A 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.'

Common Conditions

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 responsibility.

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.

Course: Aircraft Maintenance Engineering

Course Details: 
• Mechanical
i. Airframe.
a) Heavy Aircraft (HA).
b) Light Aircraft (LA).
•ii. Engines.
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 followed by
 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 equivalent exam.
• A pass in a 3 year Engineering Diploma Course of any good recognized

Physical Fitness 
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 here