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Aircraft Mechanics Unskilled Labor  
User currently offlineTechRep From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (14 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 8408 times:

I have heard this many times when I was turning wrenches. The Department of Labor considers A&P Mechanics as unskilled labor but someone who puts a car together on an assembly line skilled labor. I have searched the net for sometime for a list of skilled and unskilled labor job types to no avail. If this is in fact true it's totally asinine, if you have the link to view such information please provide it.


11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAirplay From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (14 years 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 8261 times:

As far as I know, the government doesn't define what "skilled" or "unskilled" labor is. Those terms are typically used by organizations which represent certain labor groups.

Sometimes, you may see a government agency or program that uses the term "skilled labor" but is aimed at assembly workers rather than airplane mechanics. There is an equal chance you may see the term pertaining to airplane mechanics and nobody else. It's just a descriptive term.

In Canada, one group (at least) identifes aircraft maintenance people as "skilled labor". Check out this linik for details:


Please do not consider the presence of this link as an endorsement.


Last but not least, trade associations are typically regional (state or provincial) organizations as are many employent and labor services. The regulation of Civil Aircraft Maintenance is administered by the national civil aeronatical authority of the country you are practicing in. Therefore, aircraft maintenance personell are often not represented in "skilled labor" demarcation lists.

User currently offline242 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 498 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (14 years 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 8216 times:

I've heard that rumor as well, but I've never seen any documentation from any reputable source about it. The US DOL did away with their skilled/unskilled labels years ago.

User currently offlineSeagull From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 340 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (14 years 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 8215 times:

Irritates me to no end that aircraft mechanics are not given more credit. Especially these days with them having to debug computers, etc.!

User currently offlineA/c train From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 501 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (14 years 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 8178 times:

I think people have to think about what they're saying when they raise topics like this, Aircraft Mechanic is in my eye a respected hands on trade, it takes four years approximately over here to be allowed to be called an A/c mechanic, up till that point you're still an apprentice, I think some of the work is semi skilled but I cant see a guy off the street having the ability to put in 1/4 inch brilles rivets with ease, and so on, im still learning the trade and I can tell you the level of ability required is second to none, the structural repair part requires most skill ' I believe' and the tight tolerances you have too work too leave room for error very small, component changes are easy, I think becoming competent with tooling and learning the most efficient way to do jobs is a sign of skills picked up, i.e taking off fuel tank access panels, I started by doing the lot with a speedbrace and im now doing it in half the time with a nut runner, but I believe that when you gain your JAR 66 licence and get out on the line and becoming a line engineer, thats when your ability comes to show, hangars do brake changes in 2 hours, line engineers do em in 40-45 minutes. I take pride in the trade im learning and I see the career as a challenging one, most importantly I ENJOY IT!, unskilled.......Ummm no.
best regards,

User currently offlineTechRep From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (14 years 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 8171 times:

I agree it shouldn't be unskilled labor but I have heard this said many times. In recent years the amount of A&P license's being issued has dropped dramatically. The main reason I think is compensation then liability. Take for example a recent census of Aircraft mechanics Vs. Auto mechanics pay scales. It was found that in some respects auto mechanics make more money in some cases and pay was about the same across the board. This is ludicrous in my opinion. The shortage of A&P mechanic's is growing; I read an article recently from the President of the ATA association. His response to the shortage was criminal in my opinion. His response was, "The government needs to make it easier for foreign workers to get work visa's so they can come here and supplement the labor shortage". He went on to say "These foreign workers who will be getting their A&P in the interim are vital to our labor shortage". These kind of talking heads are just fools. They only speak for big money and do not have the best interest of the common A&P mechanic. Recently Northwest mechanics received a big pay increase and many other airlines/unions followed suit. This is a start but respect for A&P technicians has dropped dramatically in the last 20 years, I would love to hear other opinions on this matter, although I don't turn wrenches anymore this is the greatest hurdle facing the A&P technician today, Pay and Respect.


User currently offlineNKP S2 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1714 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (14 years 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 8158 times:

It would seem the remarks from the ATA president cofirm what I ( and many others ) have always suspected: They will attempt lobbying aimed at lowering the skill level and qualifications of aicraft mechanics as a "fix" for an artificial shortage- The shortage itself is real in a physical sense, but it was created by making the career less attracive, ie: Downward pressure on compensation...an inveterate "grease monkey" stigma held by those in more "sterile" positions...An appalling ignorance of the scope of the job ( more so with more modern A/C ) and responsibility it entails. The ends to these means _is_ the bottom line, as they intend to lower compensation permanently- anyone heard of "AIRCON" organization? -- While bending wrenches is a large part of the job, this is much more a thinking-man's game than many realize. To me, it's all about system knowledge, theory and applying it in troubleshooting...my favorite kind of work. This does not mean performing specific tasks is in any way less skill based. -- BTW, the H1b visa scam _was_ originally based on a shortage of IT employees but has been corrupted into a tool for applying downward pressure on wages. There are lay-offs domestically even as corporations scream for a higher and higher visa cap.

User currently offlineTurbineBeaver From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (14 years 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 8141 times:

Hahaha! There is no way that anyone is gonna make me believe that an aircraft mechanic is unskilled labor. They are so good at what they do, know so much about what they are doing, and are very highly trained at it. In addition, they are equally important to a successful flight as is having a good pilot. If you had a crappy mechanic fix the engine, who knows what will happen. I don't think Aircraft Mechanics get as much credit for their work as they deserve.

Bravo mechanics, and thank you for keeping us pilots in the air!


User currently offlineMetwrench From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 750 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (14 years 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8125 times:

Kind of funny, HA HA, when you consider that the Wright Brothers, (the first pilots of powered flight), were mechanics.

In my opinion, the only federal legislation regarding A/C maintenance personnel is to require formal training along the lines of systems training that flight crews get. The emphasis would of course focus more on "why" something works as opposed to "what" is supposed to happen.

Training would narrow the gap between the perception of our trade being "skilled", "not skilled". Hell, even Midas Mufflers sends their tech's to school.

User currently offline242 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 498 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (14 years 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 8097 times:

Kind of funny, HA HA, when you consider that the Wright Brothers, (the first pilots of powered flight), were mechanics.

Yep, they were the first aircraft mechanics before they became the first aircraft pilots.

User currently offlineMetwrench From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 750 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (14 years 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 8083 times:

Who trained them?

Certainly not another pilot.

User currently offlineFDXmech From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3251 posts, RR: 30
Reply 11, posted (14 years 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8069 times:

I thought they were bicycle mechanics.

Their was actually a third member of the group who was a machinist. This man (the name escapes me) built the Wright's wind tunnel and scratchbuilt the engine among the many things he did.

You're only as good as your last departure.
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