An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) in India is a person specifically licensed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Government of India, to certify the airworthiness of an aircraft, powerplant, aircraft system or component after maintenance. Any aircraft engaged in public transport including aerial work and flying training shall not be flown unless it has been maintained in accordance with such requirements as may be specified by the Director-General; and all such maintenance has been certified by appropriately licensed engineers, approved or authorized persons by means of such a ‘certificate’ as may be prescribed by the Director-General.
Maintenance in accordance with Rule 60 of the Aircraft Rules 1937, refers to performance of all work necessary for the purpose of ensuring that the aircraft is airworthy and safe including servicing of the aircraft and all modifications, repairs, replacements, overhauls, processes, treatment, tests, operations and inspection of the aircraft, aircraft components and items of equipment required for that purpose. No aircraft shall commence any flight if subsequent to the issue of a certificate in pursuance of this rule, it has suffered any damage or revealed any defect, other than items covered in the approved list of deficiencies, which would render the aircraft unsafe for flight and which would not, in accordance with the ordinary aeronautical practice, be remedied by the pilot or crew.
The holder of an AME Licence is authorized to exercise the privileges of the licence as given in Rule 61 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 subject to complying with the said rule and the licence holder is familiar with all the relevant information relating to the maintenance and airworthiness of the particular aircraft for which the licence holder is signing a Maintenance Release, or such airframe, powerplant, aircraft system or component and aircraft avionic system or component which the licence holder is certifying as being airworthy. Endorsement of aircraft types on the page(s) entitled LICENCE (SUB) CATEGORIES means the holder is qualified to issue a certificate of release to service for such aircraft from the date of endorsement in conjunction with a valid approved maintenance organization’s authorisation or so authorized by the Director General.
An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s Licence is issued in accordance with the provisions of the Aircraft Act 1934, the Aircraft Rules 1937 for the time being in force and in conformity with ICAO Annex 1 to the convention on International Civil Aviation signed on 7 December 1944. Aircraft Rule 61 details the procedure for grant of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers licence, its validity and procedure for renewal. The licences issued under this rule are valid for the particular type of aircraft, engines and equipment endorsed on the licence. Aircraft Maintenance Engineers from time to time get additional endorsements on their licences after acquiring experience and fulfilling the conditions mentioned in the said rule. The licences are renewed subject to the condition that the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer has been engaged in aircraft industry in the capacity of either Aircraft Maintenance Engineer or in a supervisory capacity including imparting of training to AMEs. “Open” licences may also be obtained which cover a class of aircraft up to a certain weight category as detailed in CAR Section 2, Series ‘L’. The Central Government may grant licences, authorisations or approvals as provided in the Aircraft Rule 61, to persons who meet the requirements specified in this rule. The Central Government may grant authorization to the holders of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s Licence to carry out maintenance of any new aircraft, engine or system which has been brought into the organisation and which is not within the scope of his licence, and to issue a certificate of release thereof, provided that the Director-General is satisfied that the applicant has sufficient knowledge, experience and training, and has passed such examinations as specified by the Director-General. Upon being satisfied that the applicant has sufficient knowledge, experience, training and skill and has passed such examinations as specified by the Director-General, the Central Government may grant approvals to persons employed in an organisation approved by Director-General to certify maintenance work carried out on aircraft, engine or components, in accordance with the procedures specified by the Director-General.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, under the authority of Rule 133B, grants approvals to AME training institutes for imparting ab-initio training to students in the field of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering for obtaining Basic licence/certificate (BAMEL/BAMEC) in the following streams:
(a) Mechanical stream (Aeroplane and Powerplants) — Light Aeroplanes (LA), Heavy Aeroplanes (HA), Piston Engine (PE) and Jet Engine (JE).
(b) Mechanical stream (Helicopters and Powerplants) — Rotary Wing Aircraft (RA), Piston Engine (PE) and Jet Engine (JE).
(c) Avionics stream — Electrical System (ES), Instrument System (IS) and Radio Navigation System (RN). For AME training course, the candidates shall have passed minimum 10+2 class with Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry from a recognized board or university or its equivalent.
d) New system of Licences in sync with EASA has been introduced which are differently names as Type A, B1, B2 and B3.
Both systems are in vogue as of now. It is a transition phase. But new licences are issued as per new system which has different modular examination, practical and skill test requirements for each licence. CAR 66 must be referred to to find out the exact requirements.
The trainees shall be subjected to a medical examination before they are admitted to the training institute by a doctor possessing at least an MBBS degree. Candidates shall not have any physical disabilities or color blindness, which may interfere in discharging the duties as an AME. The AME training course is neither a degree nor a diploma course and is not affiliated to or recognized by the AICTE or UGC. It is a licence/certificate course conducted by the DGCA approved AME Training Institutes as per the syllabus(as amended from time to time to cover various subjects/modules of DGCA licensing system) prescribed by the DGCA through Civil Aviation Requirements. The minimum duration of training for various streams is of three years including six months On Job Training (OJT).
