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aircraft maintenance engineer
.“ “ Aircraft technology ranges from the simple wicker basket and sandbags of a hot-air balloon. to the carbon fibre and fully digital systems of modern jets.
Aircraft maintenance engineers are vital to aviation. LAME is pronounced lay–mee not lame. Both can repair a broken or faulty aircraft. to the carbon fibre and fully digital systems of modern jets. Engineers are the nuts and bolts of aviation. no one could fly safely. Don’t be put off by the name. Those who don’t have a licence (unlicensed maintenance engineers) must have all their work supervised and approved by a LAME.How to be an aircraft maintenance engineer Aircraft technology ranges from the simple wicker basket and sandbags of a hot-air balloon. For every aircraft you see in flight. there are aircraft maintenance engineers back in the hangar who have worked to ensure that the aircraft is safe to fly. 3 . without them. but only a LAME can certify that it is safe to fly. those who are Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (LAMEs). and those who are not. There are fewer than 1600 LAMEs in New Zealand. Maintaining aircraft is a highly specialised job that requires precise technical knowledge and skills. There are two sorts of aircraft maintenance engineer.
who do more study and gain more experience toward specialising in the aircraft they most want to work on. and fix it. This is just the beginning for most LAMEs.Becoming a licensed engineer Being a LAME is a highly skilled and responsible job. Training involves both practical experience and theory exams. for example. • The first path is to learn on the job under the guidance of an aircraft maintenance organisation. there is a huge amount of responsibility that goes with the position. and it usually takes between four and five years of study and practical experience to qualify. find out what’s wrong with it. You will spend five years as a trainee. At the end of the five years you can apply for your licence." (LAME Owen Stewart) Four ways to become a LAME There are four different paths you can take to become a LAME. how much you will be 4 . but there is no formal apprenticeship scheme. but you cannot become a qualified LAME until you are 21. Getting started You can start your training at any time. However. gaining practical experience and passing your exams as you go. Your organisation will pay you. You will have to negotiate. however. "Being a LAME is very rewarding because you can take something that is broken.
Not all aircraft maintenance organisations take on trainees. They need a total of four years of aviation engineering experience and passes in the LAME exams. • The second path is for those who have already done an apprenticeship in a non-aviation field. these people need just three years of direct aviation engineering experience plus passes in all of the LAME exams. You may have to approach several before you are successful. If you choose this path you will need to approach organisations and ask them to take you on. such as military aircraft engineering. A list is available free on the CAA web site www.nz under "Personnel Licensing / Engineer". such as car maintenance.caa. • The third path is for those who have already done a traineeship in an aviation-related field.paid and whether your organisation will pay your exam fees. To become a LAME. 5 . Because their experience is aviation related. There are about 50 certified maintenance organisations around the country. they can credit it towards their licence and may only need the exam passes.govt.
This path is open to anyone. You can apply for a Student Loan to cover up to $6500 a year. and no other courses or exams can be credited to your LAME exams. Some of these are compulsory and others are optional.000 to $31. Qualified LAMEs can expect to earn a starting rate of about $35.000 a year.• The fourth path is to train through a certificated training organisation. whether a new school-leaver or someone with more engineering experience. but this also varies. you will have to sit the same exams.000 to $21. Exams Whichever path you choose. but this varies depending on the shifts you work (for example. holds regular exam sittings in main centres throughout New Zealand. but again this depends on the maintenance organisation and their shift allowance rate. You must get at least 70 per cent to pass. and the total fees are more than $60. The aviation industry company. Salary A trainee LAME with no qualifications can expect to start out earning about $13.000 to $45. if you worked night shifts it would be higher) and is likely to increase as you go.000. but you must be at least 17. It takes four years. 6 . You can sit your exams at any stage of your training. The compulsory exams are: • Aeronautical Science includes basic physics • Aircraft Engineering includes workshop practice • Aircraft Materials includes testing of metals • Human Factors and Supervision includes the physical environment • Aeroplanes 1 or Rotorcraft includes aircraft systems • Avionics includes aircraft instruments • Air Law / Civil Aviation Legislation includes rules engineers must follow Passes in all of these exams are valid for life except the Air Law exam. You can also study for some of your exams by correspondence through the Air New Zealand Engineering Training School. A trainee LAME with a previous trade qualification (such as car maintenance) will start on about $25.000 a year. which must be sat within the five years preceding application for licence. but you would probably find them easier with some practical experience behind you. You will need to allow for the cost of textbooks and safety equipment.000. Air New Zealand’s Engineering Training School in Christchurch is currently the only organisation approved to provide LAME training. The LAME licence is unique. depending on what sort of LAME you want to be. Aviation Services Ltd.
