What's the Difference Between an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic and an Avionics Technician?

There are many different jobs surrounding aircraft maintenance. As technology progresses, diagnostics, and systems become more software based. The knowledge now required to service all of these different systems as well as the physical fabric of the aircraft is immense. The only way to deal with this is to create specialties, namely airframe, powerplant mechanics, and avionics. A senior engineer who has trained in both airframe and powerplant and is usually called an "A & P mechanic."


Airframe concerns the physical fabric of an airplane such as the wings, wheels, cabin, doors, windows, brakes, heating and cooling systems, outer skin, floors, and lighting. An airframe mechanic will check, repair and service these components. As well as standard servicing based on specific time interval and cycles of use; the flight crew may well draw attention to a fault or some damage that needs attention. Powerplant specifically covers the engines and fuel delivery systems. These mechanics will be trained in providing servicing schedules and repairing damage such as collisions with birds or debris sucked into the engines.

An avionics mechanic is focused more on electronic and control systems and components, which make everything work. For example they might deal with anti-skid systems, communications, radar, weather radar, automatic pilot systems, "black box" flight recorders, and anti collision systems. Military avionics technicians will also need to know about weapons guidance systems, and scrambling communications. They often need a separate radio license for this too.

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