Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) is basically a person licensed to ensure the aircraft is airworthy in accordance with local and international aviation standards. The Canadian equivalent to an American Aircraft Maintenance Technician and European's EASA Aircraft Maintenance Technician.


All aircraft, with the exception of certain homebuilt and ultralight planes, must carry a valid Certificate of Airworthiness to be legally allowed to fly. In order for this certificate to remain valid, all maintenance on the aircraft must be certified by a licenced AME. All aircraft are maintained periodically in accordance with the Aircraft Maintenance Schedule which comes from the manufacturer of the aircraft and must be approved by local aviation authority. Also, AMEs must rectify defects, which are reported by pilots/cabin crew or found by any maintenance personnel, in accordance with Aircraft Maintenance Manuals (AMM), Illustrated Part Catalogues (IPC), and Wiring Diagram Manuals (WDM). All work performed will be periodically reviewed by Quality Assurance Department (which consists of AMEs as well)if applicable, and with Local Aviation Authority. Also, from time to time, audits are carried out by Quality Assurance Department and Local Aviation Authority on AMEs. Therefore, AMEs carry considerable legal responsibility for ensuring that work has been performed in accordance with the applicable standards of airworthiness.


Most people become an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer by attending a Certified School registered under the aviation regulating authority of that country. In what is typically an 18 to 24 month program, they must learn everything that is required for maintenance of a typical airplane. This is followed by an apprenticeship period which usually takes a minimum of 4 years. (Depending on the school attended, a portion of that time may count towards their apprenticeship.)

Students attend approved training 9 weeks a year over a period of 4 years while the student works in industry, On-Job Training (OJT). This allows the apprentice to complete their training and apprenticeship virtually at the same time.

AMEs must also learn all of the sections of the Local Aviation Regulations which pertain to them. Once the AME has completed this and pass the necessary exams, the AME will be given a License Without Type Rating (L.W.T.R.) for the relevant trade. In order to be type certified/type rated, AMEs must either go for another exam with the Local Aviation Authority for a specific type aircraft, normally small aircraft (based on aircraft weight); or attend a course and exam with the Quality Assurance Department of an Approved Organization/Airlines, normally for larger aircraft.

The different categories/trades are:

*Airframe structures
*Electrical systems
*Instruments systems
*Automatic Pilots system
*Radio Communication system
*Radio Navigation system
*Radar system
*In-flight Entertainment (IFE)system
*Engine system
*Propeller system

Note: Some trades are broken down further, Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing.

Also, in time, AMEs can advance and diverse to other sides of aircraft maintenance engineering, such as to Quality Assurance Department as Inspectors, to Maintenance Planning Department, and so on.

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