Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics are certified generalist mechanics who can independently perform many maintenance and alteration tasks on aircraft. A&P mechanics repair and maintain most parts of an aircraft, including the engines, landing gear, brakes, and air-conditioning system. Some specialized activities require additional experience and certification.

Maintenance schedules for aircraft may be based on hours flown, days since the last inspection, trips flown, or a combination of these factors. Maintenance also may need to be done at other times to address specific issues recognized by mechanics or manufacturers.

Mechanics use precision instruments to measure wear and identify defects. They may use x rays or magnetic or ultrasonic inspection equipment to discover cracks that cannot be seen on a planes exterior. They check for corrosion, distortion, and cracks in the aircrafts main body, wings, and tail. They then repair the metal, fabric, wood, or composite materials that make up the airframe and skin.

After completing all repairs, mechanics test the equipment to ensure that it works properly and record all maintenance completed on an aircraft.

Education Required
Aircraft mechanics and service technicians typically enter the occupation after attending a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school. These schools award a certificate of completion that the FAA recognizes as an alternative to the experience requirements stated in regulations. The schools also grant holders the right to take the relevant FAA exams.
Training Required
Some aircraft mechanics and service technicians enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training to learn their skills and to be able to pass the FAA exams. Aviation maintenance personnel who are not certified by the FAA work under supervision until they have enough experience and knowledge and become certified.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 5% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
As aircraft mechanics gain experience, they may advance to lead mechanic, lead inspector, or shop supervisor. Opportunities to advance may be best for those who have an inspection authorization (IA). Mechanics with broad experience in maintenance and repair may become inspectors or examiners for the FAA.
The FAA requires that aircraft maintenance be done either by a certified mechanic with the appropriate ratings or authorizations or under the supervision of such a mechanic.
Median pay: How much do Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians make?
$60,270 Annual Salary
$28.98 per hour

Careers for Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

  • A&P mechanics
  • Aircraft armament mechanics
  • Aircraft electronics specialists
  • Aircraft electronics technicians
  • Aircraft engine mechanics
  • Aircraft engine specialists
  • Aircraft instrument mechanics
  • Airframe and power plant mechanics
  • Airframe mechanics
  • Airplane electricians
  • Airplane riggers
  • Automatic pilot mechanics
  • Aviation electronics technicians
  • Avionics technicians
  • Designated airworthiness representatives
  • Designated airworthiness representatives (DARs)
  • FAA certified powerplant mechanics
  • Flight test mechanics
  • Helicopter mechanics
  • In-flight refueling system repairers
  • Inspection authorized (IA) mechanics
  • Inspection authorized (IA) repairmen
  • Jet engine mechanics
  • Propeller-driven airplane mechanics
  • Repairmen

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