Airline Maintenance

Written by Robert Mac
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Airline maintenance is not just another specialized aviation job--it's a very important one as well. Maintaining the thousands of aircraft that fly the friendly skies every day is a daunting task that can't be rushed; countless lives could potentially be lost due to any small error. This is why the Federal Aviation Agency has such strict regulations about airline maintenance.

Proper Airline Maintenance Begins with Proper Training

The FAA has approved hundreds of colleges and academies to teach airline maintenance through Aviation Maintenance Technician (ATM) programs. There are three main components to ATM programs: airframe, powerplant, and avionics. Airframe and Powerplant are offered together (A & P), while avionics is an advanced field of studying requiring an A & P certificate as a prerequisite.

Airframe refers to the frame of the aircraft; it deals with structural studies and physical maintenance of everything on the plane but the engine and its systems--that's what powerplant is. Depending on the college or institute, A & P certification takes about two years; in fast-track programs, you can get your certification in a year and a half or so. Together, these programs represent the basic requirements to secure work as a mechanic in the aviation industry.

Avionics is an advanced field, and deals with a plane's electronics. Since the technology is always progressing, this work is in high demand and requires the latest training. Having Avionics Line Maintenance (ALM) and A & P certification makes you twice as valuable as a mechanic: you'll have the knowledge and skills to solve most aircraft problems.

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