Aircraft Structures Technician
Aircraft Structures Technicians are members of the air maintenance team who handle, service and maintain Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) aircraft and associated equipment. They are responsible for the maintenance and repair of aviation life support equipment, aircraft structures and related components.
Aircraft Structures Technicians are skilled in metal and composite repair, refinishing, painting, machining and welding. They are integral members of the aircraft maintenance operation in the areas of aircraft servicing, supply, tool control and safety. Their primary responsibilities are to:
- Inspect aircraft structures and related components
- Restore or repair defects using unique aircraft fastening hardware, ferrous and non-ferrous materials, composite materials, chemicals, adhesives, paints and textiles
- Manufacture and install aircraft structural components for prototype projects
- Weld base metals, alloys and casting materials, using oxyacetylene, electrical arc, inert gas and resistance welding techniques and equipment
- Manufacture original aircraft equipment, components or replacement items from base metals using special cutting tools, engine lathe and milling machines
- Fabricate and repair aircraft structures using composite, fibreglass, textiles, leather, plastic and synthetic components
- Conduct corrosion control inspections of ferrous and non-ferrous materials
- Maintain life support equipment, ejection seats, fire suppression and oxygen systems
- Perform aircraft handling tasks, including parking, towing, marshalling, starting, refuelling, cleaning and de-icing.
- Prepare and maintain aircraft documentation and statistical data
Aircraft Structures Technicians provide aircraft structural maintenance during Navy, Army and Air Force operations. Inspections and repairs are carried out on the aircraft; however, aircraft component maintenance is normally performed in a hangar or a shop. They are usually stationed at CAF wings and bases within Canada, including the Arctic, but may be deployed to locations throughout the world in response to NATO and UN commitments.
Pay and career development
The starting salary for a fully trained Aircraft Structures Technicians is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. At their first unit, Aircraft Structures Technicians candidates will receive training on the specific aircraft and equipment employed by their unit. Aircraft Structures Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression and advancement.
Related civilian occupations
- Aircraft Maintenance Engineer – Structures
- Aircraft Structures Maintenance Technician
Basic military qualification
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the CAF physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
Basic occupational qualification training
Aircraft Structures Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering in Borden, Ontario. Training takes approximately 65 weeks and includes:
- Shop mathematics and the use of measuring tools
- Interpretation of mechanical drawings and blueprints
- Metallurgy and identification of base metals, alloys and composite materials
- Fabrication of aircraft parts and aircraft sheet metal repair
- Performing cutting and drilling operations
- Machining external and internal surfaces using engine lathe and milling machines
- Installation of non-permanent fasteners
- Refinishing metal, synthetic and composite surfaces
- Identification of types and use of paints, sealants, epoxies and mixing agents
- Aircraft servicing
- Maintenance of life-support equipment, ejection seats, fire suppression and oxygen systems
Aircraft Structures Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Quality Assurance – Special Metal Welding
- Advanced Composite Repair
- Technical Writing
- Non-Destructive Testing
- Life Cycle Material Management
- Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Turning Centre
- CNC Machining Centre – Operation
- CNC Machining Centre – Programming
- Helicopter Rotor Blade Repair
- Advanced Selective Brush Electroplating
- Aircraft-specific courses
- Cryogenic Bulk Storage and Handling
- Recovery and Salvage Team Member
As they progress in their career, Aircraft Structures Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Technical Administration
- Leadership and management courses
The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.
If you already have a college diploma, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the training criteria for this job and may place you directly into the any required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military occupation training is required before being assigned.
This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Air Force
Serve with the Reserve Force
This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force wing in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Aircraft Structures Technicians serve with the Royal Canadian Air Force. When they are employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis it is usually at CAF bases and tactical units at locations within Canada.
Reserve Force training
Reserve Force members usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, occupational training for the Aircraft Structures Technician qualification takes about 38 weeks and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering in Borden, Ontario.
Air Reserve members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts and are employed in the same unit and perform the same job. Air Reserve members usually serve up to 12 days per month in a regular work day, with opportunities to serve full-time for short durations as needed. Reserve Force members are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.
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