Aerospace engineering technicians work on the design, manufacture and operation of aircraft, missiles, satellites and space vehicles. Some may be specialist engineering technicians building and maintaining aircraft systems and components such as the fuselage, wings, engines, landing gear, brakes, flying controls and environmental systems. Others may be electrical or electronics technicians installing and testing electrical and electronic systems used in navigation, communications and flight control.
They may work in design, using computer-aided (CAD) systems to help produce the designs, or in manufacturing, modifying and assembling the components that produce aircraft, missiles or satellites. Maintenance technicians carry out basic maintenance between flights and carry out pre-flight checks, fault diagnosis and repairs. They maintain and improve vast fleets of aircraft in service throughout the world.
Technicians normally work 37 to 40 hours a week. Work may be on production lines in factories, in aircraft hangars or outside on airport parking areas.
Aerospace engineering technicians need to:
- have good practical skills
- be good at maths and computing
- understand engineering drawings and principles
- have normal colour vision for certain roles.
Career opportunities exist with small and medium-sized businesses to multinational aerospace manufacturers, aircraft maintenance specialists, airline operators and the armed forces. Aerospace companies exist in the Midlands, west, north-west and east of England and in Northern Ireland. There are aircraft maintenance facilities in Wales and Scotland.
Applicants usually need four to five GCSEs (A*-C), including maths and science or technology, or a BTEC First Diploma. The Diploma in Engineering may be relevant for this area of work. Technicians can either train with an employer on an Apprenticeship, or take a full-time or part-time college course and then apply to an employer for a trainee technician post.
Full- or part-time courses include BTEC national certificates and diplomas. Further study could lead to higher national certificates or diplomas (HNCs/HNDs), the qualification EngTech or foundation degrees. Apprenticeships usually last between three and four years, and apprentices complete a mixture of on-the-job and college-based training.