Aircraft Sheetmetal Mechanic

Cut and form metal into plane paneling with specialized tools.

What does an Aircraft Sheetmetal Mechanic do?

Aircraft Sheetmetal Mechanics skillfully craft, shape, and assemble the metal paneling and other metal parts an airplane needs to function. They inspect planes, and make notes of problems and necessary repairs. When an aircraft needs new parts, Aircraft Sheetmetal Mechanics fashion each piece according to blueprints or computer renderings of the object, and install them on the plane.

Safety is the number one priority for aircraft manufacturers and airlines alike. As an Aircraft Sheetmetal Mechanic, during your workday you make your rounds performing regular inspections of the planes to determine which need tune-ups and which need more intensive repairs. No loose bolts or tarnished metal sneaks past you.

When it’s time to install a replacement part or put up a new panel on the outside of a plane, you use a combination of handheld tools and large machines to cut and bend the metal to your exact measurements. After priming the material and smoothing away jagged edges, you put the finishing touches on the piece and bolt it into place.

Your skills go beyond the hands-on duties of cutting and shaping metal though. Mathematical skills and an understanding of blueprints and computer-aided drawings allow you to plan out the exact curve a panel needs so the plane can sail smoothly through the air. In addition, staying up to date on safety regulations is essential to avoid problems or malfunctions. It’s your job to undo the effects that time and harsh weather can have on an aircraft.