Aircraft Maintenance offers many fantastic career paths if you prefer the idea of a hands-on role which requires practically-minded people and the opportunity to work up close or on aircraft.
Aircraft engineers maintain, inspect, repair and service aircraft to achieve internationally-approved licences and sustain aviation’s high safety standards all over the world. Specialising in either mechanics or avionics, qualified aircraft engineers work for airlines, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) divisions of aerospace manufacturers or specialist aircraft maintenance companies. There are also military routes via the RAF while the General Aviation (GA) community, which spans a huge range of activities from Flying Clubs to Business jets below 5700Kg, also require qualified engineers to maintain their fleets.
More and more aerospace manufacturers are also turning to the lucrative ‘after sales service’ market in order increase their profits, and companies such as Rolls-Royce (engines) and Messier-Dowty (landing gear) also offer maintenance support following the sale of their components. Therefore there are likely to be good employment prospects for those taking the licensed engineer route.
Safety is crucially important to the aviation industry – flying is still the safest form of transport, and if you can offer attention to detail, excellent understanding of safety requirements and awareness of aircraft systems, good hand skills, communication and the ability to work as a team, often internationally, this could be the route for you!
Furthermore, there are other levels and specialist areas to suit everyone: such as to Technician level rather than becoming fully-Licenced engineer. There are also engineering management opportunities, overseeing maintenance procedures and roles in Quality Assurance, ensuring that repairs and other work is carried out to international quality standards such as ISO. Finally, as competition for maintenance contracts increases between the many players, there are increasing numbers of commercial roles available, where your office may be attached to a large hangar at the edge of a runway!