An aviation Sheet Metal Mechanic installs, repairs, and replaces the sheet metal components of an aircraft, including various structural assemblies and sub-assemblies. Sheet Metal Mechanics perform complex structural repairs to keep aircraft up to specifications. Also, Sheet Metal Mechanics fabricate replacement parts for aircraft as needed.
Repairing the structural assemblies of an aircraft is complicated work, so Sheet Metal Mechanics must understand aircraft repair manuals, blueprints, and engineering documents. Also, a Sheet Metal Mechanic needs to know how to properly use, handle, and dispose of hazardous materials during their work. A Sheet Metal Mechanic should also have a knowledge of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) quality specifications, to collaborate with inspectors and ensure all work complies with guidelines and regulations.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Install, repair, inspect, and replace sheet metal components on aircraft and spacecraft, including structural assemblies and sub-assemblies
- Analyze and understand aircraft blueprints, specifications, and maintenance manuals to make repairs
- Conduct maintenance operations
- Fabricate replacement parts as needed
- Ensure all repairs are up to FAA and manufacturer specifications
- Safely operate various tools used for sheet metal applications
- Order supplies, equipment, materials, and parts for repairs and general maintenance
- Keep detailed records of inspections, maintenance, repairs, and parts inventory
Education and Background
This position requires a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Skills and Competencies
- Analytical, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
- Teamwork and interpersonal communication skills
- Mechanical aptitude and ability to understand engineering documents and schematics
- Knowledge of metal, alloys, aircraft adhesives, and sealants
- Strong hand-eye coordination and proficiency in using tools
- Sufficient physical strength and dexterity to climb on aircraft and manipulate replacement parts
- Knowledge of the use, handling, and disposal of hazardous materials
- High-level organization skills
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Sheet Metal Mechanic with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $38,000
- Tampa, Florida: $40,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $42,000
- Miami, Florida: $45,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $49,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $48,000
- Houston, Texas: $40,000
- Los Angeles, California: $43,000
- New York City, New York: $45,000
- Seattle, Washington: $41,000
- Overall: $45,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $42,000
- Tampa, Florida: $45,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $50,000
- Miami, Florida: $48,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $62,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $60,000
- Houston, Texas: $55,000
- Los Angeles, California: $50,000
- New York City, New York: $52,000
- Seattle, Washington: $46,000
- Overall: $54,000
Similar Job Titles
- Sheet Metal Technician
- Aircraft Structures Technician
- Aircraft Structures Mechanic
- A&P Mechanic
The path to becoming a Sheet Metal Mechanic starts by earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. Successful Sheet Metal Mechanics can advance into leadership roles such as Foreman, Lead Mechanic, Shop Superintendent, or Shop Supervisor.
According to the trade publication Industry Week, one major trend impacting the aviation industry in the years to come is the continual advancements in aviation technology. Specifically, the conversions to new, more efficient electronics systems in aircraft will mean Sheet Metal Mechanics will have to stay educated on the latest technological improvements.
Another trend in the aviation and aerospace industry is the need for new aircraft. Whether it’s mature markets looking to replace aging airplanes or companies seeking more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, many companies are looking to replace their fleets. That could mean an increase in job opportunities on the design and manufacturing side, rather than an increase in opportunities for repair and maintenance professionals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians field should grow by three percent between 2018 and 2028. That’s slower than average.
Sheet Metal Mechanics usually work rotating, eight-hour shifts. That means overnight, weekend, and holiday shifts are common in this field.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
- Aviation Job Search
- Aerospace Crossing
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