All semesters in training institute shall contain both theoretical and practical classes in equal proportion. The period assigned for OJT shall be exclusively practical oriented. After completing each semester the candidate shall be subjected to an examination. The examination shall be conducted semester-wise every six months. Before a candidate is allowed to appear for the examination, he should have been present for at least 80% of the training period. To be declared successful in the course, the candidates must obtain a minimum 70% in each paper of semester examinations conducted by the institute. The period of training in the approved training institute will be counted as aircraft maintenance experience for the purpose of computing total aeronautical experience required to become eligible for appearing in the AME licence examinations.
AME licence examinations are conducted by DGCA three times in a calendar year i.e., in the months of February, June and October at the designated centres namely New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kanpur, Bangalore, Chennai, Patna, Lucknow, Bhopal, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Ahmedabad and Kochi. The examination for AME licence will consist of two parts i.e., written papers followed by an oral cum-practical test (skill test).
Examination consists of modules as prescribed in CAR 66 to be passed to demonstrate theoretical knowledge. Modular examinations are objective type multiple choice. There is no negative marking. To pass the examination one must score 75% in the examination.
This concept and examinations have been harmonised with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations. Earlier system was in sync with British system which was then accepted in large number of countries. With formation of EU that system has given way to EASA system which is now being made standard in India also.
Different examination modules are prescribed for different types of Licence. One should consult latest CAR 66 to know the modules which are to be passed for the required licence. Some modules are common to both Mechanical and Avionic licences.
1. Paper IV The Specific Paper will consist of only one written paper for each type of aircraft applied for. This paper will contain questions pertaining to maintenance / overhaul / repair / construction, as applicable to the category of AME license to cover particular type of aircraft/ engine/ system. However, the applicants who have successfully completed a DGCA approved or manufacturer’s training course on the particular type of aircraft / engine / systems, will be exempted from this paper.
2. Approved Course: The type training programme of Aircraft / Power Plant / systems consisting of theoretical and OJT, conducted by the manufacturer or training establishments approved by FAA/ EASA/ DGCA, is considered as approved course. The approved training course conducted abroad at manufacturer’s facilities or at manufacturer’s approved OEM, if approved by FAA or EASA under Part 147, shall be acceptable to DGCA and an individual approval will not be required. The duration of approved training course if conducted in India by an airline shall not be less than that of manufacturer’s training or OEM’s training. The applicant will be permitted to appear in Paper IV (Specific) or attend the approved training course on a particular type of aircraft / engine / system only after he has passed all the basic papers relevant to the category of AME License.
3. Oral-cum-Practical Test: (Skill test) a) Applicants having passed Paper IV or approved course of specific types of aircraft/ power plant/ systems can avail three chances of skill test within a period of 30 months from the date of passing of the Paper IV or successful completion of the approved course. b) This test will be conducted to assess the knowledge of the applicant’s familiarisation with the aircraft / power plant / system, and his skill/competency in carrying out maintenance tasks, snag rectification, etc. use of maintenance data, tools and equipments. The pass percentage will be 75%.
1. DGCA Approved AME Training Institutes: Training to become an AME is imparted in DGCA approved AME schools.
2. There are stages at which the students appears in particular Modules of examinations. As they progress in modular system their employbility in Aviation market rises with every examination.
3. There are about 51 approved AME schools in India(This may change upon new schools getting approval or upon loss of approval). But one should select the school which has given good results in DGCA held AME licence examinations.
4. Passing of DGCA examinations is key to getting employment. Having done On Job Training under a qualified AME is anther asset.
1. AME’s are employed in all airlines, aircraft operators and Maintenance repair organisations. Initially one starts as a technician till he qualifies all licence examinations, does his specific aircraft training, clears skill test and gets his AME licence from DGCA.
2. Thereafter his career moves upwards sharply. Presently an AME qualified on a Boeing 737 or Airbus 320 gets about Rs. 2,00,000/-( TWO Lakh plus) per month. As his experience and qualifications increase so does his package. He is also entitled to complimentary air tickets and other perks if he is working in an airline as is the norm in most airlines. He leads a decent life, stays in top hotels, come across educated air travellers and enjoys the glamour of being in an airline.
Indian AME licence is valid in ICAO signatory countries(186 countries)
The few steps from aircraft to car after successfully repairing an aircraft are the ones I have enjoyed most in my life. It gives one distinct satisfaction when an aircraft which he has repaired takes off. The relief and gratitude you see in the eyes of passengers of a flight delayed due technical reasons is to be seen to be believed when they see an AME who has successfully repaired the aircraft. On many occasions passengers have actually come and thanked me even though I was just doing my duty.
The job of an AME is of great responsibility. He has to be knowledgeable and diligent. On his shoulders lies the responsibility of lives of passengers. An AME discharges his responsibility even in adverse conditions to the best of his ability so that travelling public’s trust remains intact in his professionalism. This is a profession which demands and pays.
There is acute shortage of qualified AME’s in market. In the short run the airline growth is being affected by this shortage.
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