When boarding a plane, passengers are confident that the plane is safe and has been inspected to ensure that it can withstand the high altitudes at which it will fly. Safety percussions are taken to new heights — no pun intended — because of the extreme circumstances surrounding flying. Airline companies have a great responsibility and, therefore, hire experienced aircraft technicians, who have graduated from an aviation program and whose responsibilities include: servicing, repairing, and inspecting airplanes for commercial airlines, private firms and the military. These professionals must have knowledge of all parts of airplanes, including engines, propellers, landing gear, hydraulic equipment, radio and radar instruments, and bodies.
In order to take on this exciting career, professionals must obtain a post-secondary education through an aviation program. Centennial College offers such as an undertaking through its Aviation Technician – Aircraft Maintenance. The program is approved by Transport Canada and is recognized by the Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council as an aircraft maintenance training program. The college ensures these prestigious credentials remain in place by requiring students to complete over 200 maintenance tasks before graduating from the aviation program. Also required for Aircraft Maintenance Technician graduation is a minimum C grade in all courses. Transport Canada accreditation requires both a minimum B grade in every course and an absentee rate of less than five per cent of the total program hours. The program results in an Ontario College Diploma.
A significant portion of the two years spent in the program consists of practical application in labs working on aircraft engines, conducting aircraft and component inspections in a maintenance environment and performing flight-line activities. The aviation program also emphasizes the repair of a wide range of electrical and mechanical systems within an aircraft, including: hydraulics, fuels, environmental systems, engines, surface controls and undercarriage systems, and the aircraft’s frame and external skin. Specific courses include: Safety and Human Factors, Piston Engines and Propellers, Theory of Flight, Aircraft Hydraulics & Landing Gear, Power Generation and Distribution and many others.
In order to attend the aviation program, students must complete at minimum, an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or General Education Development or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Applicants must also possess compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment or equivalent and Math 11M or U or 12C or U or skills assessment or equivalent.
Upon graduation, student may work at airports making quick repairs on planes that are scheduled to take off. Major repairs are handled at an airline’s overhaul base, where aircraft maintenance techs are usually more specialized. They may work on only one part of their companies’ planes, such as the engine or the landing gear. At smaller airports, airplane charter services, and general aviation repair shops, aviation technicians work on all parts of planes. Other aircraft mechanics work in plants where planes are manufactured. Sometimes they go on test flights to discover and correct any problems that new aircraft may have.