How to Become an Aviation Structural Mechanic
An aviation structural mechanic is a technically qualified person who is responsible for maintaining the aircraft and its components. There are two types of Aviation Structural Mechanics, namely Aviation Structure Mechanic Hydraulics (AM) and Aviation Structural Mechanic Structures (AMS). As an AM, you have to maintain the hydraulics main or auxiliary power and gear systems. While as an AMS, you will be operating the mainframe of the aircraft, apart from maintaining other movable components of an aircraft or flight control equipments.
Aviation structural mechanics are responsible for the regular checkups, repair and replacement of various components of aircraft's like airfoils, regular seats, wings, fixed and movable surfaces, aircraft fuselage, wheels and tires, aircraft surface and paint of the aircraft. You will also be expected to conduct the regular pre-flight and post-flight inspections on the aircraft.
After acquiring a high school education, you should enroll in the navy, another military branch or a military school in order to become an aviation structural mechanic. Alternatively, you can join any FAA-approved Aviation Maintenance Technician school program. There are various courses available such as a Basic Aviation Structural Mechanic course and a Basic Aviation Theory course. The course duration is between 6 to 8 weeks. Apart from this, some of the aviation structural mechanics choose to engage in additional courses, like a two week Organizational Maintenance Training course.
In the navy for example, the incumbents are rated based on their performance and physical conditions and abilities (including color perception and hearing ability test). Associated degree courses in Aviation Maintenance Technology is also available for potential mechanics and completion of this course will entitle you to obtain an A&P Technicians Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification or a FAA Mechanic Certificate.
Tips for Advancing in the Career
Since new types of aircrafts are introduced in every now and then, it is recommended that you should continue your education and training. Your advancement in this career depends on the rating manning level you obtain during these training periods. Furthermore, you must update your knowledge regarding the maintenance of new model aircrafts or helicopters, like the CH-47, UH-60, for instance. In addition, you should also become familiarized with new technology, tools and equipments. This is standard in any mechanical field. Apart from all these technical requirements, you must maintain an adequate physical condition and pass a U.S. government background security check from time to time. There are avenues for an aviation structural mechanic to advance to a Flight Controller aboard the aircraft with relevant experience and expertise. Detailed information on this career can be obtained on Aviation Employment, a portal dedicated to careers in aviation.
Other Important Information
Career as an aviation structural mechanic is challenging and attractive (median annual salary is $40,000 with 40 hours of work in a week), but you have to be prepared to work in high noise level environment consistently. Aviation structural mechanics may be posted on sea shore duty, hangars or flight decks and may have to do heavy physical work. With consistent improvement of your knowledge, you can advance to higher level positions.