Airplanes are pressurised aluminum cans that fly 40,000ft in the air, full of people, with a ridiculously low accident rate. Pilots are great, they are skilled, intelligent people who do a great job flying but! For every pilot, there are a dozen mechanics keeping those planes safely flying.
I am an FAA certificated Airframe & Powerplant mechanic. That's a fancy way of saying I fix planes! We are called A&P mechanics, or just A&Ps. There are thousands of us (hundred thousands? I'm not exactly sure). We work for airlines, corporate aircraft owners, little shops that maintain private planes and big repair and overhaul facilities. We are why you can fly without fear. I've torn apart giant Boeings and Airbuses, fixed any issues and put them back together. It's all heavily regulated, the paperwork is precise and the skill and passion of the mechanics is unmatched. Most of us are prior military, many are not, but we all share a deep love of, and respect for aviation.
Mechanical failure is one of the LEAST common causes of aircraft accidents and incidents, and we are dang proud of that! So even though pilots get the glory, and people are annoyed when a flight is delayed, and roll their eyes at the mechanic they see come on the plane to fix the problem, remember...we keep you safe! A quick thanks, or a little praise would make our day. Who am I kidding? It would make our YEAR!
One last thing, I'm a girl. Wild right? Female mechanics make up just 3% of our industry but are often some of the best grease monkeys out there, and not just because we fit easily into fuel tanks! Google AWAM, we have a website and Facebook group for scholarships and networking for both male and female mechanics. It's awesome.
I'd love to hear from anyone with questions, or who might be interested in becoming an A&P.