Air Canada Maintenance department is responsible for the airworthiness of all our aircraft. Aircraft Maintenance Engineers make the final decision as to whether an aircraft is ready for flight, a decision governed by the principle of “Safety First”. As such, maintenance is involved in almost all aspects of the airline, from where we fly, to how often we fly and when we fly.
Air Canada maintenance teams are required to complete highly technical work, including maintaining and repairing the aircraft, operating aircraft systems and engines, as well as taxiing the aircraft. Ask a pilot what he thinks about maintenance, and you will learn that this may very well be the most important department within an airline.
A variety of skilled trades are involved in the maintenance of aircraft at Air Canada
Previous experience is required for employment as a technician / mechanic. However, from time to time openings are available to candidates with little or no technical experience in aircraft maintenance. In such cases applicants are placed in the "junior" classification. These employees can progress from the "junior" to the aircraft technician / mechanic classification.
The educational requirement for “junior” is High School completion. However preference is given to candidates who, in addition, have completed a technical course at a recognized institution, such as a Transport Canada approved school. Certain trades (*) require a diploma from a Transport Canada approved school.
Aircraft Maintenance Technician - Technicians are responsible for performing scheduled maintenance, defect rectification, and troubleshooting Company and customer aircraft. Working in the hangar and on the ramp, technicians are involved in repairing such things as flight control systems, landing gear, fuel systems, hydraulic systems, etc. Candidates hired as Aircraft Technicians require a college certificate (in Aviation maintenance) or equivalent schooling from a Ministry of Transport approved school. In order to be eligible for promotion above the level of a Technician, a suitably rated Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) ‘M” license is required and can be sought after four years of documented work experience.
A Day in the Life of an Aircraft Technician
My working hours are from 20:45 to 07:45, so my day starts at 18:30 after my after-dinner nap. I get ready quickly and drive to work. At the beginning of the shift we have a briefing on our work duties for the night. The nights are quite busy. I move the aircraft that I will be working on to the hangar, plus some aircraft on the ramp that my coworkers and I have to take care of. My work includes changing units of different systems, engine changes, trouble-shooting, and completing the log books. This is to ensure that by the early the next morning at 06:00, the aircraft are ready to be dispatched. At 07:00 the aircraft are cleaned and prepared, unless we have any surprises on any departures. The rest of my day is spent sleeping and participating in family obligations.
How I became an Aircraft Technician…
I finished college with a Diploma as an Aircraft Technician (Mechanic) and my first job was at Pratt-Whitney on engine overhaul. It was a great experience but I wanted more. My next job was at Bombardier where I worked building the first Challenger. However, my dream was to work for an airline. One day I was talking to an ex-classmate and he told me that Air Canada was hiring. Well, the next day I went to work late so that I could apply at Air Canada. Three weeks later I was a permanent employee. As the years passed, I went through all of the levels for a technician and obtained the licenses for different aircraft. At Air Canada, I have always worked in line maintenance. What a dream!!!
Aircraft Avionics Technician - Technicians are responsible for scheduled maintenance, defect rectification, and troubleshooting Company and customer aircraft. Working in the hangar and on the ramp, technicians are involved in the maintenance of electronic and electrical systems on the aircraft such as communications, navigation, auto pilot, flight recording, in-flight entertainment systems, lighting, and all electrically controlled systems. Candidates hired as Avionics Technicians require a college certificate (in Aviation) or equivalent schooling from a Ministry of Transport approved school. In order to be eligible for promotion above the level of a Technician, a suitably rated Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) “E” license is required and can be sought after four years of documented work experience.
A day in the life
It is 6 o'clock and I enter in the hangar where there are 2 aircraft being worked on by the midnight shift. My partner and I will be taking care of aircraft fin 318 which has one of its radio altimeter systems giving erratic indications to the flight crew.
The transceiver has previously been replaced which did not fix the problem. Before removing the antennas, we search the maintenance manuals (our bible) to find the procedures to address the problem, and we also to put in a requisition for gaskets for the antennas. It's 07:30 and our lead tells us that the other aircraft is ready for flight and we have to bring it to the ramp on gate for departure.
When we get back to the hangar, we continue work on the antenna. We eventually discover the coax connector is full of fluid and that corrosion has started to settle in. Bingo, we got it. We move back to the office to order an antenna and a cable.
While ordering the part, our lead comes in the office and tells us that aircraft 232 needs to be picked-up at gate 74. The crew is reassembled and we go pick the aircraft up and take it to the hangar.
The parts for the radio altimeter arrive and we install them. Final system checks are carried out, after informing our lead of the situation, he lets us know that the plane will be used on an 18:00 hrs departure to Miami.
Aircraft Sheet Metal technicians - Technician assessing damage and corrosion of aircraft structures; repairing, replacing and modifying sheet metal or composite structures Candidates hired as Structural Technicians require a college certificate (in Aviation) or equivalent schooling from a Ministry of Transport approved school. In order to be eligible for promotion above the level of a Technician, a suitably rated Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) “S” license is required and can be sought after three years of documented work experience.
Trim and Fabrication Mechanic - Mechanics are engaged in the repair of all aircraft furnishing, fabric work (which include chairs, carpets, drapes, and paneling). Mechanics may also be involved in the maintenance of the interior of the aircraft, including doors, windows, and the replacement of evacuation slides and windshields. Candidates hired as Trim and Fabrication Mechanics require a High School trade certificate. Preference is given to candidates who are a Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council (CAMC) registered Aircraft Interior Technician, or have knowledge of upholstery work and cabinet making.
Painting - This includes all paint work relating to the aircraft, engines, units and ground equipment. Preference is given to candidates who are a Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council (CAMC) registered Aviation Painter.
Welding - Involved is the welding of aircraft components, engine parts and related repair work. Preference is given to candidates who are a Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council (CAMC) registered Aviation Welding Technician.