From the main engine and rotor to the tail rotor and hydraulic systems, there are several helicopter mechanic jobs that must be properly executed to avoid in-flight accidents. Other critical helicopter mechanic jobs focus on instruments, controls and electronics. On military aircraft, additional mechanics may be required to maintain weapons systems, as well as targeting systems and radar.
Several individuals are commonly required to maintain a helicopter, due, in part, to the complexity of the machine as a whole and because of the many complex systems incorporated into a single aircraft. The engine of the helicopter is one of the most critical components of the aircraft. This single component can require a variety of workers skilled in many different helicopter mechanic jobs to work on the turbine, the fuel system and the electronics system required solely to operate the engine. The main rotor can also require that several trained workers in helicopter mechanic jobs be dedicated to the rotor, the gyroscope mechanism that it attaches to and other related parts of the main rotor system. Some mechanics are trained to maintain these systems, while others are skilled in removing and replacing the entire engine and rotor system.
With literally hundreds of hydraulic lines on the average helicopter, many helicopter mechanic jobs focus on the hydraulic system of this machine. From the operation of the rotor-tilting components to the rear tail rotor, the hydraulic system is critical to the flight and operation of the helicopter. Other areas of the aircraft that require specialized skills to work on the machine include the radio and electronic systems, as well as the controls of the machine. These areas are much more complicated on military-type helicopters where the weapons controls and radar systems are integrated into the controls of the aircraft.
Some types of helicopter mechanic jobs involve the general upkeep of the body or fuselage of the aircraft, such as the glass, lights and other similar exterior features. The lighting system of a helicopter can be very complicated, including not only illuminated marker lights, but flashing warning lights as well. Seemingly minor details, such as wiper motors and on-board communication systems, can ground a helicopter if they are not properly operating. Certain types of helicopters utilize retractable landing gear, which also requires a specialized mechanic as well as a tire changer to properly maintain the aircraft's equipment.