Working in the aviation industry can be a tough job that requires highly skilled personnel, starting from the pilot to those working on the ground. All the passengers’ safety is attached to one single aircraft, therefore its maintenance and service are carried out in detail and even the minute details of the aircraft are inspected.
Just as the pilots hold a special license to fly an aircraft; all the engineers associated with the serviceability are given a certification in the form of license B1. This license gives them the authority to approve whether the aircraft is ready to fly or not. B1 license is associated with the line and base maintenance – all the engineers and technicians work together to complete a project with proper documentation and signal it is okay to fly. All the work is done to ensure the safety of the passengers.
Part 66 licensing system
There are three categories of Part 66 licenses in the aviation industry. Part 66 is a legal framework in Europe that certifies licenses to aircraft engineers within EASA member countries including the UK. Category A allows the license holder to detect basic rectification besides handling limited maintenance and inspection tasks. Category B permits a standard license to the holder and is further divided into two subcategories: B1 and B2. B1 license is a certification related to mechanics while B2 is related to avionics. Category C allows the license holder to issue a certificate of release for service.
Those permitted to hold Category B1 licenses are aircraft engineers. To obtain the license, all holders need appropriate qualifications and relevant experience. License B1 holders are permitted to certify all the maintenance work in an aircraft related to its structure, electrical and mechanical systems, etc.
Since maintenance activities are continuously supervised, so the governing body, CAA, and the quality standards and working methods are all approved. Once the aircraft is ready to fly, the aircraft engineer issues its certificate of release for service. A certificate is also issued when tests done on an aircraft approve it is in working order.
B1 license holders have to work on complex maintenance tasks. Moreover, they also inspect and maintain aircraft that have been withdrawn from flying or require re-fits or face major overhauls.
Subcategories of a B1 license
The B1 license is further subdivided into four categories. The sub-classification includes;
B1.1 for turbine engine aircraft. These aircraft can be jet-driven or propellers.
B1.2 for piston engine aircraft. They use technology similar to automobiles and drive a propeller.
B1.3 for turbine engine helicopter. They have one or more turbine engines.
B1.4 for piston engine helicopter.
Role of B1 licensed engineers
A B1 aircraft engineer is a specialist mechanic who is hired to not only carry out maintenance checks in an aircraft but also plan and organise these checks. They are always in line with the maintenance schedule of the airline and also identify the problems.
A B1 licensed aircraft engineer is awarded the license by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK. CAA also approves the training organisations. Once you are a B1 license holder, you are permitted to maintain and service aircraft engines. You also have to travel to and from different stations to certify the release of an aircraft. Sometimes an aircraft engineer has to fly with the aircraft if there is no B1 licensed engineer posted at the place of destination; however, highly reputable airlines have licensed maintenance engineers posted everywhere. The job has work shifts yet you have to be available at the time of arrival of the aircraft and remain there till its departure.
Since being an aircraft engineer is a technical job, it comes with great responsibilities. Here’s what an aircraft engineer does;
Undertake projects and tasks related to the maintenance of aircraft
Exercise license to inspect the everyday processes
Ensure high quality work related to the aircraft, its components, and documentation
Ensure equipment, premises, and facilities are maintained according to the set standard
Analyse and interpret any technical information related to the aircraft
Consult engineering manuals and diagrams
Ensure that the airline crew is debriefed so that the aircraft defects are accurately recorded and defined
A B1 license aircraft engineer needs to have several years of experience in the maintenance, servicing, and inspection of an aircraft. There are several training programs before qualifying for the role. Those with the basic knowledge and experience are hired as trainee maintenance technicians or aircraft maintenance apprentices. With time, seniority level increases, improving your post to a quality manager or even a program manager. Therefore, the job has a lot of chances for career progression.
Frequently asked questions
What does B1 mean in aviation?
B1 licensed engineers are basically aircraft mechanics specialists in their profession. They are typically hired to organise, plan, and carry maintenance checks on aircraft. B1 license is given to engineers after years of experience in servicing inspection and aircraft maintenance.
What is the difference between B1 and B2 licenses?
Category B license is certifying legal paper given out in the field of aviation. It has two disciplines – B1 and B2. B1 license is given to mechanics focusing on airframes and engines. B2 avionics, on the other hand, focuses on electronic equipment and instrumentation. License B holders are issued a certificate for maintenance checks and repairs.
What is a B2 Licence?
Holders of B2 license focus on managing repair and maintenance checks that are concerned with the equipment and electrical system in an aircraft. B2 license engineers also analyse and interpret any technical information that assists the pilot.
What qualifications do I need to be an aircraft engineer?
To become an aerospace engineer, you need to have a foundation degree. Alternatively, you can pursue a national diploma or get a degree in the field on related subjects including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, applied physics or software engineering.
Do aircraft engineers need a license?
In order to ensure safety standards and maintain them, those working in the aviation industry need a license to perform their services. Simply put, as pilots need a license to fly an aircraft, engineers are also trained to maintain the safety and service of the aircraft before signaling them okay for flying. Besides the license, they also need some training and experience to become an aircraft engineer.