As an aircraft engineering specialist, Aircraft Technicians (Mechanical) carry out maintenance and repair work on the airframe and propulsion systems on RAF aircraft such as:
- Flying controls
- Air conditioning
- Landing gear
If you work on our helicopters, you may also check rotor blades, rotor heads and transmission systems and be involved in the adjustment, repair or replacement of any defective parts. All our aircraft get a full overhaul at regular intervals. When this happens, Aircraft Technicians (Mechanical) examine all the mechanical components, the structure of the aircraft, the engines and the associated electrical components that support these functions and you could examine test and repair equipment on everything from fast jets to air transport, helicopters and air to air refuelling aircraft. There are also opportunities to undertake instructional duties or expand your skills in the role of an Aircraft Ground Engineer who provide aircraft engineering support when the aircraft is deployed. In addition to the specialist work you will be trained to undertake aircraft servicing work, preparing aircraft for flight and ensuring that they are fit for flight.
The Diplomas and Apprenticeship that you can earn are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF. Furthermore, as an aircraft engineer in the RAF, the skills and qualifications you will have gained will place you in good stead for a wide range of employment fields when you leave the RAF.
As your career progresses, you will continue to be trained in new skills and you will develop as a technician. You may be posted to a specialist area of employment, such as Non-Destructive Testing, Structural Repairs or working within a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation. You could also have opportunities for management and leadership training. The qualifications and experience you will gain in your RAF career can be used as accreditation criteria for relevant civilian professional associations.
For your first tour you will likely be posted to a flying station where, as a technician, you will use and further develop the skills you learnt during training as you carry out more complex tasks involved with aircraft and aircraft component servicing, maintenance and repair. Your expertise will be used in the diagnosis and rectification of faults to ensure aircraft are fit to fly to meet the Station’s mission.
More information on the desired skills can be found on the RAF recruitment website.
More information on the desired personal qualities can be found on the RAF recruitment website.
Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or equivalent in English language, Mathematics or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 (Grade A – C) in English, Mathematics and an approved Science/Technology-based subject.
A list of approved Science and Technology qualifications can be found on the RAF Recruitment website.
Your career will start with a 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment and, as well as fitness and military training, you will also learn about life in the RAF.
The next step is a specialist trade training course at the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering at Cosford (DSAE Cosford), near Wolverhampton, which lasts approximately 16 months. This course is designed to give you an understanding of your role as an Aircraft Mechanical Technician, which includes Mechanical Engineering Hand Skills, General Aircraft Maintenance Activities, Aircraft Mechanical Control and Operating Systems, Airframe Structures, Hydraulics and Flight Control Systems, Landing Gear, Fault Finding and Off-Aircraft Maintenance, Mechanical Systems and Helicopters. In addition to this your training will include aircraft handling and safety procedures.
During your specialist training you will be enrolled on a Level 3 Engineering Technician Apprenticeship, the Technical Certificate element of which is a Level 3 Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance (Military) and delivered entirely in training. You will be required to complete the portfolio element of the Level 3 Diploma in Aviation Maintenance competence qualification during your first tour when you leave specialist training and conduct an End Point Assessment to be awarded your Apprenticeship.