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Helicopter engineer Helicopter technician, aviation engineer, aircraft engineer

Helicopter engineers service and repair helicopters. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £30,000 to £50,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a Part-66 engineering licence issued through the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). 

There are different categories to the licence, depending on the type of work you want to do, but common ones are:

  • B1 mechanical – for work on an aircraft’s structure and electrical systems
  • B2 avionics – for work on navigation, communication and electronic instruments 

You’ll need an engineering qualification and maintenance experience to apply for a licence. Relevant qualifications include a foundation degree, HND or degree in aerospace, mechanical or electrical engineering.

Flight engineering experience gained in the armed forces may count towards your license application.

Some aircraft engineering companies offer graduate training schemes.

The British Helicopter Association has more details about working in this industry.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent attention to detail
  • teamworking skills
  • the ability to solve problems

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include: 

  • carrying out scheduled inspection and maintenance checks
  • finding and fixing faults
  • reporting defects to the maintenance manager
  • making sure aircraft meet flight safety regulations
  • working on aircraft and instrument modifications
  • refitting aircraft
  • responding to repair call outs 
  • recording completed work 

4. Salary

Starter: £30,000 to £35,000

Experienced: £35,000 to £45,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 40 hours a week, which may be on a shift pattern. At an airbase, you might work 7 to 10 days in a row, with 24-hour call out duties, followed by several days’ leave.

You could be based at a flight service centre, airport or helicopter base. You’ll need a driving licence and your own transport to get to and from work.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could become a maintenance engineering manager or senior design engineer, working on modifications and enhancements to aircraft.

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Last updated: 16 December 2016