Avionics Technician

Avionics plays a significant role in the development and assembly of helicopters, satellites and aircraft of all types and sizes. Avionics is an industry-accepted term for the field of aviation electronics. Avionics technicians are responsible with a wide range of duties that include assembly, maintenance, repair, troubleshooting and installation of advanced aircraft communication and navigation equipment, automatic flight control and instrumentation, and other airborne-related components. Committed to the highest standard of quality workmanship, avionics technician jobs demand attention to detail as they work on critical flight systems that could affect the passenger and crew safety.

Aside from interpreting flight test data to diagnose malfunctions and performance problems, avionics technicians test electronic instruments such as radio communications, radar systems, missile control systems, and navigation aids with circuit testers, voltmeters and oscilloscopes. They also keep records of maintenance and repair work. Some avionics technicians specialize in maintaining on electronic flight instruments of airplanes as well as its propellers, based on the standards of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Holding the Airframe rating to work on the electronic and flight instrument systems of an aircraft, avionics technicians could get their certification through a repair station for a specific work upon completion. Avionics technicians working on communications equipment may need to secure from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the proper radiotelephone operator certification.

Why Become an Avionics Technician

Avionics technicians may begin their careers as aircraft mechanics and service technicians. Eventually, they could become enthusiastic avionics technicians who would specialize on flight instruments. Aside from aerospace product and parts manufacturing that employs 30 percent of the total avionics technicians, other industries with the most avionics technicians include support activities for air transportation, federal government, scheduled air transportation, and professional, scientific, and technical services. With an estimated 17,150 employed avionics technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 2.9 percent projected growth for job opportunities from 2012 to 2022. As the economy improves, passenger air traffic will also increase, which would make the competition stronger for aspiring avionics technicians. Salary reports indicate that the mean annual wage for avionics technicians would be roughly $58,460 as of May 2014.

Avionics Technician Work Environment

Majority of the avionics technician works for private companies, while around 14 percent serves the federal government. Avionics equipment mechanics and technicians experience rates of injuries and illnesses that are higher than the average across all occupations. The environment could be loud because of aircraft engines and equipment so they should wear personal protective gears at all times. It is very common for workers to bend, stoop, and reach from ladders and scaffolds for this type of occupation with possible exposure to hot and cold temperatures. Avionics technicians work full time on rotating eight-hour shifts but most report during the night for those employed in a terminal to address the problems written by pilots in the aircraft logbook during the day. They could be repairing wiring, updating aircraft software, or changing black boxes as necessary. General aviation mechanics and technicians typically have more flexible schedules than those working for airlines.

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