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Aircraft Careers
Aircraft Avionician

Aircraft avionicians are also known as aircraft electronicians and aircraft instrument mechanicians.

Aircraft avionicians maintain and repair mechanical, electrical, electronic, and digital instruments on aircraft. The trade combines the work of the aircraft electrician, aircraft instrument mechanic, aircraft radartrician and radiotrician and electronics mechanician. An air traffic avionician works in a specialized field that focuses on keeping the complex network of air traffic and air navigation equipment in peak condition.

Aircraft instrument mechanics / electricians / electronics mechanicians: use measuring and testing equipment for the tracing of circuits and for measuring circuit values; maintain and repair precision measuring instruments, pressure switches, various types of gauges, transmitters, indicators, compasses, altimeters, engine power and control instruments. They repair oxygen equipment, gyroscopic instruments, autopilot components and air-conditioning systems. They join metals, apply cleansing agents and treat metals against rust and fatigue.   

Aircraft avionicians repair and maintain certain aircraft parts such as instrument panels, pressure sensors, navigating systems and instrument landing systems.

Aircraft Radartrician and Radiotrician

Aircraft radartricians and radiotricians install, test, repair and maintain radar and radio equipment for aircraft.

Aircraft radartricians and radiotricians use components and materials such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, switches, generators, and insulators. They construct and use circuits such as rectifiers, amplifiers and frequency modulators. They mount, connect and tune various antenna systems. They use testing equipment and measuring instruments to trace faults and they wire all the electrical equipment in an aircraft.

Aircraft radartricians and radiotricians check, repair and test: radio and electronic equipment; computing equipment; communication systems; radar and radio navigational equipment and air traffic control equipment.

Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft mechanics, also known as aviation mechanics or aviation mechanicians, have the skills and knowledge required to carry out maintenance and repair of aircraft engines and structures such as airframes, flying controls, retractable undercarriages, propellers, hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

Aircraft mechanics carry out the following functions: dismantle, inspect and reassemble engines; overhaul entire engine operating accessories such as fuel pumps, injection systems, turbo-chargers, etc; put the engine in a test rig to conduct a test run; and refit engines to their airframes.

Aircraft Structures Worker

Aircraft structures workers manufacture and maintain airframes and engine components and parts.

Aircraft structures workers mark and cut sheet metal according to engineering drawings. Various factors such as the metallic properties of the metal must always be taken into account. Shapes are obtained by bending the sheet metal into the desired form and by joining components together using soldering, brazing, welding, riveting or bonding techniques. They also shape and fit pipes to aircraft. They have to treat all metals to protect them from corrosion. Safety precautions have to be strictly adhered to.

Aircraft Trimmer

Aircraft trimmers have the responsibility of maintaining the high standards of an aircraft cabin interior, in accordance with laid-down specifications, to ensure passenger comfort and safety.

Aircraft trimmers carry out the following: perform scheduled maintenance; make repairs; carry out inspections on aircraft interior-related components such as: fabric covered panels; carpets and curtains; cockpit and cabin seat covers; safety belts in the aircraft cabin; cargo webbing nets; aircraft insulation blankets.

Survival equipment, such as various slide rafts and life vests used on aircraft, is regularly serviced and if necessary, repaired to ensure the safety of the passengers and crew. All procedures applied must be accurately documented.

Aircraft Turner and Machinist

Aircraft turners and machinists perform maintenance work on aircraft parts and components by applying turning, milling, grinding, and jig-boring skills. In this occupation a person must be able to manufacture parts from various types of special aircraft materials.

Aviation turners and machinists must adhere to all the prescribed rules and regulations laid down by manufacturing companies and vendors. All machining processes must be documented. All work done is subjected to comprehensive inspection to meet safety standards.

Satisfying Aspects
- having a responsible job
- meeting challenging opportunities
- working with your hands

Demanding aspects
- need for great accuracy in their work
- demanding mentally and physically

- mechanical interest
- manual dexterity
- ability to think clearly and make quick decisions
- able to work accurately under pressure
- neat, orderly work habits
- able to maintain consistently high stnadard of work
- good health and phyical fitness

School Subjects
Grade 9 or N1

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Physical Sciences

South African Air Force: Denel SAA

Air Traffic Navigation Services Company - for training as an Avionician and/or Aircraft Radartrician and Radiotrician.

To train as an Avionician (Air Traffic), one first needs to complete a National Diploma in Electronic Engineering at a university of technology and then must apply for a bursary at the Air Traffic & Navigation Services Company (ATNS) at the Johannesburg International Airport.

The other disciplines have different training.
Certificate: There are various paths to becoming a qualified artisan:
1. An Apprenticeship is a registered 4 year contract between company and apprentice comprising a 12 week theoretical training which includes a 4 subject national exam/level.
2. A Learnership is a contract between learner, employer and service provider which provides for the achievement of a qualification, run over approximately 3 one year periods. FET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA such as MERSETA or CHIETA. Learners receive theoretical and practical training.
3. From 2007, FET colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During the three year engineering programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (this NCV) similar to the new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component. After completion, the NCV learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan.

Learners must all receive training in occupational safety and first aid, fire-fighting and preventative security measures. Learners study everything about the installation, maintenance and repair of all electrical equipment. They must also become familiar with municipal legislation relevant to electricity supply and consumption.

- Denel Aviation
- Aircraft manufacturing or maintenance companies
- South African Airways
- South African Air Force
- Commercial and private airlines
- Department of Transport

Aviation Training Authority:
Tel: (011) 570-0401
Fax: (011) 390-1209

For Aircraft Avionician, Radartrician & Radiotrician:-
Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS)
Private Bag X 15
Kempton Park, 1620
Tel: (011) 961-0100
Fax: (011) 392-3868