Everything You Need To Know About Being A Licensed Aircraft Engineer

Everything You Need To Know About Being A Licensed Aircraft Engineer

Aircraft maintenance requires skilled and certified personnel to carry out tasks and activities. Among these are Licensed Aircraft Engineers (LAEs), who are in charge of signing off the aircraft after maintenance. LAEs are categorized as B1 (specializing in airframes, powerplant, and mechanical components) and B2 (specializing in avionics, navigation, radio and electrical systems).

An LAE is responsible for performing scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, in accordance with the approved data from the manufacturer or from Approved Design Organisations (Part 21 Subpart G)

All LAEs start off as technicians, before moving on to do approved and prescribed courses and examinations to obtain the required qualifications from the respective National Aviation Authorities (such as CAAM, EASA, etc).


Source: www.class-central.com

If, since high school, you’ve known you wanted to pursue a career in aircraft maintenance, it would be useful to have taken science subjects such as physics, mathematics and chemistry.

You do not need a prior degree to undergo training to become an LAE. What’s more important is your job experience – more on this below.

To take on a licensing course, you will need to be at least 18 years of age; to sit for the exams, you must be 21 years old and above.

Useful Personal Traits

Having certification doesn’t necessarily make you a good LAE. This job requires more than just qualifications; you need to possess certain key characteristics in order to be successful in this career. Apart from responsibility, proactivity and other skills typically required for any job, being an LAE calls for additional, more ‘specialized’ personal attributes.

Among the most important traits is attention to detail. Safety and thoroughness are extremely crucial in aircraft maintenance. On an aircraft, missing out on a minor detail can lead to a catastrophe.

Another useful quality is mechanical adeptness. If you are naturally inclined towards mechanical tasks and have an affinity with building and fixing components, you are likely to make a good LAE.

While it is beneficial to possess certain skills to help you with performing maintenance activities, having physical fitness and stamina are equally as important. Being an LAE requires physical exertion, so, having stamina is vital in delivering top-quality work for extended periods of time.


Source: Dviation Group

In Malaysia, LAEs are accredited by CAAM (Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia) and/or EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency)

The route to becoming an LAE can either be self-done or via an EASA approved course. If done on your own, in addition to passing the examinations, you will need five years of maintenance job experience before applying for a license. If via aPart-147 approved course route, the two- or three-year course can be followed by two years of maintenance experience before you are awarded with your license. Both are roughly the same, taking around five years to complete.

But Wait – Here’s The Catch!

Despite attaining all the required certifications and having undergone Basic and Type Courses, you may not be certified as an LAE. Here’s why: to become an LAE, you will need to collect certifications and documentations to send into your national aviation authority – in this case, CAAM – in order to receive your license. One of the documents needed is a company approval. While you’re accumulating your job experience (either 2 or 5 years, as mentioned above), the employer you are working for must decide if they want to establish you as an LAE under their company.

Most companies have a projection of how many aircraft will require maintenance, and so, they have a set number of LAEs needed in their company. If they are not in need of LAEs at this point in time, they are likely to retain you as a technician, rather than establishing you and having to increase your base pay. There is a high chance you’ll only be able to achieve LAE certification at the discretion of your employer.

So, What Should You Do?

Source: Dviation Group

Look for a place that offers on-the-job training, as well as a broad choice of job opportunities. This may sound too good to be true, but companies like these do exist! Dviation, for example, is one of such companies. The first of its kind in Malaysia, Dviation is a training organization, recruitment agency, and consultancy firm – essentially, they are a one-stop aviation solutions provider.

They offer training ‘crash’ courses that can be as short as two days. This offers flexibility as you can undergo training without having to take long periods off work. Upon passing the exams, you get the opportunity to work for one of many clients that outsource maintenance activities to Dviation. And because Dviation is rapidly expanding in the ASEAN region, there is always a need for LAEs, so here’s where you get the chance to be established as a full-fledged LAE.

With training organizations such as Dviation, the pathway to becoming a full-fledged LAE is comprehensive yet flexible. For more information on courses, click here.

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