Why Study Aircraft Maintenance?

Have you ever sat in an airport and wondered why planes never seem to take a break from flying? Well, that’s because there are people working behind the scenes to make sure the planes are in tip-top condition all year round!

But who are these people exactly? We’re talking about aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians who are trained to fix and maintain planes, which are crucial to the safety of the passengers on-board.

If you’ve always been intrigued with planes and the way they work, this guide will explore everything you need to know about studying an aircraft maintenance course in Pakistan!

1. The Basics of Aircraft Maintenance

Aircraft maintenance relates to the inspection, repair, modification, replacement and overhaul of aircraft equipment to ensure that an aircraft is in optimal condition and most importantly, safe for flying.

Aircrafts, such as aeroplanes and helicopters, are often subject to undergo routine maintenance after a certain number of flight hours or flight cycles. During this time, aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians perform inspections to ensure the quality and airworthiness of aircrafts. Some of the tasks include replacing worn or damaged components, testing engine operation to detect malfunctions and inspecting engine parts such as turbine blades and cylinders for wear, warping and leaks.

As part of your studies in aircraft maintenance, you will equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to inspect aircraft components and systems, diagnose aircraft-related problems and rectify these issues accordingly. You will also gain an understanding of the legal requirements relating to the operation of commercial aircrafts.

2. Professional Aircraft Maintenance Qualifications

(i) What is an aircraft maintenance licence?

The aircraft maintenance industry is highly regulated as any minor error can result in an aircraft crashing with lives lost. Therefore, aviation authorities around the world require aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians to be licensed in order to carry out maintenance work on an aircraft.

Different regulatory bodies have different geographical jurisdictions. Some examples are:

  • European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the European Union
  • Civil Aviation Authority 

These authorities issue professional aircraft maintenance licences which enables you to become a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME) or an Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT).

(ii) What are the requirements to obtain an EASA Part-66 Aircraft Maintenance Licence?

To apply for the PCAA Part-66 Aircraft Maintenance Licence, you must be at least 18 years old and have the relevant practical experience for the license you are applying for.

Formal education, such as having a diploma or a degree, is not necessary if you have the relevant practical aircraft maintenance experience. However, enrolling yourself in a training centre will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills. In addition, many institutions will also provide you with adequate practical experience and industrial training, which will be helpful when you take your professional papers.

(iii) How about the EASA Part-66 Aircraft Maintenance Licence?

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part-66 Aircraft Maintenance Licence, which is offered by some institutions in Pakistan, is a similar professional aircraft maintenance licence with some differences.

Notably, the EASA licence allows you to work abroad as it is recognised in the European Union (e.g. UK, France, Germany, Netherlands) and selected countries overseas. However, if you want to practise in Pakistan, you will need to obtain a PCAA licence.

3. Why Should You Study Aircraft Maintenance?

If you’ve always been intrigued by the way planes work and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, aircraft maintenance might be the career for you! Here are some reasons you should study aircraft maintenance.

(a) You have a knack for fixing things

Do you enjoy dismantling and reassembling objects around you to understand how they work? Whether it’s a simple household item or a complex machine, discovering and improving the inner workings of machines gives you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

b) You are a hands-on person

Are you the type of person who prefers working with machines over human beings any day? If you’re keen on getting your hands dirty to solve problems, this career could be just the thing for you. It goes without saying that aircraft maintenance technicians and engineers must possess a high level of technical skill to ensure precision and quality in their work, as well as to assure the safety of an aircraft based on industry standards.

(c) You are detailed-oriented

To excel in aircraft maintenance, you must have a keen eye for detail as you will be working with large and small structural components within an aircraft, in addition to other important components. You must also be able to detect minor changes in the way the aircraft performs and troubleshoot problems effectively to ensure optimum airworthiness as it affects the safety of passengers.

4. What Skills Do You Need to Study Aircraft Maintenance?

Here are some of the key skills and qualities you need to develop to do well in an Aircraft Maintenance programme.

(a) Good organisational skills

Aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians must maintain a meticulous inventory of the components required for repair and equipment replacement, in addition to carefully documenting all pre-flight inspections and maintenance of the aircraft between flights. It’s equally important to know which procedures to prioritise to ensure all the required checks are done, without any room for error. You may also be required to work on weekends and at night, so be prepared to manage your life around your rotating shifts.

(b) Good decision-making skills

Risk-based decision-making is crucial as aircraft maintenance engineers will inevitably need to make decisions about the condition of aircraft components, what types of wear and tear can be tolerated, as well as what parts need to be repaired or replaced. These decisions have critical consequences and must be made with extreme care and consideration.

(c) Good problem-solving skills

One of the main roles of an aircraft maintenance engineer is to discern the problems within an aircraft and to find quick and safe solutions to these issues. This aptitude for problem-solving must be coupled with sophisticated technical knowledge to ensure that the safest and most efficient solution is used, and involves the application of knowledge from several fields, including mathematics and engineering principles.

5. What Career Options Do You Have With an Aircraft Maintenance Qualification?

After completing your aircraft maintenance course, your job titles may include:

  • Aircraft Maintenance Technician
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Mechanical)
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics)
  • Aero Components Repair Technician
  • Quality Assurance Engineer
  • Airworthiness Inspector
  • Technical Services Engineer

If you pursue your career abroad, you may have to obtain the relevant professional qualifications (e.g EASA Part-66 Aircraft Maintenance Licence for Europe, General Civil Aviation (GCAA) License for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) )to advance your career.