Helicopter Engineer

Job Description:

Helicopter engineers service and repair helicopters.

Job Category:
Aerospace & Defence

What you will do:

In this role, you could

  • carry out scheduled inspection and maintenance checks
  • use software programs to diagnose faults
  • find and fix faults
  • report defects to the maintenance manager
  • make sure aircraft meet flight safety regulations
  • work on aircraft and instrument modifications
  • refit aircraft
  • respond to repair call outs
  • record completed work


You’ll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines, tools and systems
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • practical skills for repairing and maintaining equipment
  • persistence and determination (ambition/drive)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Helicopter Engineer, you typically don’t need specific subjects, but having a strong educational foundation and certain skills can be beneficial for this role, which involves maintaining, repairing, and sometimes designing helicopters. Here are some relevant subjects and skills:

  1. Mathematics: Strong math skills are essential for performing calculations related to helicopter systems, measurements, and maintenance procedures.
  2. Science: Subjects like physics can provide a foundation for understanding the principles of flight, aerodynamics, and mechanical systems.
  3. Design and Technology: Courses in design and technology can be helpful for gaining knowledge of mechanical systems, technical drawing, and engineering principles.
  4. English Language: Effective communication skills, including written and verbal communication, are important for documenting work, liaising with colleagues, and following safety procedures.
  5. Information Technology (IT): Proficiency in using computers and relevant software is valuable for tasks such as data analysis, maintenance tracking, and technical documentation.
  6. Mechanical Engineering: While not typically available, pursuing courses or qualifications related to mechanical engineering can provide a strong foundation for this career.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a graduate training scheme
  • the armed forces

You’ll need an engineering qualification and maintenance experience to apply for a licence to become a helicopter engineer.

You’ll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in aerospace engineering, avionics, or a related subject like:

  • aeronautical engineering
  • electrical or electronic engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • manufacturing or product engineering
  • physics or applied physics
  • software engineering or mathematics

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need for this job. Relevant courses include the Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Aerospace and Aviation Engineering.

You can get into this job through an aircraft maintenance certifying engineering higher apprenticeship.

Other Routes
The way into this job is usually through an aircraft engineering company, some of which offer graduate training schemes.

Armed Forces
Flight engineering experience gained in the armed forces may count towards your licence application.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work at an airport or on an aircraft.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and you’ll travel often.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become a maintenance engineering manager or senior design engineer, working on modifications and enhancements to aircraft.