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What Does an Airframe Mechanic Do?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 22 May 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An airframe mechanic works on an aircraft's fuselage, wings and tail. Other areas that are also serviced by the airframe mechanic are the oil and fuel tanks, along with the aircraft's brake system. From routine inspection to repair and replacement of damaged or failed parts, the airframe mechanic makes certain that the aircraft is safe and worthy of flight before he or she releases the craft to the owner. Intense education and testing are required in order to become an airframe mechanic, and many countries require certification testing prior to allowing a potential mechanic to work on an aircraft.

Aircraft mechanics are split into two basic categories: airframe and power plant. These two groups of mechanics are also known as A&P mechanics and commonly work together in order to complete most aircraft repairs. Similar to gasoline and diesel mechanics, the A&P mechanics must commonly declare a specialty when beginning training. Occasionally, a power plant mechanic will also hold airframe mechanic credentials. It is not uncommon for an airframe mechanic to actually ride in the aircraft and make in-flight adjustments to some of the aircraft's systems.

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There are several inspections and tests that an aircraft must pass in order to be deemed safe to fly. The A&P mechanics not only make repairs to the aircraft — they administer the tests, in many cases. The testing procedure is typically based on hours of service that the airplane has undergone and once hitting the declared time limit, the aircraft must be serviced and tested.

Other tests and inspections come annually, so these tests and inspections are known as annuals. Nearly all of the aircraft's many intricate systems are taken apart, inspected and calibrated or measured during these inspections. Any component that appears to show wear or is deemed questionable must be replaced in order to maintain the aircraft's flight rating.

Much in the same way that pilots and aircraft are inspected and tested periodically, so is the airframe mechanic. Testing to ascertain the mechanic's level of training and knowledge on many types of aircraft and aircraft systems must be verified to allow the mechanic to continue working on aircraft. Many state and federal agencies monitor the testing and certification of the mechanics to make certain that all of the licensed aircraft mechanics are up to the task of keeping an aircraft in service. Safety and knowledge are the two key traits of a well-trained and certified airframe mechanic.

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