The maintenance and repair of helicopters are the responsibility of a helicopter engineer. These jobs are often found at airports or flight service centres. You might work on helicopters utilised for transportation, emergency services, personal use, or military applications.
You must have a licence to work as a helicopter engineer, and different licences allow you to work on different aircraft parts. B1 licenced engineers, for example, concentrate on the design and mechanics of an aeroplane. Engineers at B2 are experts in communication and navigation systems.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- carry out scheduled inspection and maintenance checks
- use software programs to diagnose faults
- find and fix faults
- report defects to the maintenance manager
- make sure aircraft meet flight safety regulations
- work on aircraft and instrument modifications
- refit aircraft
- respond to repair call outs
- record completed work.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £30,000 – £35,000 per year.
- Experienced helicopter engineer can earn between £35,000 – £45,000
- Senior helicopter engineer can earn up £50,000
You could work at an airport or on an aircraft.
Your working environment may be physically demanding and you’ll travel often.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice helicopter engineer include:
- Level 4 Aircraft Maintenance Certifying Engineer – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification will take 45 months to complete.
On a helicopter engineering apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- practical skills for repairing and maintaining equipment
- persistence and determination
- the ability to repair machines or systems
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to work well with your hands
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently.
Career path and progression
With experience you could become a maintenance engineering manager or senior design engineer, working on modifications and enhancements to aircraft.