Helicopter Mechanic Salary

Helicopter mechanic salaries start out between $50,000 – $60,000 per year. Helicopter mechanics with more experience can earn a lot more especially if they are willing to travel. Overseas helicopter mechanics can earn over $150,000 per year in the right gig.  Helicopter mechanics that are self starters and skilled in troubleshooting will eventually find more pay then non motivated mechanics. Helicopters by their nature require more maintenance per flight hour then their fixed wing counter parts. Helicopters while flying, are constantly shaking and vibrating which over time can cause problems with components.  The time between inspections is much more frequent than fixed wing aircraft also.

How to become a Helicopter Mechanic

Becoming a helicopter mechanic is exactly the same way you become an airplane mechanic. In the US, that means getting the A and P license. Not all jobs require the A&P license however, but most of them do.  Attending on of many helicopter mechanic schools located though out the country is the best bet for getting a great helicopter mechanic job. Military contract jobs do not require the A&P for the most part but employees must have military experience to get the job. There are 3 basic ways to get the required experience under FAR 65.77. Those are;

  • Aviation Mechanic Schools (typically 2 year course)
  • Military Experience
  • On the job experience

Most people get the A&P license by attending one of many aviation mechanic schools. Military members that are in certain MOS fields can take the A&P tests after a Federal Aviation Administration inspector signs off on it.

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Are Great Helicopter Mechanics Born or Made?



Great helicopter mechanics are those mechanics around us that stand out for one reason or another. We all know or have known those great mechanics that go the extra mile in their helicopter mechanicprofession.  These are the types that make aviation maintenance look easy.  They are always level-headed and do not get worked up to easy.  Simply put, they “make it happen”. There are a few of these types in every organization. We go to these people when we have a question that we don’t want to look up ourselves because chances are, they know it off the tops of their heads. They know it all without being know-it-alls.  Everyone has their own opinion on what a great mechanic is but chances are they have these core traits in common. This type of mechanic is not ultra rare but at the same time, they are not common. If you do not know any of these great mechanics I am talking about, you are probably one of them.

So it makes me wonder, were these great helicopter mechanics born this way? or did they learn over time to be great? Or maybe they were manufactured in a lab under a secret Pentagon contract. If they were born this way, getting new great mechanics will be only left to chance. We would be left at the whims of nature. The trait of a great mechanic has not yet been mapped by the Human Genome project, otherwise we could determine at birth the great mechanics and the not-so-great.

So they must be taught this great skill, right? Not so fast. Because if this was the case, we could churn out great mechanics at record speeds in schools and end all  maintenance related aviation disasters. Out military would be even more effective because of the lower aircraft down-times since we have the superior mechanics which would end all human errors in maintenance. Increasing time between inspections is now feasible because the great mechanics note deficiencies before the components fail.

Of course we know this can not and will not ever happen. Even after we spend millions in an educational industry to create the better mechanic. Experts attempt to come up with new ways to teach us the important subjects. New educational products, new methods, all better than the last. We add subjects of study such as human factors, all aimed at mitigating human error. The endless stream of cookie-cutter online safety courses all with good intentions but deliver very little value.

Nope, it’s not one of these but perhaps a combination of these areas that create the great mechanics. Education, personality traits and also real world life experiences. The real world life experiences add substance and knowledge to an already solid foundation. Real world life experiences triangulates the whole process, adds a third leg to the stool.

The old saying “they just don’t build em like that anymore” luckily for us, does not apply to great helicopter mechanic because they are still being produced today. Aviation will continue to draw in people with those god given traits and love of airplanes. The newly aspiring great mechanics are all around us, the question is, whether or not management will  take the opportunity to cultivate them further.


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