Avionics technicians, or aircraft technicians, are responsible for inspecting, testing, and repairing electronic aircraft components.
They work on communication, navigation and flight control systems. Their work requires an in-depth understanding of advanced electronic equipment and systems diagnostics.
What does an avionics technician do?
Job responsibilities for an avionics technician include:
- Troubleshooting and testing instruments, components and assemblies, using circuit testers, oscilloscopes or voltmeters
- Inspecting, maintaining and installing electronic and missile control systems, such as navigational systems, radar technology, radio communication systems, and flight control tools;
- Repair electrical problems
- Use testing systems to diagnose problems
- Document the work carried out in written reports
- Document and report maintenance and repair work
- Adjust, repair or replace malfunctioning components
- Organise and operate ground support and test equipment to perform flight tests of electrical components
- Assemble components including switches, electrical controls, and junction boxes
- Connect components to assemblies
- Lay out installation of aircraft assemblies and systems, according to planning documentation
- Analyse flight test data
- Coordinate with co-workers on projects
A university degree in a technical subject, such as chemistry, maths, physics, or computing will help you get started on this career path.
You may also need certain electrical engineering certificates and qualifications. Depending on the employer, some companies may offer specialist on-the-job training, so do your research before you make a job application.
For more experienced positions, employers will look for prior experience in troubleshooting and installation of systems such as NAV/COM/PULSE, Autopilot, Audio Systems, TAWS, GPS and RVSM.
Applicants should also possess knowledge of standard aviation safety practices and current technology. They should be able to demonstrate working knowledge of other aircraft systems such as hydraulic, flight controls.
Often, jobs in this field require several years previous experience of aircraft electrical repair and modification, and a track record of working on a particular type of aircraft.
There’s often a need to be familiar with specific maintenance and repair manuals, and the ability to read and interpret blueprints, drawings and schematics. Bear in mind that the unique requirements of this role may leave you working unsociable hours, including late night and early morning shifts and working at weekends. Sometimes extensive travel may be required.
What skills do you need to become an avionics technician?
- A logical way of thinking is important as you will need to have a thorough and methodical approach to your work
- Problem-solving skills will help you when diagnosing electrical issues and deciding how best to repair them
- You will need good communications skills in order to produce clear reports on your work
- You will often work on an aircraft with other technicians and engineers. You will, therefore, need the ability to work well in a team
- You will need to have good attention to detail so you don’t miss any issues with the aircraft
- You will need to have the ability to interpret and analyse design documents to guide your work on an aircraft
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