Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

Overview

Aircraft Maintenance Engineers maintain, repair and overhaul aircraft, as well as ensuring that those aircraft meet Transport Canada standards of safety and performance.   Some of the typical duties include:

  • Troubleshoot aircraft structural, mechanical or hydraulic systems to identify problems and adjust and repair systems according to specifications, technical drawings, manuals and established procedures.
  • Install or modify aircraft engines, mechanical, hydraulic, flight control, fuel and pneumatic systems.
  • Dismantle airframes, aircraft engines or other aircraft systems for repair, overhaul and cleaning, and reassemble.
  • Perform and document routine maintenance.

Aircraft mechanics usually specialize in working on specific aircraft systems such as engines, engine accessories, airframes, propellers, mechanical components or hydraulic systems and specific kinds of aircraft, such as light aircraft, jet transports and helicopters.

The aviation maintenance and manufacturing industry is made up of two types of technicians: licensed and unlicensed. Licensed technicians are certified by Transport Canada and can use the designation of aircraft maintenance engineer (AME). An AME has the authority to sign-off on finished work. Unlicensed technicians can obtain voluntary certification through the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace (CCAA). More information can be found at http://www.avaerocouncil.ca/.

Salary and Benefits

As a licensed AME you can expect to earn from between $37,000 to $67,000 per year, with an average being around $55,000 per year.  Along with a regular salary, most companies provide dental and health plans as well.  Working conditions vary a great deal depending on the size and location of the employing company. 

Skills and Aptitudes

Good mechanical skills and an aptitude for working with tools and testing equipment.  As the required skill level has increased due to aircraft mechanical and control systems becoming more complex and increasingly computerized, an understanding of automated machinery as well as good communication and analysis skills are very important.

Training Information     

To qualify for an AME license four things are required:

  • A basic training course
  • A completed log book
  • 48 months documented experience from an Approved Maintenance Organization
  • Pass the Canadian Aviation Regulations exam administered by Transport Canada

The requirements can be met in a few ways:

  • Complete the AME training through a four year program at Stevenson Aviation & Aerospace Training Centre, Red River College, in Winnipeg, and Southport, Manitoba.  Apprentices must work with the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission to arrange for indentureship with Manitoba Apprenticeship.
  • Student attends an accredited institute such as the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) and earns accredited basic training and 18 months time credit.  They are then hired by employers who sign off tasks in the log book and provide a letter for the remaining 30 months of required time.
  • Correspondence course for basic training is available but not accredited. Student works 48 months for a company and again get time and tasks signed off.

NOTE:  The apprenticeship stream is independent of the college or diploma stream.

The provincial AME Diploma Program is delivered by SIIT at the Aviation Learning Centre at the Saskatoon Airport.  It is a two year program running 32 weeks per year.  Graduates receive the SIIT Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Category M Training diploma, and are eligible to apply as an apprentice in the aircraft maintenance industry.  They will be credited with 18 months towards the 48 months of industry experience required to obtain an AME license.

SIIT AME Entrance requirements

Students are required to have a minimum of Grade 11 math and physics with a 65% achievement. Grade 12 math with 65% is required and physics strongly recommended.  Adult education students can demonstrate achievement with a CAAT test.  The application process will include an interview. Ideal candidates will have good communication skills, strong mechanical interest and aptitude, and interest in aircraft maintenance. Regular attendance and punctuality is required. Attendance is imperative to achieve success. Industry requirements include good eyesight, hearing, manual dexterity, and physical agility.

For complete course information go to:  http://www.siit.sk.ca/content/aircraft-maintenance-engineer-ame-category-m

Career Paths

Aircraft maintenance engineers may be employed by air carriers, flight training schools, aircraft repair and overhaul companies, component shops, and some aircraft engineers may work as sales representatives for aeronautical products.  It is also quite common for members to receive training in the military, and then move to a civilian job.

AMEs may progress to supervisory positions or aircraft inspector, as well as obtaining further endorsements to their AME license that allows them to inspect and certify a broader range of aircraft or aircraft systems.  AME licenses are issued in the following categories:

M - Aircraft
E - Avionics Systems (electronic systems)
S- Structures
B - Balloons

Saskatchewan Apprenticeship Information

http://www.saskapprenticeship.ca/Files/FileSelect/?entry_id=6970

Transport Canada Licensing

http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/maintenance-aarpb-menu-2534.htm

Further Information

Trade Information.pdf
A Guide to Course Content.pdf
On-the-Job Training Guide.pdf
Provincial Occupational Analysis.pdf
Form 6A Verification of Trade Experience.pdf