A helicopter mechanic is responsible for maintaining and repairing helicopters. Divisions of the armed forces in many nations employ full time helicopter mechanics while other people in this field are employed by corporations. Some helicopter mechanics are self employed in which case they tend to offer their services to private individuals and business entities that do not have in-house mechanics.
Laws in many nations require a helicopter mechanic to undergo some kind of formal training in aviation maintenance and repair. Some colleges offer degree courses and other post high school programs, and mechanics employed by the armed services often undergo on the job training after successfully passing basic training. Having been trained, mechanics in some countries have to pass licensing or certification exams before they can actually begin to work without being under the direct supervision of an established mechanic.
Helicopter mechanics employed by major corporations are often based on oil rigs and other remote locations that are only accessible by air. These mechanics along with military personnel specializing in this field are typically responsible for inspecting and cleaning aircraft between flights. A helicopter mechanic has to perform tasks such as replacing transmission fluid, changing the air filter and cleaning the engine. In many instances the craft cannot be flown again until a mechanic has completed a safety inspection and confirmed that the helicopter is safe to fly.
Like any vehicle, a helicopter can become damaged over time and components may need to be replaced. Mechanics are responsible for repairing or replacing items such as the rotor blades, the tail and engine components. When electrical repairs are required the mechanic may have to work alongside a certified electrician. Mechanics also have to order replacement parts and buy supplies of oil, lubricants, transmission fluid and other items that are necessary to keep the helicopter functioning.
A helicopter mechanic employed by the military may be required to lead training classes in which the crew are given basic instructions about performing minor maintenance on the craft. Military units may need such skills in combat situations if the craft incurs damage and cannot be easily accessed by a trained helicopter mechanic. Senior mechanics are also responsible for coaching those newly hired, and for handling complex repairs. In some nations the military use advanced craft that are more complex than conventional helicopters. People who work on such craft must undergo special training and military secrets acts in many countries prevent these mechanics from discussing the crafts or their work with people outside work.