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Aircraft maintenance engineer (avionics)

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Summary of occupation

Aircraft maintenance engineers inspect, maintain and repair the various electrical/electronic, mechanical and structural components of planes and helicopters. They carry out routine pre-flight checks to ensure that an aircraft is safe and passengers will not be endangered. More detailed inspections are also carried out on each aircraft, where each component is examined and tested for damage and faults. Where problems are detected, aircraft maintenance engineers assess whether the component can be repaired, or if it needs to be replaced entirely.

ANZSCO description: Inspects, tests, aligns, repairs and installs aircraft electrical and avionic system components. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names: Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, Aircraft Maintenance Technician, Aircraft Mechanic
Specialisations: Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Electrical), Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Instruments), Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Mechanical), Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Radio), Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Structures), Avionics Technician (Defence), Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Electrical), Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Instruments), Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Radio)
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An avionics aircraft maintenance engineer needs:

  • technical capability and computer proficiency
  • a mathematical mind
  • good problem solving skills
  • to have a high attention to detail
  • strong communication skills
  • to be responsible
  • to work well in a team.
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Working conditions

Avionics aircraft maintenance engineers work in a range of environments such as indoors in workshops or the hangar, outdoors on the airfield, or on the flightline where aircraft await departure. Working conditions in the hangar are well ventilated and strict safety regulations ensure that risks are minimised.

They may work long hours, do shiftwork, work on weekends and may be on call.

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Salary details

On average, aircraft maintenance engineers can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

Aircraft maintenance engineers use power tools such as pneumatic drills, grinders and riveters. Hoists are used to remove engines and other aircraft components, which can then be dismantled and tested using specialised equipment to check electrical signals and corrosion. In some cases components may be x-rayed or checked using magnetic inspection equipment to check for cracks that the naked eye may not notice. Aircraft maintenance engineers must wear protective clothing, such as overalls, safety glasses and ear muffs. In some cases, especially when working on the tarmac, they may also have to wear high visibility clothing.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an aircraft maintenance engineer specialising in avionics, you usually need to complete an apprenticeship. An aircraft maintenance technician (avionics) apprenticeship usually takes 48 months to complete.

An aircraft maintenance engineer can only work on aircraft under the supervision of a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Aircraft Maintenance Engineer  Video Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Occupation

Inspects, tests, aligns, repairs and installs aircraft electrical and avionic system components. Registration or licensing may be required.

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