Aircraft Structural Technician

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Aircraft Structural Technician


Have you ever been flying in an airplane and felt some turbulence or heard a noise that made you ask; how do I know this airplane is safe? Well, just like with cars, there are aircraft structural technicians who work on the assembly and/or disassembly of aircraft structures. They may also work on maintaining the structural and mechanical safety of aircraft. This job is critical to aviation safety and quality maintenance as aircrews depend on the repairers. If you enjoy working with tools, machines and state-of-the-art equipment, and you have stamina and are able to master new procedures quickly, this profession might be for you.

An aircraft structural technician will perform a variety of tasks in a day. They inspect the structural and mechanical systems of aircraft and ensure that these systems meet FAA and company standards of performance and safety. Aircraft technicians troubleshoot aircraft structural, mechanical or hydraulic systems to identify problems and adjust and repair systems. Part of this work includes being able to interpret and carry out these tasks based on technical drawings, manuals and established procedures. Regardless of the type of work being performed, a good structural technician is expected to perform under a variety of conditions and circumstances.

They may work in enclosed hangars or out on the tarmac in all sorts of weather conditions. Working hours vary depending on the place of employment with this occupation.
         Related Careers
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arrow Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Aircraft structural technicians understand the principles of aircraft construction and operation, and they know how to apply the appropriate techniques for servicing, repairing and overhauling engines and accessories. They tend to have a mechanical aptitude; good hand-eye coordination and enjoy working with a variety of tools. Workers in this profession are innovative problem-solvers who enjoy troubleshooting the structural, mechanical and hydraulic systems of aircraft and repairing or maintaining these systems accordingly.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Assembly/disassembly of the aircraft and its components
  • Manufacturing, modifying, and repairing sheet metal and composite parts to specified standards
  • Troubleshoot aircraft structural, mechanical or hydraulic systems to identify problems and adjust and repair systems according to specifications, technical drawings, manuals and established procedures
  • Drilling, cutting and forming structural sheet metal and composite parts
  • Assessing aircraft structures for corrosion and structural weakness
  • Removal and installation of special fasteners
  • Fabrication, repair and installation of fluid lines and fittings
  • Inspection, repair, and replacement of windows and lenses
  • Inspect structural systems of aircraft and ensure that these systems meet FAA and company standards of performance and safety
  • Dismantle airframes, aircraft engines or other aircraft systems for repair, overhaul and cleaning, and reassembly
  • Perform and document routine maintenance
  • Order and maintain inventory of parts and supplies.
  • During a typical workday a structural technician may be called upon to perform a variety of tasks. Whether assembling aircraft components or identifying and repairing structural and mechanical problems, everyday people's lives depend on the focus and skills required to be an aircraft structural technician. They may be indoors or outdoors on any given day and working in variable weather conditions.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Aircraft structural technicians are employed by aircraft manufacturers, maintenance and overhaul companies, aircraft operators, airlines and aerospace organizations.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Long term career potential varies for those employed as aircraft structural technicians due to the specialized nature of the work. They may progress to a foreman/woman, shop supervisor or aircraft inspectors. With further licensing they may be able to work on a broader range of aircraft systems.

  Educational Paths  
Aircraft structural technicians require completion of secondary school and a college diploma in aircraft maintenance. Another route is to complete a four-year apprenticeship program.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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