LAMEs can opt to train in more of these areas. Once qualified. and they also specialise in one area of aircraft engineering as part of their training. helicopters.Specialising Aircraft and their systems are highly varied. electrical systems. Specialising means more exams and practical experience. or lighter-than-air aircraft. LAMEs can choose to specialise in aeroplanes. All LAMEs sit the compulsory exams. avionics. and LAMEs are not usually qualified to work on every kind of aircraft. such as hotair balloons. 7 . engines. instruments.
Specialising requires both practical experience and exam passes. However. LAMEs qualify to work on certain groups of aircraft. Some aircraft. are so complex that they form a “group” on their own.This Cessna 172 has relatively simple systems. and you must have all your work approved by a LAME. so there’s always so much to learn. As well as specialising in a particular area of engineering. if you don’t have a licence you will always be working under the supervision of a LAME. LAMEs may continually add more groups of aircraft and areas of specialisation to their licence. Throughout their careers. One of these 17 groups includes all unpressurised aeroplanes with metal stressed skin and fixed landing gear. such as a Cessna 172. like the Boeing 747. • The first path is to learn aircraft engineering with on-the-job training at an aircraft maintenance 8 ." (LAME Trudi Pocock) Becoming an unlicensed aircraft engineer You don’t have to be a LAME to become involved in aircraft maintenance. There are two paths to becoming an unlicensed aircraft engineer. weighing up to 5700 kg. Engineers must be specially trained to work on complex aircraft like the Boeing 747. "The technology is always changing.
You must be at least 17. Ian Diamond. maths. Mel Payne (left) and Air New Zealand General Manager Engineering.000.organisation. The course will give you a Certificate in Aeronautical Engineering. 9 . She is pictured with Air New Zealand Quality Assurance Manager. Angelene McIvor was the first person to be awarded the New Zealand National Certificate in Aeronautical Engineering. but the practical experience can be counted toward your LAME licence. and you should have Sixth Form passes in English. • The second path is to do a formal training course. The Air New Zealand Engineering Training School runs a year-long course in aeronautical engineering. and you should allow for additional costs of textbooks and safety equipment. This path is much like the first path to becoming a LAME – except that you don’t sit any exams. and one science (preferably physics). Systems Engineering. you can count your practical experience towards your licence. If you later decide to become a LAME. Level four. The course fees are around $13. The course exams cannot be cross-credited to the LAME exams.
000 to $23.000 to $21. To learn more The requirements for becoming a LAME are contained in the Civil Aviation Rules.nz If you would like to learn more about the training that Air New Zealand offers in Christchurch.govt. Part 66 Aircraft Maintenance Personnel Licensing. An unlicensed engineer without any qualification can expect to earn a starting rate of about $13. but this can vary depending on the maintenance organisation and shift allowances.Salary An unlicensed engineer with a Certificate in Aeronautical Engineering can expect to start out earning about $19. All Civil Aviation Rules. A list of exactly what you need to study to become a LAME is given in the Advisory Circulars to Part 66. Advisory Circulars and other information are available free on the CAA web site www. but again this varies. Reference material to assist your study is also provided.caa.000 a year.000 a year. contact the Marketing Representative. Rules have accompanying Advisory Circulars that provide extra information. 10 .
’ booklets can be obtained from: Safety Education and Publishing Unit.. This ‘How to. New Zealand..caa. Tel: 0–4–560 9400. Fax: 0–4–569 2024. P O Box 31 441...’ booklet was revised in 2000 and is available on the CAA web site: www.govt.Copies of this and other ‘How to.nz . Civil Aviation Authority. Lower Hutt.
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