Career Story: Airport Ground Support Equipment Mechanic

Airport Ground Support Equipment Mechanic

Job Title: Airport GSE Maintenance Technician

Education: ATC Applied Science

Previous Experience: I worked as a diesel mechanic for a equipment rental company. Then as a diesel mechanic for a tour bus company.

Job Tasks: I work for a FBO (fixed-base operator, an airport service company) at an international airport. The FBO provides services to private aircraft that uses the airport.

I maintain and repair all of the ground support equipment for the FBO. That includes aircraft fuel trucks, ground support units (generators for aircraft) aircraft tugs, baggage tugs, baggage carts, forklifts, de-iceing trucks, belt loaders, pilot rental vehicles and cargo delivery trucks.

I spend approx 5% of the day doing paperwork, 70% of the day performing preventive maintenance, 15% of the day on unscheduled repairs and 10% of the day tracking down parts. I document all repairs made in a file for each piece of equipment for future reference. This helps me to know when the last oil change was or when the brakes were changed last and so on. Preventive maintenance includes but is not limited to oil changes, lubing the chassis, topping off all fluids, checking tires for wear and proper inflation pressures, inspecting components for unusual wear patterns(an early sign of something wrong).

For unscheduled repairs, I might have to rebuild a leaky hydraulic cylinder, replace blown hydraulic or air lines, replace batteries, repair body damage to a delivery truck or other vehicle, repair a fuel leak in a fuel truck, replace starters, repair flat tires or put a spare on till the tire gets back from the tire shop. Because of the variety of types of equipment and the many different brands of parts used on each individual peice of equipment, I spend a little time each day with the local parts store just finding the proper parts for maintenance and repairs of all the equipment.

I work 10 hours a day with a half hour lunch Monday through Thursday.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the variety of equipment and challenges I see each day. Almost everyday I see new challenges that need attention for the operation to go smoothly.

The worst part of the job is the noise at an airport. It can be very noisy, even deafening when working in such close proximity to aircraft.

Job Tips: Tip 1: As frustrating as it may be, work on a good variety of equipment and become familiar with them. The more you are familiar with, the better you will look.

Tip 2: Learn as much as you can about generator units.

Tip 3: Make sure to get as much welding background as you can. You will need it.

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