Air Force Specialty Code (2A6X5) Aircraft Hydraulic Systems

Air Force Enlisted Job Description

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Smith (left) and Senior Airman Theodore Cupp, both crew chiefs with the 525th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit, do maintenance work on the system one hydraulic pump underneath an F-22 Raptor aircraft at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on June 2, 2009. The airmen are deployed from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
Senior Airman Christopher Bush/U.S. Air Force/Public Domain

The Job of the Aircraft Hydraulic Systems Specialist

The job of the aircraft hydraulic system specialist is highly knowledgeable of mechanical systems in tight compartments on aircraft. Being able to repair, remove, and replace, and maintain these systems is critical to the plane leaving the ground to conduct in flight missions. Maintaining the integrity of the hydraulic system is paramount to the operations of the aircraft. In fact, prior to every flight, a thorough test of the brakes, wing and rudder control are done by the pilots. But long before the pilots do their pre-flight checks, the Aircraft Hydraulic Systems Specialist has tested, evaluated, maintained, and repaired any issues that can occur with hydraulic systems - such as leaks, loss of pressure, or contaminated oil (water or dirt in the line).

What is Hydraulics?

The development of hydraulics has been key to military and commercial aircraft travel. Hydraulic pressure works on the physics concept that a force applied to an incompressible fluid in a rigid container will exert the same force throughout the fluid. This hydraulic fluid is an oil based substance that does not reduce its size (or volume) by the increase of pressure. The aviation applications for hydraulic systems are flight control surfaces (such as ailerons, rudder) , landing gear, and brakes. Hydraulics control left, right, up, down movement in the air as well as controlling / stopping the plane when on the ground. 

Aviation Hydraulic System Specialty Summary:

Troubleshoots, removes, repairs, overhauls, inspects, and installs aircraft hydraulic systems and components, including support equipment (SE). Related DoD Occupational Subgroup: 602.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Among the general duties and responsibilities of maintaining the hydraulic systems onbaord an aircraft, the Aircraft Hydraulics System Specialist must also continue to grow in responsibilities, accountability, and advanced training and leadership of the mechanical team. The following is a list of other duties and responsibilities the airman must do within a military aviation setting:

  • Advises on problems maintaining aircraft hydraulic systems and SE.
  • Determines maintenance procedures and performance characteristics using technical publications.
  • Diagnoses malfunctions and recommends corrective action.
  • Performs maintenance on aircraft hydraulic systems.
  • Troubleshoots, removes, repairs, overhauls, replaces, adjusts, and tests malfunctioning components.
  • Inspects aircraft hydraulic systems, components and SE.
  • Performs system operational checks.
  • Stores, handles, uses, and disposes of hazardous material and waste according to environmental standards.

Specialty Qualifications:

The training received within the military is transferable to the civilian aviation world. The roles of the hydraulic systems specialists are just as important in the civilian world as in the military as the precious cargo of lives in commerical aviation drive the business model that keeps the public transportation at high safety ratings. The following is a list of knowledge, education, and training details gained from military service:

Knowledge. Knowledge is mandatory of: hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, and mechanical principles applying to aircraft and support equipment; hydraulic systems; concepts and applications of maintenance directives; using and interpreting schematics, wiring diagrams, and technical publications; and proper handling, use, and disposal of hazardous waste and materials.

Education. For entry into this specialty, completion of high school with courses in hydraulics or general science is desirable.
Training. The following training is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated:
2A635. Completion of a basic aircraft hydraulic systems maintenance course.
2A675. Completion the advanced aircraft hydraulic systems course.
Experience. The following experience is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated: (Note: See Explanation of Air Force Specialty Codes).
2A655. Qualification in and possession of AFSC 2A635. Also, experience in functions such as repairing hydraulic, mechanical, and electrical systems, components, and SE.
2A675. Qualification in and possession of AFSC 2A655. Also, experience performing or supervising maintenance functions in repair of aircraft hydraulic, mechanical, and electrical systems, components, and SE.
Other. For entry into this specialty, normal color vision as defined in AFI 48-123, Medical Examination and Standards, is mandatory.

Deployment Rate for this AFSC

Strength Req : K

Physical Profile: 333132

Citizenship: Yes

Required Appitude Score : M-51 (Changed to M-56, for ASVAB Tests taken on or after 1 Jul 04).

Technical Training: Course #: J3ABR2A635 000

Length (Days): 49

Jobs in the Civilian Market

The military job skills training will be a highly sought after skill in the civilian market and typically start out at $40-$70 / hour depending upon the level of training the former airman has acquired during his/her time in the military. Though the higher paid specialists typically have 8-10 years of military aviation experience with specific aircraft, depending on the company, these specialists can earn $80,000-100,000/ year in a realitive short period of time.