Air Force Airlift-Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance
Air Force

Air Force Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance (2A5X1): Career Details

Air Force Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance (2A5X1) ensure that aircraft are operational and ready to fly.

These individuals perform inspections, complete general maintenance and coordinate with other specialist.

It is their responsibility to make sure the aircraft general maintenance is complete and the aircraft is in peak condition.

Education, Qualifications and Training

This position is an entry-level position that may require high-security clearance.


To enlist in this position you must have a High School Diploma or GED.

You must also take and pass the Mechanical ASVAB test.


Outside of the physical and medical requirements, individuals must have normal color vision.

They also must be between the ages of 17 and 39.

Multiple background checks are required including National Agency Check, Local Agency Check and Credit Check.


Recruits will attend Basic Military Training for 8.5 weeks.

After completion of Basic Military Training, they will attend Sheppard Air Force Base for technical school.

The length of technical training will vary based on the type of Aircraft individuals will be working on.

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What does an Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance Specialist do?

Airlift-Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance
Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance Journeyman at an education fair. These specialist are critical to the Air Force mission. Image:

Some maintenance fields in the Air Force have specific job functions.

The specific job functions could mean an individual focuses just on avionics, the engine or armament systems.

Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance specialist have the wider lens approach, ensuring that the aircraft is good to fly overall, not just a specific part of the aircraft.

These individuals will perform pre- and post-flight inspections on the aircraft.

They will analyze their findings and discuss the findings with others.

After the findings have been analyzed, airmen will advise others on any problems, maintenance that may need to be performed or servicing that may need completed.

This may mean turning the aircraft over to a specialized unit to complete their own part of the inspection and any maintenance activity.

This could also mean selecting the correct maintenance procedure or policy to perform the work.

Specialist maintain all forms and records for aircraft and supporting equipment.

Maintaining equipment logs allows for a history of performed maintenance to look for repeating issues and trends.

They may also both supervise and assist, in any launching or recovering of an aircraft.

Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance specialist will perform and supervise flight chief, crew chief, expediter, quality assurance, maintenance support functions and repair and reclamation.

When the maintenance falls within their general scope, these specialist will complete the work required.

They will inspect the aircraft after the completed work and ensure that the maintenance was completed properly and the aircraft is good to fly.

These specialist must know the ins and outs of the aircraft they are working on.

Specialist must know the placement and quality of every part of the aircraft, down to each bolt.

There are times when individuals in this position may be required to launch more than one aircraft a day, meaning their work needs to be precise and quick.

The video below is from an Air Force Crew Chief. 

This individual works in aircraft maintenance and explains what a day can be like performing the functions that an Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance specialist completes.

What does an Air Force Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance get paid?

Air Force Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance get paid based on rank and time of service.

As soon as recruits finish Basic Training and start attending Technical School they are completing work towards their next rank.

There are a number of factors and requirements that have to be met prior to moving up in rank.

Most recruits will enter as an Airman Basic E-1, making roughly $1600 a month.

There are additional pay potential opportunities and bonus potential for certain positions.

You can find more information on how the Air Force ranks and pay process works by clicking here

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In addition to the pay above, airman receive benefits.

Most benefits are awarded at little to no cost and can vary based on location, rank, family status or time of service.

Air Force benefit summary:

  • Insurance: Free/low cost medical and dental; paid sick time; low-cost life insurance
  • Vacation: 30 days paid
  • Retirement: Available after 20 years
  • Housing: Allowance that includes utilities and maintenance
  • Food: Allowance in addition to tax-free department and grocery stores
  • Education: Tuition Assistance programs
  • Recreation: Activities, social groups and centers for all members of the family

More information related to benefits and tuition can be found here.

Job Reviews

People who have previously been in an enlisted position in the Air Force have been happy with the choice they have made.

The benefits and ability to learn an advanced education are two positive aspects of working for the Air Force.

Individuals also get a sense of pride from serving for their country as an airman.

People who have previously been in this specific position like the work that they complete.

The reviews lean towards a positive rating but note long hours and the job being demanding as negative aspects.

A review from an Aircraft Maintenance specialist can be found below.

Image: Indeed

Civilian Career Opportunities

Experience in this position opens doors to working in mechanics in the aviation field.

This is not a career path that may have openings everywhere, but there are an abundant amount of aircraft maintenance positions with large companies.

The pay for an aviation mechanic in the civilian world will vary greatly depending on location, company and exact title.

Civilian jobs include:

  • Paramilitary Operations Officer
  • Mission Equipment Life cycle Logistician
  • Aircraft Maintenance Support Engineer
  • Aircraft Test Technician
  • Aviation Maintenance Technician 
  • A&P Mechanic-General Aviation

The pay for an aviation mechanic in the civilian world will vary greatly depending on location, company and exact title.

Most jobs range around $25-$35 an hour for mechanic positions that are not entry level.

Airlift-Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance Air Force
Airlift/Special Missions Aircraft Maintenance Apprentice draining residual fuel from the refuel manifold. Image:

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Air Force Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance (2A5X1) specialist perform general maintenance on the entirety of the aircraft.

They ensure that every piece of the aircraft is operational prior to a flight.

These specialist work with the pilot, other crew members and more specialized maintenance teams to make sure the aircraft is in top-notch quality for flight.

This position requires a High School Diploma and GED plus completion of Basic Military Training and Technical Training.

Previous airman in this position are happy with their career choice.

While civilian career opportunities may not be abundant in all areas, there are many career choices that compare to the experienced learned in the Air Force.

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Air Force CFEPT

Air Force Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance

Craig S.
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