When the word Aviation strikes an individual, the first picture depicted in one’s mind is that of a pilot flying an aircraft. Very few people know that behind every aircraft flight operation it takes enormous hard work, accurate planning and accomplishment of maintenance tasks, which has to be performed under pressure within the fixed timeline to keep these flying machines in the airworthy and safe condition. This responsibility of keeping an aircraft fit to fly condition is achieved with the support of unsung heroes which are indeed the real backbone of the aviation industry, the Aircraft Maintenance Engineers.
The responsibilities of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) range from line maintenance, day-to-day care and defect rectification to base maintenance which can include major modification and repair of the aircraft structure or systems. In many approved maintenance organizations (AMOs), the AME supervises the work of teams of less experienced personnel.
The duties envisaged for the AME require supervisory and communication skills, diagnostic prowess and a high degree of technical knowledge.
The Responsibilities of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME)
When AME signing a aircraft maintenance release certificate to certify that the maintenance work performed has been completed satisfactorily and in accordance with the procedures described in the aircraft manufacturer’s Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM).
Ensuring that the maintenance release contains a certification which includes the details of the work, the date and identity of the organization and the signatory.
In order to sign the aircraft maintenance release certificate or certify an aircraft as airworthy, the AME must supervise or perform inspections, repairs, replacements, modifications, overhauls and maintenance in such a way that they are able to take responsibility for the work and also issue a aircraft maintenance release certificate on completion of maintenance work on aircraft.
Tasks which are performed under the supervision of a licensed Aircraft Engineer
For better understanding lets explore about some general description of the types of tasks which are performed under the supervision of a licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME).
Responds to defects founded during inspections and recorded by flight crew in aircraft technical log.
Inspects and checks the condition of aircraft parts (e.g. engines, wings, tail, fuselage and landing gear) for serviceability by visually inspecting the skin and noting the condition of landing gear parts, leaking connections, correct fitting of parts and of operating controls.
Attends to all other factors which can affect the airworthy and safe operation of an aircraft.
Determines whether adjustment, repair or replacement is necessary; and if necessary, makes adjustments to manufacturer’s or company’s maintenance schedule and to the instructions on the use of appropriate equipment.
When required to rectify a defect in aircraft or its part or to meet the Approved Maintenance Programme, ensures the removal and replacement of aircraft parts as well as the opening of inspection panels in structure in order to inspect or disconnect aircraft flight control cables, fuel lines and electrical wiring.
Determines when and how to support the aircraft on jacks in order to remove and replace major assemblies such as landing gear or any other parts from the aircraft.
Ensures that adjustments and repairs are carried out as required; e.g. the replacement of cracked material in metal skin surfaces by cutting a new metal patch in accordance with the structural repair manuals from the Type Certificate holder. Reads engineering drawings and ensure that structural members are repaired to an approved standard in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
Supervises the performance of servicing activities such as oleo and tyre inflation, fuel/oil replenishment and lubrication; cleaning of structure and mechanical components; and replacement of light filaments. In accordance with the Type Certificate holder’s instructions, a wide variety of test equipment, hand and other tools are used for these tasks.
Attitudes and Responsibility of an Aircraft Engineers and Technician are very important and emphasis should always be placed on the following points:
- The responsibility for the safety of co-workers and of the general public.
- The individual responsibility of the AME for the quality of work performed.
- The importance of good judgement based on positive knowledge and careful analysis of facts.
- The importance of asking for help when in doubt.
- The importance of continuous study to improve knowledge and keep abreast in detail of both technology and techniques.
- The need to adhere to standard procedures and to establish the prevailing procedures.
- The need for integrity in all technical matters.
- The importance of good teamwork and communication.
- Attention to detail and ability to understand written and oral maintenance instructions and procedures.