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What type of math is in being an airplane mechanic?

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3 answers

Dennis’s Answer

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Carson, as a certified aircraft mechanic, you will be expected to work on any component of the aircraft - air frame, flight controls, engine(s), landing gear, avionics, and more. There are a lot of different areas of physics involved. So, you need to be proficient with the math that corresponds with these topics. Basic math - add, subtract, multiply, divide - is a must. Then, dealing with hardware, you need plane geometry and trigonometry. You might not have to solve Trigonometry problems, but you need to understand angles and, perhaps, read diagrams. Plane geometry is useful because itteaches you to use logic.
When you deal with aircraft hardware, you also deal with tolerances - measured lengths and diameters of parts. You need to be proficient with specific measuring instruments and know how to be sure what unit of measurement is called for. When it comes to assembly work, you have to know what torque value(s) each fastener requires.
Some general recommendations:
The more experience you get with hardware, the better. Learn to be neat and clean when you work. Keep your tools and instruments organized. Keep a log or diary when you work, so you can recall the work you did and why.

Dennis recommends the following next steps:

  • Look for opportunities to be around aircraft and learn more about the different types
  • Take classes in physics and math that relate to aircraft.
  • Look for vocational training that fits your goals.
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Hannah’s Answer

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Hi Carson!

To get a better sense of the math required for airplane/aviation maintenance, it's always helpful to look at particular aviation maintenance programs at different schools! You can usually find curricula for specific programs by searching college websites. For example, Vincennes University in Indiana requires a single college-level math course for an associate degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology. Where I work, our aviation maintenance program requires that students complete a course in applied technical math. Since aviation technology involves a lot of hands-on work, math needed for a career in airplane mechanics is often more technical or practical in nature - so think lots of geometry that you can use in your everyday life! And if you're already used to working with your hands, then you've got a head start!

Hannah recommends the following next steps:

  • Search curricula or course requirements for Aviation Maintenance degrees to get a better understanding of math requirements
  • Check out Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians information at bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/aircraft-and-avionics-equipment-mechanics-and-technicians.htm#tab-2
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Andrew’s Answer

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Based on my understanding, to be certified as an airplane technician, one may have to complete courses in aviation technology programs covers aircraft engines, fuel systems, electrical systems, welding and aircraft inspection. Therefore, there will be math and physics prerequisites for these courses. These prerequisites are probably Pre-Calculus (College Algebra, and Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry) and General Physics I and General Physics II for STEM-students.
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