Navy Dads

Aviation Structural Mechanics,Safety Equipment


Aviation Structural Mechanics, Safety Equipment (AME) maintain safety belts, shoulder harnesses and integrated flight harnesses in aircraft, inertia reels, seat and canopy ejection systems, gaseous and liquid oxygen systems, liferaft ejection systems, fire extinguishing systems excluding fire detection systems, portable fire extinguishers, emergency egress systems, air-conditioning, heating cabin and cockpit pressurization, ventilating and antiG systems, visual improvement systems, other utility systems and associated lines, fittings, rigging, valves and control mechanisms; replenish liquid and gaseous oxygen systems; remove and install oxygen system valves, gages, converters and regulators; inspect, remove, install and rig ejection seats, shoulder harnesses, lap belts and facecurtain mechanisms; inspect, remove, install and adjust firing mechanisms and cartridges for ejection seats, lap belts and canopies; operate and maintain liquid nitrogen and liquid and gaseous oxygen shop transfer and recharge equipment; perform daily, preflight, postflight and other periodic aircraft inspections.

 The Aviation Structural Mechanic - Safety Equipment (AME) maintains and repairs utility systems throughout the aircraft. They work on systems such as air conditioning, heating, pressurization and oxygen, plus multiple safety devices.
These technicians may also volunteer to fly as Naval aircrew. Aircrew performs numerous in-flight duties and operates aircraft systems in turbojet, helicopter, or propeller aircraft. Aircrew earns additional pay for flying. (See the Aircrew Program for details.)


What they do:

• Maintain the various aircraft systems such as seat and canopy ejection (egress), gaseous and liquid oxygen, life raft ejection, fire extinguishing, air conditioning, cabin and cockpit heat, pressurization, ventilation;

• Remove and install oxygen system valves, gauges, converters and regulators;

• Inspect, remove, install and rig ejection seats, shoulder harnesses, lap belts and face-curtain mechanisms;

• Perform daily, preflight, post flight and other periodic aircraft inspections.

Qualifications and Interests

Aviation structural mechanics require an orientation toward tools, equipment and machines. They should possess manual dexterity and be physically fit, and must be able to keep records, have a knack for getting along well with other people and work as part of a team.
The ability to do repetitive tasks and perform detailed work is also helpful. Normal hearing and normal color and depth perception are required.

Working Environment

Aviation structural mechanics may be assigned to sea or shore duty any place in the world, so their working environment varies considerably. They may work in hangars or hangar decks, or outside on flight decks or flight lines at air stations. A high noise level is a normal part of their work environment. AME’s work closely with others, do mostly physical work and require little supervision. AME’s may also serve as flight engineers aboard certain aircraft.


Excellent opportunities exist for qualified applicants to enter this rating. Approximately 1,600 men and women currently work in this rating.

Career Path After Recruit Training

Enlistees are taught the fundamentals of this rating through formal Navy schooling. Operational training is available in this rating during later stages of career development.

Class "A" Technical School, Pensacola, FL. Approx 9 weeks of basic aviation structural mechanic course, basic aviation theory course, and skills required for specialized AME rating.

AMEs assigned to squadrons with ejection seat aircraft, attend two weeks of egress training. AMEs may be assigned to aviation squadrons, aircraft carriers or to other Navy ships carrying aircraft, to naval air stations or other aviation shore facilities in the United States or overseas. Normally, each time AMEs are assigned new equipment they return to school for specific training on that equipment. During a 20-year period, AMEs spend about 50 percent of their time assigned to fleet units and 50 percent to shore stations


Security Clearance Requirement: None (except for those who volunteer for aircrew duty)

Sea/Shore Rotation for This Rating

  • First Sea Tour: 48 months
  • First Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Second Sea Tour: 36 month
  • Second Shore Tour: 36 month
  • Third Sea Tour: 36 month
  • Third Shore Tour: 36 month
  • Fourth Sea Tour: 36 month
  • Forth Shore Tour: 36 month

Note: Sea tours and shore tours for sailors that have completed four sea tours will be 36 months at sea followed by 36 months ashore until retirement.



** Note: AM, AME, and AD combine at paygrade E-9 to the rating of Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman (AFCM).


101231-N-8490W-003 COMALAPA, El Salvador (Dec. 31, 2010) Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Cody Jarrett, Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Jay Hinton, and Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Shyanne Booker conduct maintenance on the propeller of a P-3C Orion aircraft with Sailors assigned to the maintenance section of Patrol Squadron (VP) 5. VP-5 is on a six-month deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Wilson/Released)



110207-N-5646R-020 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 7, 2011) Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Lindsay White, assigned to the Dragonslayers of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11, inspects a Sea Hawk helicopter for corrosion aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Enterprise is deployed as part of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Austin Rooney/Released)



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