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Also known as: Aviation Maintenance Inspector, Aircraft Quality Assurance Inspector, Avionics Safety Inspector, Aviation Safety Inspector, Airworthiness Safety Inspector, Aircraft Quality Control Inspector, Aircraft Inspector.
An aviation inspector, or an aviation safety inspector, is someone who keeps the world's air transportation system safe, and is responsible for the safety of everyone who boards an airplane, as well as those remaining on the ground.
Aviation inspectors confirm that an aircraft is safe for flight by conducting preflight inspections to ensure the safety of an aircraft. They have a mechanical aptitude and are able to diagnose and resolve complex problems. Often working for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), they understand that following all safety guidelines is an important responsibility; therefore, an aviation inspector can mandate changes to maintenance schedules and suggest repairs as needed. Being superbly trained, they examine all the components that can affect an individual flight to ensure the safety of it's crew and passengers.
An aviation inspector performs many functions to ensure the safe transportation of airline passengers. He or she investigates accidents and equipment failures, examines aircraft, air traffic controls, navigational aids and communications equipment, and suggests repairs when necessary. He or she analyzes safety procedures and reviews maintenance procedures to make sure that airports and aircrafts are in compliance with federal safety regulations.
An aviation inspector's duties:
• inspect aircraft doors for safety and security
• evaluate the work of aircraft mechanics to ensure adherence to standards and procedures
• test aircraft meters, gauges, and other instruments for evidence of problems
• check the tires, landing gear, wings, fuselage, and engines for wear, damage or the need for repairs
• review flight logs and maintenance records to ensure that servicing was performed at the necessary intervals
• suggest the repair or replacement of aircraft equipment
• responsible for approving or denying certificates of airworthiness
• can recommend changes to policies, standards, rules and regulations
• maintain detailed records regarding inspections, repairs, investigations, and reports in order to issue certifications
• attempt to determine the causes of air accidents
• conduct flight test programs under a variety of conditions to test instruments, equipment, and systems
• responsible for issuing pilot's licenses
Aviation inspectors make sure mechanics, pilots, technicians, planes and other equipment properly function. When a craft passes this evaluation, it is issued a certificate of worth.
An aviation inspector can work either inside an airplane hangar, or outside, depending on the situation. Their job can be physically challenging, requiring climbing, being in uncomfortable positions to reach some of the equipment, and does involve heights. It can also be extremely stressful since their life or death decisions directly affect the safety of passengers and flight crews.
While in high school, an aspiring aviation inspector's field of study could include physics, computer science, algebra, geometry, electronics, and mechanical drawing. These courses are helpful because they teach some of the basic principles that will be required for this career.
Being an aviation inspector can be a difficult career and requires an understanding of the mechanical aspects of an aircraft, as well as the internal electronics and the composite material from which the structure is likely made. With the lives of so many people in their hands, being an aviation inspector is a highly stressful job and although much of their experience is gained in a vocational setting, certification is also required from the respective aviation authority.
Most aviation inspectors obtain a two or four year degree as an aircraft mechanic, as well as government certification. They then attend one of the 170 FAA approved institutions where they engage in 1900 class hours; approximately 18-24 months. There, they learn how to use the equipment and tools necessary for the job. Until they receive their FAA certification, these prospective aviation inspectors must be supervised by certified mechanics. It is recommended that an aspiring aviation inspector have five or more years of aircraft maintenance experience to qualify for the position.