prevent damage to surrounding areas.
  • Remove or install aircraft engines, using hoists or forklift trucks.
  • Assemble and install electrical, plumbing, mechanical, hydraulic, and structural components and accessories, using hand or power tools.
  • Locate and mark dimensions and reference lines on defective or replacement parts, using templates, scribes, compasses, and steel rules.
  • Modify aircraft structures, space vehicles, systems, or components, following drawings, schematics, charts, engineering orders, and technical publications.
  • Inspect airframes for wear or other defects.
  • Measure parts for wear, using precision instruments.
  • Obtain fuel and oil samples and check them for contamination.
  • Maintain, repair, and rebuild aircraft structures, functional components, and parts, such as wings and fuselage, rigging, hydraulic units, oxygen systems, fuel systems, electrical systems, gaskets, or seals.
  • Replace or repair worn, defective, or damaged components, using hand tools, gauges, and testing equipment.
  • Read and interpret pilots' descriptions of problems to diagnose causes.
  • Test operation of engines and other systems, using test equipment, such as ignition analyzers, compression checkers, distributor timers, or ammeters.
  • Accompany aircraft on flights to make in-flight adjustments and corrections.
  • Remove or cut out defective parts or drill holes to gain access to internal defects or damage, using drills and punches.
  • Install and align repaired or replacement parts for subsequent riveting or welding, using clamps and wrenches.
  • Inventory and requisition or order supplies, parts, materials, and equipment.
  • Clean, strip, prime, and sand structural surfaces and materials to prepare them for bonding.
  • Communicate with other workers to coordinate fitting and alignment of heavy parts, or to facilitate processing of repair parts.
  • Examine engines through specially designed openings while working from ladders or scaffolds, or use hoists or lifts to remove the entire engine from an aircraft.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
130,100
Annual Openings:
12,700
Increase in Openings by 2030:
12%
Annual Salary Range:
$38,970 - $103,880
Education Requirements:
Some college