Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Job Description
An aircraft maintenance engineer is responsible for ensuring an aircraft operates properly and safely. This job entails assessing and handling repairs, performing regular inspections, and updating aircraft as needed. Individuals in this role must be trained and certified, as well as compliant with all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Hours may vary based on the company they work for, but emergency repairs may occur and make for long hours.
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
While an aircraft maintenance engineer’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these duties include:
Aircraft maintenance engineers ensure safety across assigned aircraft. In order to do this, they perform maintenance, both scheduled and emergency. This can include dismantling, inspecting, testing, repairing and reassembling aircraft engines; installing electrical circuits; testing aircraft communication equipment, aircraft instrumentation, and electronic systems; replacing and testing aircraft oxygen system components; assembling parts and subassemblies of aircraft frames; and conducting routine preflight inspections of engines and mechanical systems. They are also required to keep detailed records of the maintenance performed.
Aircraft maintenance engineers are required to maintain their company’s facilities and equipment as directed by the leadership team. This includes ordering parts and supplies as needed.
Uphold Safety and Security Measures
Aircraft maintenance engineers must be familiar with all relevant safety and security rules and procedures. Aircraft engineering is a critical safety function with a direct link in the chain of events that could lead to any kind of aircraft incident, making it imperative that all applicable licensing and procedures are held at the highest standard. By upholding safety and security measures, successful aircraft maintenance engineers will be prepared for any FAA inspections.
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Skills and Qualifications
Aircraft maintenance engineers should have a passion for performing maintenance and repairs. The ideal candidate for this role strives for accuracy and is meticulous with details. Education and training varies by company, but those with prior job experience are typically sought out. Employers also prefer candidates who possess the following abilities:
- Attention to detail – most aircraft maintenance engineers work in unpredictable environments – both with mechanical issues that may arise and with things such as weather. It is important to be a strong performer under pressure and have the ability to multitask while paying close attention to details and the surrounding environment
- Flexibility – aircraft maintenance engineers often work long hours as needed, depending on what issues arise. Most engineers work shifts that include weekends in order to cover flying hours
- Communication skills – aircraft maintenance engineers interact with many people – supervisors, maintenance staff, and other aircraft engineers – in a fast-paced environment, so it’s important to be a strong, detailed communicator in order for things to run safely and smoothly
- Problem-solving skills – aircraft maintenance engineers are natural problem-solvers, able to handle situations where some investigative work needs to occur in order to rule out certain scenarios and find the root cause of an issue
Tools of the Trade
Aircraft maintenance engineers often use the following programs in their work:
- Hand tools (speed handles, torque wrenches)
- Metal-working tools (electric saw bands, sheet metal rollers, drills, rivet guns)
- Microsoft Office (especially Word and PowerPoint)
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Education and Training
Aircraft maintenance engineers typically earn a college degree, but certification degrees are also widely accepted. Experience on the job is a major plus. The FAA regulates mechanical work on aircraft, and individuals entering this field must meet specific training and certification requirements. If you work in this role, you’ll likely work for a regional or national airline company, an architectural or engineering company, the armed forces, or an aircraft manufacturing and maintenance company. Depending on which industry you worked in, on-the-job training would likely be provided. All aircraft maintenance engineers need to meet the hiring requirements set by the FAA.
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual wage for aircraft maintenance engineers as $60,270 per year. This can vary based on what industry, country, and location. According to the BLS, aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians can expect little to no change in job opportunities through 2024.
There are many helpful resources available for those interested in becoming aircraft maintenance engineers. Please review the links below for valuable information and the latest industry news:
Aircraft Engineers International – AEI represents approximately 40,000 licensed engineers from national associations and trade unions worldwide. Its website provides updates and information around aviation safety and standards
Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook General: FAA-H-8083-30 (FAA Handbooks) – the new FAA handbook reflects current operating procedures, regulations, and equipment
Standard Aircraft Handbook for Mechanics and Technicians, Seventh Edition – for more than 60 years, the Standard Aircraft Handbook for Mechanics and Technicians has been the trusted resource for building, maintaining, overhauling, and repairing aircraft. This illustrated guide provides clear, step-by-step procedures for all essential aircraft tasks
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