Career as an AME
It may not be as glamourous as being a
pilot but aircraft maintenance engineers are just as vital to the aviation
industry as their high-flying colleagues.
Usually it is an aircraft maintenance
engineer who springs to mind when something goes haywire with an aircraft. A
helicopter crashes or a small plane has to make an emergency landing and all of
a sudden the question is raised, 'Was there something wrong with the plane?'
Well, it's the job of an aircraft maintenance engineer to make sure planes,
helicopters and all manner of aircraft are safe to fly.
Different Areas Of Maintenance
Depending on their area of specialisation, an aircraft maintenance engineer will
inspect, maintain and/or repair the airframe and engine systems, the electrical
and instrument systems, or the body of the aircraft. Alternatively, they may
choose to work on sections of the aircraft only (rather than on the aircraft as
a whole) overhauling, repairing and modifying components in a workshop. These
tradespeople are often referred to as 'aircraft mechanics' who, traditionally,
have not een subject to licensing and are often less well paid.
The Tasks At Hand
On the aircraft, an aircraft maintenance engineer may maintain, inspect and
undertake fault diagnosis of landing gear, brakes, hydraulic systems, instrument
and radio systems, autopilot, integrated flight or radar systems, environmental
control systems or fire detection and prevention systems. Or they may carry out
a variety of metal forming or joining processes using hand or power tools to
produce or repair aircraft sheetmetal.
Meanwhile, back in the workshop, others will be overhauling, testing and
modifying airframe and engine components, gas turbines or piston engines,
pneumatic and hydraulic devices, power distribution systems, or radio
communications and navigation system components.
'There's more variety in general
aviation. You get to work on big and small, as well as new and old aircraft and
there's more happening in terms of new developments - small turbine engines are
getting smaller and better, and in avionics (radio) things are really changing.'
Whether working for a major airline or a small charter company, you can expect
the work to be smelly and noisy. Most aircraft maintenance engineers work
indoors in hangars or outdoors on airfields and, when required, may work long
hours or weekends to get work finished on time. They may also be on-call and may
be required to work in all kinds of weather conditions.
The Right Stuff
Being a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer carries with it a lot of
After all, you could kill people. There's also a lot of stress. Accountability,
too, is a serious issue - a breach of the Act could land you in jail.
Whatever you're working on, you'll need to have the right licence or be working
under proper supervision. You'll also need to feel comfortable working at
heights (on platforms around aircraft) and in confined spaces. Good hand-eye
coordination along with neat, accurate work, good observation skills and an
ability to concentrate are also essential.
Choose Your Own Adventure
By acquiring a variety of engine and/or system licences, and initially choosing
carefully their area of specialisation, an aircraft maintenance engineer may
vary and improve their prospects of employment. Regular travel may not be part
of the deal, but some aircraft maintenance engineers do lead an exciting life.
The salary for an aircraft maintenance
engineer varies but is usually between Rs 20,000 and Rs 45,000 per month, while
an 'aircraft mechanic' can generally expect to earn less. An experienced
licensed aircraft maintenance engineer in a supervisory position may earn as
much as Rs 100,000, and some very highly experienced airline engineers can
sometimes earn as much as Rs 200,000 or Rs 250,000 per month.
Aircraft Maintenance Engineering
a) Heavy Aircraft (HA).
b) Light Aircraft (LA).
a) Jet Engine (JE).
b) Piston Engine (PE).
i. Electrical System (ES).
ii. Instrument System (IS).
iii.Radio Navigation (RN).
The course duration is 3 years,
(6 semesters) of which 2 1/2 years
(5 Semesters) is theoretical class room training with practical training
1/2 year (1 Semester) of live aircraft experience
Pattern : Full time
Atleast 16 years for enrollment.
• The minimum qualification is pass in Higher Secondary / PUC, 10+2 with
Math’s, Physics and Chemistry with a minimum of 50% aggregate of any
recognized University Board or any qualification recognized as equivalent
by D.G.C.A. Government of India.
• A pass in Studentship examination of A.M.Ae.S.I. Or A.M.I.E. or any other
• A pass in a 3 year Engineering Diploma Course of any good recognized
Certificate from an approved medical
practitioner by DGCA. (CLASS-I)
The AME License Examination will be conducted by DGCA thrice a year. The first
one in the month of February, the second one in the month of June and the third
one in the month of October every year.
To get a list
of AME institutes in India click