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Aircraft Maintenance Technician

Aircraft Maintenance Technician

On an extremely hot day, an aircraft maintenance technician holds a wrench in his hand and mounts the parts to an aircraft carefully. Although he sweats profusely and there is engine oil smearing on his work clothes, he does not mind at all and still focuses on his work, as aircraft maintenance must have zero mistake.

According to unofficial data, most aircraft accidents are caused by human factors, such as mistakes by pilot and faults in design. Improper maintenance accounts for 12% of the total accidents. In 2002, a China Airlines flight disintegrated because of metal fatigue in the tail skin caused by inadequate maintenance 22 years ago. Hence, it is understandable why mistake must not be allowed in aircraft maintenance.

Aircraft maintenance is carried out by four departments due to the complexity of aircraft structures. The structural maintenance department is responsible for the maintenance of structural damages; the general maintenance department is responsible for general maintenance, such as routine inspection and tire replacement; the engine and airframe maintenance department is responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the aircraft engine system; and the communications and electronics maintenance department is responsible for the maintenance of aircraft cockpit communication and electronics systems.

All the four departments require profound knowledge in engineering no matter what kind of maintenance they are responsible for. Therefore, unlike other industries, newcomers, regardless of their educational background, must start from bottom and win chances of promotion by gradually accumulating techniques and experiences, in order to ensure the aircraft safety.

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The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
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The University of Hong Kong
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Li Ka Shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education (LiPACE)
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