World-wide, the business of aircraft maintenance is enormous, and is set to expand. The approximate number of aeroplanes currently in service world-wide is around 500,000 passenger and cargo aircraft and about four million smaller private aircraft used for business or pleasure.
India is one of the fastest developing countries in the world. Due to the liberaliZation policies of the government, there is tremendous growth in civil aviation. Many private airlines and corporations viz., Air India, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Air Sahara and Air Deccan are operating today with very good operating revenues. To meet the growing need of the passenger airlines, cargo aircraft`s, private air taxi operators, business and corporate jets, there exists an urgent need for aircraft maintenance engineers.
The aviation industry has two main branches: flying branch and maintenance branch. While pilots fly the aircraft, aircraft maintenance engineers are concerned with the maintenance of the aircraft. An aircraft maintenance engineer has to obtain a license from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
An aircraft maintenance engineer is responsible for the control, maintenance and repair of specialized aircraft instrumentation and related parts of the aircraft. They also learn to set engine controls and to test for their correct functioning. They play a major role among the maintenance personnel to keep the aircraft 'airworthy' at all times. The maintenance of modern sophisticated aircraft`s calls for high degree of technical knowledge, competence, proficiency, dexterity and integrity on part of the concerned personnel. Aircraft engineers research, design, manufacture and maintain aircraft. They work on any and every mechanical aspect of the craft, including airframes, hydraulics and pneumatics, engines and fuel systems and control and communications systems.
Engineers are involved in the following stages of aircraft production and manufacture: the design of new products such as components or entire engines; the manufacture and assembly of aircraft parts; research into solutions for complex engineering problems; maintenance of the finished craft to ensure safety and operational status.
A course in aircraft maintenance engineering is not a degree but a license course and only those institutes approved by the DGCA can impart training in this subject. The minimum eligibility criterion for getting admission into any one of the institutes is 10+2 or equivalent with physics, chemistry and mathematics.
Training is imparted for servicing and maintenance of aircraft to ensure 100 per cent flight safety. After completing the course and passing the internal exam, you have to clear the licensing exam conducted by the DGCA.
Remuneration in this field is very attractive. In Indian Airlines, Air India, Pawan Hans and other private airlines, engineers get a starting gross salary of about 25,000 to 40,000 pm which goes up to 1.20 lakh, whereas the total training cost is only around 1.25 lakh.
The major types of specialized courses in AME are: light airframe, heavy airframe, jet engine, radio navigation, electrical system, instrument system, piston engine and heavy aeroplane.
On completion of training you will get a Basic Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Certificate (BAMEC) from the DGCA which will make you eligible for a job in the aviation industry.
Some of the important AME training institutes are:
- School of Aviation Science & Technology
- Indian Institute of Aeronautics
- School of Aeronautics and Indian Institute of Aeronautical science at New Delhi VSM Aerospace and Hindustan Aviation Academy at Bangalore Flytech Aviation Academy
- Institute of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers
- Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy and Hyderabad College of Aviation Tech at Hyderabad Aeronautical Training Institute
- Lucknow Nehru College of Aeronautics & Applied Sciences
- Coimbatore Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering Institute
- Kolkata Air Force Technical College
- Bangalore and Mechanical Training Institute, Madras.