From last decade, Aviation Sector has become a thriving business in Nepal. There are 11 fixed wing and 10 rotary wing operators carrying out scheduled and unscheduled flights in Nepal. What’s more, the number is increasing. Also, with the expansion of fleet size, demand for technical manpower has increased in aviation sector, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer being one. Generally, aviation sector accumulates graduates in Aeronautical/Aerospace/Mechanical/ Electrical/Electronics/Avionics Engineering for Maintenance Engineering. Also, one with Aircraft Maintenance Engineering course which is basically a 3 years course, are quite obvious option for hiring in Maintenance Engineering. Initially, starting the career as Technician, one can be an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer after getting a license from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAA Nepal).
Aircraft Maintenance License Holder also known as Aircraft Maintenance Engineer is certifying staff responsible for certifying and releasing aircraft/aircraft components after maintenance. Graduate in Mechanical Engineering who wants to work as Aircraft Maintenance Engineer needs to acquire NCAR Part 66 Aircraft Maintenance License from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. As per Nepalese Civil Airworthiness Requirements (NCAR) Part-66, there are five categories of aircraft maintenance license: Category A, Category B1, Category B2, Category B3 and Category C. Most common license category for fixed wing gas turbine powered aircraft are category B1 and category B2. A category B1 aircraft maintenance license shall permit the holder to certify
maintenance performed on aircraft structure, powerplant and mechanical and electrical systems. But, B1 license holder can only do simple test on avionics systems to check their serviceability. A category B2 aircraft maintenance license shall permit the holder to certify maintenance performed on avionic and electrical systems.
If you want to apply for Aircraft Maintenance License, you shall have acquired the following:
- Shall be at least 18 years of age; and
- Demonstrate by examination a level of knowledge in the subject module (1-17) depending upon the License category you want; and
- Practical maintenance experience of 5 years on aircraft.
In addition, applicant must also have in depth knowledge of Nepalese Civil Airworthiness Requirements. One with all these qualities, will get a Basic Aircraft Maintenance License from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. The word “Basic” itself is a restriction to the aircraft maintenance license holder. A person holding basic license are not authorized to certify all sort of maintenance work under his/her license category. In order to have certification privileges on a specific aircraft type, an aircraft maintenance license holder needs to have his/her license endorsed with the relevant aircraft ratings.
As a matter of fact, engineering degree is not required for starting career as Aircraft maintenance Engineer. NCAR Part-66 only requires applicant to have completed 10+2. To make it simple, graduate in Mechanical Engineering can have any category of license though B1 is quite common. If one has thought of career in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, I would suggest to take electives courses in Aeronautics engineering during final year of Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Besides, graduates in Mechanical Engineering can also start career as either Maintenance Planning Engineer, Technical Service Engineer or Quality Assurance Engineer. Engineering department in an airline is divided into two parts: Approved Maintenance Organization (AMO) and Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO). AMO is responsible for carrying out maintenance in aircraft while CAMO has function to ensure the aircraft is airworthy. To make it simple, CAMO plans for maintenance and AMO carry out maintenance as planned by CAMO. Thus, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and Technician come under Approved Maintenance Organization while Maintenance Planning and Technical Service Engineer come under Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization. On the other hand, Quality Assurance Engineer comes under Quality Assurance whose function is to ensure that quality standard of CAA Nepal is met by the organization. Each year, Nepal Airlines open vacancy for Senior Technical Officer (A & C) with requirement of B.E in Mechanical Engineering. From 2017-2019, Nepal Airlines had 20 vacancy for Senior Technical Officer (A & C). In case of private airlines, they have at least one vacancy each year. In 2019, one of the private airlines with small fleet sized hired 3 engineering graduates. Moving towards the pay scale, the minimum pay scale for Basic Aircraft Maintenance License holder by a private airline is 80K per month. But, starting as a Technician, salary scale is 15-20K per month and might increase based on your loyalty for the company. However, these figures are approximate and may vary depending on organization. Things are not same for Nepal Airlines because they pay a healthy salary for fresh graduates joining as Senior Technical Officer (A & C).
To sum up, aviation industry in Nepal is growing and most of the airlines operating are looking forward to add fleet. So, in next few years, there will be huge demand for engineer in aviation sector. Thus, graduates in mechanical Engineering can benefit from this increase in demand.
Author: Tanuja Budhathoki
Batch: BME 072