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All About Aircraft Mechanics

All About Aircraft Mechanics

They’re a regular fixture at the FBO, possessing an uncanny ability to identify the causes of random squawks and encyclopedic knowledge of obscure airworthiness directives and service bulletins issued since the dawn of aviation. Whether you call them mechanics, A&Ps, aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs) or even “hey, Mike,” you will call them. A good relationship with your aircraft mechanic is critical to keeping your plane flying. A good mechanic will be your trusted partner through the ups and downs of aircraft ownership, handling everything from routine inspections and troubleshooting minor issues to remedying hangar rash or making major repairs after an incident or accident. 

First aircraft mechanic: Unknown 

First aircraft mechanic for an airplane that flew: Charlie Taylor, 1903 

Specialty: Small engines 

FAA certificates? Not yet a thing! 

Number of FAA-certified A&P mechanics today: 313,093 

Number of women aircraft mechanics: 8,231 (2.62%) 

Women pilot percentage: Between 5% and 7% 

First female aircraft mechanic: Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie 

Year: 1927 

Mechanics who are airframe-only authorized: 12,238 

Powerplant only: 6,008 

Inspection Authorization (IA): 20,617 

Aviation Maintenance Technician School (AMTS): 65% 

Military experience: 12% 

Civilian experience: 23% 

Number of pilot risk factors Transport Canada found: 12 

Of that number, how many affect mechanics, too: 12 

Most common U.S. certificate: A&P 

International name for it: Aircraft engineer 

FARs governing A&Ps: Parts 43, 65, 147 and 187 

Training required: Aviation Maintenance Technician School (AMTs) or OJT 

Testing: Knowledge, oral, practical 

Testing areas: General, airframe, powerplant 

Advanced training: Inspection authorization (IA) 

IA requirement: A&P for at least three years and pass knowledge test 

IA renewal: Odd years, eligible through activity or recurrent training 

Medical required: No 

Drug testing: Possibly (depends on type of operation) 

A&P: Perform maintenance, minor repairs, minor alterations, 100-hour inspections 

IA: Perform maintenance, major repairs, major alterations, annual or progressive inspections 

Run/taxi qualified mechanics: Can taxi and operate aircraft for maintenance and repositioning 

Median pay: $65,550 per year, $31.52/hour 

Lowest paid 10%: Less than $38,7000 

Highest paid 10%: More than $100,860 

Average age: 53 

Mechanics over age 60: 36% 

Shortage: Yes 

Number of mechanic and avionics jobs in U.S. (2020): 151,300 

Projected job growth: 11% annually 

Projected new AMTs needed through 2041 (commercial only): 626,000 

AMT Day: May 24 (Charlie Taylor’s birthday) 

Recognition: Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award, 50 years of service 

Number of Charles Taylor Master Mechanic recipients: 3,164 (as of 2022)

Do you want to read more Plane Facts columns? Check out “The Evolution of Seatbelts on Planes” here.


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