Avionics technicians install, test, inspect and adjust electrical and electronic equipment such as navigation, communication and flight control systems in aircraft and spacecraft. They carry out maintenance and repair work. They perform functional tests, diagnose problems and take corrective action.
The duties of an avionics technician include, but are not limited to:
- Installing and testing complex avionics equipment and electrical systems on aircraft or spacecraft.
- Ensuring that all avionics equipment works properly before take-off and that they do not interfere with any other electronic device.
- Removing, repairing, and re-installing any problematic avionics equipment before an aircraft is cleared for take-off.
- Performing intricate and highly reliable soldering on components for navigation, missile control, and communication.
- Assembling and installing electrical components.
- Providing accurate diagnoses of difficult avionics problems.
- Organizing ground support and test equipment for flight tests.
- Analyzing flight test data to diagnose malfunctions and study the operations of the electrical components.
- Coordinating all work with of engineers, technicians, and aircraft maintenance staff.
- Keeping detailed records of all repairs and work performed on the aircraft.
The following job titles also refer to avionics technician:
avionics systems technician
avionics diagnostic technician
avionics maintenance technician
avionics test technician
aircraft instrument technician
avionics repair technician
aircraft electronics mechanic
aircraft electrical mechanic
aircraft instrument mechanic
aircraft electromechanic technician
avionics inspection technician
avionics installation technician
aircraft electro-mechanic technician
Avionics technicians work in hangars, in repair stations, or on airfields. They must meet strict deadlines while following safety standards.
Most of these technicians work near major airports. They may work outside on the airfield, or in climate-controlled shops and hangars. Civilian aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians employed by Armed Forces work on military installations.
Injuries and Illnesses
Avionics technicians often lift heavy objects, handle dangerous chemicals, or operate large power tools. They may work on scaffolds or ladders, and noise and vibrations are common, especially when engines are being tested. Workers must take precautions against injuries, such as wearing ear protection and brightly colored vests to ensure that they are seen when working around large aircraft.
Avionics technicians usually work full time on rotating 8-hour shifts. Overtime and weekend work are common.
An associate’s degree in avionics or aviation technology is generally required to work as avionics technician.
In some jurisdictions, avionics technicians must hold a license from an aviation authority such as the FAA.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Avionics technician is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Avionics technician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to avionics technician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of avionics technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of avionics technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of avionics technician.
- Aircraft flight control systems: Know the setting, features and operation of aircraft flight control systems. Manage flight control surfaces, cockpit controls, connections, and operating mechanisms required to control the flight direction of an aircraft. Operate aircraft engine controls in order to change aircraft speed.
- Electrical engineering: Understand electrical engineering, a field of engineering that deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.
- Electrical systems used in transportation: Understand the functioning of electrical systems, their specifications, and application in operations and systems for the transportation of freight and people.
- Electronics principles: The study of electric energy, more specifically electron, control and its prominent principles regarding integrated circuits and electrical systems.
- Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
- Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.
- Electrical wiring plans: Pictorial representation of an electrical circuit. It shows the components of the circuit as simplified shapes, and the power and signal connections between the devices. It gives information about the relative position and arrangement of devices and terminals on the devices, to help in building or servicing the device. A wiring diagram is often used to troubleshoot problems and to make sure that all the connections have been made and that everything is present.
- Common aviation safety regulations: The body of legislation and regulations that apply to the field of civil aviation at regional, national, European and International levels. Understand that regulations aimed at protecting citizens at all times in civil aviation; ensure that operators, citizens, and organisations comply with these rules.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of avionics technician.
- Apply soldering techniques: Apply and work with a variety of techniques in the process of soldering, such as soft soldering, silver soldering, induction soldering, resistance soldering, pipe soldering, mechanical and aluminium soldering.
- Solder electronics: Operate and use soldering tools and soldering iron, which supply high temperatures to melt the solder and to join electronic components.
- Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
- Assemble electrical components: Assemble switches, electrical controls, circuit boards and other electrical components by using hand and soldering equipment.
- Install electrical and electronic equipment: Install equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work, or equipment to generate, transfer or measure such currents and fields. This equipment includes switchboards, electric motors, generators or direct current systems.
- Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
- Read standard blueprints: Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.
- Read engineering drawings: Read the technical drawings of a product made by the engineer in order to suggest improvements, make models of the product or operate it.
- Test electronic units: Test electronic units using appropriate equipment. Gather and analyse data. Monitor and evaluate system performance and take action if needed.
- Apply health and safety standards: Adhere to standards of hygiene and safety established by respective authorities.
- Operate soldering equipment: Use soldering equipment, such as a soldering gun, a soldering torch or a gas-powered iron, to melt and join together pieces of metal or steel.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of avionics technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Engineering principles: The engineering elements like functionality, replicability, and costs in relation to the design and how they are applied in the completion of engineering projects.
- CADD software: The computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) is the use of computer technology for design and design documentation. CAD software replaces manual drafting with an automated process.
- Engineering processes: The systematic approach to the development and maintenance of engineering systems.
- Cae software: The software to perform computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis tasks such as Finite Element Analysis and Computional Fluid Dynamics.
- CAD software: The computer-aided design (CAD) software for creating, modifying, analysing or optimising a design.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of avionics technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Follow control of substances hazardous to health procedures: Adhere to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) procedures for activities that involve hazardous substances, such as bacteria, allergens, waste oil, paint or brake fluids that result in illness or injury.
- Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
- Adjust engineering designs: Adjust designs of products or parts of products so that they meet requirements.
- Use CADD software: Use computer-aided design and drafting software to make detailed drawings and blueprints of designs.
- Use testing equipment: Use equipment to test performance and operation of machinery.
- Calibrate electronic instruments: Correct and adjust the reliability of an electronic instrument by measuring output and comparing results with the data of a reference device or a set of standardised results. This is done in regular intervals which are set by the manufacturer and using calibration devices.
- Use CAD software: Use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation of a design.
- Maintain electronic equipment: Check and repair electronic equipment. Detect malfunction, locate faults and take measures to prevent damage.
- Conduct performance tests: Conduct experimental, environmental and operational tests on models, prototypes or on the systems and equipment itself in order to test their strength and capabilities under normal and extreme conditions.
- Liaise with engineers: Collaborate with engineers to ensure common understanding and discuss product design, development and improvement.
- Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
ISCO group and title
7421 – Electronics mechanics and servicers
- Avionics technician – ESCO
- Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Avionics Technician Job Description – Betterteam
- Featured image: By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Adam York – This image was released by the United States Navy with the ID 060622-N-1332Y-023 (next), Public Domain