WHAT IS AVIONICS?
The merging of the words “aviation” and “electronics,” Avionics encompasses all of the electronic devices and systems which perform individualized functions that are used on spacecraft, artificial satellites, aircraft, and several other large, movable structures. Avionics technicians install and troubleshoot equipment on fixed wing aircraft or helicopters. They are responsible for ensuring that everything works properly and that none of it interferes with other electronic devices on board. When a device fails, avionics technicians remove it and perform repairs. In a small facility, a technician may work on the aircraft and in the shop, but in large operations, the jobs are separate.
Modern avionics account for a substantial portion of military aircraft spending. Anywhere between 20-60% of the total cost of an individual aircraft accounts for the expense of avionics. The cockpit of an aircraft, which hosts the instrument panel, is the home for a significant amount of an aircraft’s avionic equipment.
Avionics technicians are employed in several different settings. Most passengers inside a terminal have seen a line technician rushing to replace a black box so that a flight can leave on time, but the bulk of the work around a terminal is done at night. Pilots write up problems in the aircraft log book during the day. Avionics technicians try to clear those entries at night.
An eye for detail is essential to this job. While you will have diagnostic tools to assist you, it will still be your job as a mechanic to make the call on whether equipment is up to the required standard.
If you’re a technical person, it will go a long way in this role. You don’t need to be advanced in technical knowledge. You’ll learn as you train.
As an aircraft mechanic you’ll have to work with your hands, meaning you will need to be a dexterous person. If you don’t like occasionally getting your hands dirty, this may not be the path for you.
TROUBLESHOOTING (& PATIENCE)
As a mechanic, it is essential that you are able to work out what is causing problems with certain equipment. This requires patience, common sense, and sometimes, thinking outside of the box.
What types of
jobs can I get?
Avionics technicians are often employed at large airports where aircraft must be serviced and repaired. They are also employed at commuter and regional airlines and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repair stations. In addition, technicians provide maintenance and support to private research concerns, aerospace companies, military bases, and other government agencies. Some avionics technicians work at NASA, engineering companies, and theme parks.
What type of work
do the jobs consist of?
A large portion of an avionic technician’s job involves doing preventative work, so technicians tend to work very unusual hours. Avionics technicians test, maintain, and produce aviation electronics, including missile-guidance systems, jet engines, and flight-control circuitry. Levels of satisfaction in the industry are high, mainly because it provides intellectual curiosity with a very close attention to detail. The installation of electronics devices, their calibration, and their testing are all critical to the success of any aviation endeavor. Many avionics technicians specialize in one area of expertise, such as microcircuit television microscopy, oscilloscope review, or computerized guidance systems. Because of rapid changes in technology, continuing education through professional reading, as well as attending company-sponsored seminars and industry events/conferences, is the norm in this field.
What’s the career
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians earned a median annual salary of $62,650 in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On the low end, aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians earned a 25th percentile salary of $51,760, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $76,770, meaning 25 percent earn more.1
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1 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians.