BEING AN AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE ENGINEER
The proper maintenance of helicopters is essential to both pilots and operating companies. GoHelico, the Capitale Hélicoptère flight school and many companies and owners of private helicopters rely on the Capitale Hélicoptère Maintenance Centre to keep their aircraft in top condition.
Being an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer means means having enormous responsibility. Their work ensures the safety of passengers and pilots alike. AMEs are responsible for the maintenance and repair of a helicopter’s mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems.
This type of work requires extreme precision and eye for detail because there is simply no room for error. AMEs must be skilled manually and have excellent dexterity. They must be meticulous, precise and focused. Attention to detail and working faultlessly are essential. This is a profession that also requires excellent analytical skills.
AMEs must be able to work as a part of a team, be comfortable working alone, be autonomous and show great resourcefulness.
The Capitale Hélicoptère Maintenance Centre team works with equipment on the cutting-edge of technology. The Centre’s 13,000 square foot hangar is specifically designed for the upkeep of helicopters and is uniquely designed for the maintenance of aircraft.
The Maintenance Centre also offers several services including pre-purchase inspections, the installation of optional equipment, parts sales, breakdown service, aircraft import and export support, purchase and sales support and fuelling services. The vast majority of the Centre’s work however is dedicated to performing the regular maintenance of aircraft and when necessary, complete overhauls are also performed.
Routine maintenance and inspections are essential to ensuring flight safety. Depending on the model of the helicopter, regular maintenance is done at intervals of either 50, 100 or 150 hours. For full restorations (required after a certain number of flight hours or depending on the age of the aircraft), a complete refurbishment is performed including an inspection of the aircraft via a full disassembly. The aircraft is then reassembled using new, refurbished or original parts, following their inspection, according to the needs of the aircraft and its condition.
“I decided to become an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer because I was attracted to its challenges, the variety of work it entails and because of the different types of work that are required depending on the type of helicopter. Over the past few years, I’ve been asked to travel and take part in several missions which I also enjoyed. I get immense personal and professional satisfaction seeing my work progress before me and I enjoy the challenge of finishing it before the deadline.” Jean-Philippe Goulet, Team Leader and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer for the Capitale Hélicoptère Maintenance Centre.
Becoming an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
In Canada, Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AME) must be licensed by Transport Canada and be at least 21 years of age. Applicants are required to follow a training program that has been approved or accepted by Transport Canada.
Here are the different steps to get the AME license (Source: Transport Canada)
• Complete a Transport Canada approved AME basic training program or have completed an AME basic training program acceptable to Transport Canada;
• Have acquired the applicable amount of total civil aviation maintenance experience (Maintenance of Ultra-light, advanced ultra-light, amateur built, or owner maintained aircraft experience does not qualify for experience credit);
• Have gained skill by performing a number of specific maintenance tasks;
• Have successfully completed the technical (if required) and Regulatory exams;
• Have submitted the applicable AME licence application along with all required documentation
For more information, visit the Transport Canada website
Certifications for specific types of helicopters
Once students have received their licenses, AMEs are required to follow model specific courses before being allowed to work on those types of helicopters. For example, at the Capitale Hélicoptère Maintenance Centre, not all engineers are allowed to work on all the aircraft. Some specialized Engineers are solely dedicated to the Robinson models used by GoHelico and the Hélicoptère flight school, whereas others only work on the Agusta used by Airmedic.
These courses are generally three weeks in length and are taught by professionals located around the world. Once they have been trained, engineers are allowed to work on that particular model of aircraft.
Here is the list of Current type course approvals