Aircraft Technician

Maintain and repair state of the art aircraft such as the Hornet and Globemaster, looking after their wheels, brakes, hydraulics, engines, turbos, fuel lines and more.

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Job Overview

About the Job

The Aircraft Trade is responsible for the on-going maintenance of aircraft, airframe systems, engines and engine systems at either flightline or workshop level. Accordingly, within normal employment and supervisory guidelines, Aircraft Technicians are employed on duties which include aircraft flight line handling and replenishment; inspection, removal and installation of aircraft components at all levels of maintenance; disassembly and reassembly of aircraft components; preparation and use of aircraft support equipment; identification and demanding of aircraft spares; preparation and packaging of technical equipment for transportation; amendment and maintenance of technical publications; inspection, maintenance, servicing, repair and fault diagnosis of landing gear and braking systems, air-conditioning, pressurisation and surface ice control systems, hydraulic and pneumatic power systems, fuel systems, fire warning, detecting and extinguishing systems, turbo-shaft, turbojet and auxiliary power plant and associated systems.

Working Conditions. The working environment varies because of the nature of the work encountered. Members are often exposed to outdoor conditions and inclement weather, cramped or awkward working positions, confined working spaces, poor light conditions, and aircraft, machinery and equipment noise and vibration. Where possible, work is performed in shelters, hangars or workshops that offer protection from inclement weather. Workshops may be of the open structure or climate controlled type, depending on the maintenance performed. Work may involve being deployed to other bases in Australia and overseas. Work is often performed outside normal hours.

You may at times during your career, have the opportunity to also work on aircraft belonging to the Navy and Army and be employed within Navy or Army Units.

Hazards. Inherent hazards exist in tasks associated with aircraft and engine operations, explosive ordnance, electrical supplies, toxic materials, Ionising and non-Ionising radiation and cryogenic liquids. Tasks require constant care and development of safe working habits to avoid injury. Minor cuts and bruises may be sustained, but the possibility exists of sustaining more serious injury from machinery, plant, equipment and operational aircraft systems. Personal protective equipment is provided where necessary, and its use is enforced.

Physical Effort. Some handling of both light and heavy tools and equipment is involved in daily tasks, with an occasional requirement for considerable strength for lifting and handling equipment, jigs, machinery, tools and components. While the physical effort required is normally low, on occasion, heavy and awkward objects must be manoeuvred in confined spaces.

Manual Dexterity and Physical Co-ordination. A high level of physical co-ordination and manual dexterity is required to perform tasks that involve the operation of hand and power tools, and machinery. Close tolerance fits of components, sometimes large and heavy, also requires that dexterity and co-ordination be of a high order.

Speed and Accuracy of Movement. A high degree of accuracy of movement is required for most tasks; however, rapid response or great speed of movement is not normally required.

Contact with Others. Aircraft Tradespeople are required to frequently interact with other technical trades, engineering officers, aircrew and civilian staff.

Probability and Consequence of Error. The probabilities of error normal to all engineering trades exist. The consequences of error can be severe in relation to property damage and could result in serious injury or death, and loss of high value assets. Errors in workmanship may also lead to expensive wastage of components and/or materials.

Responsibility for Money and Material. The job does not involve any responsibility for the care of money. However, accounting responsibilities require the custody and correct use of valuable technical equipment, tools, machinery, publications, materials, job items and other military assets.

Trade Criticality. The duties of an Aircraft Tradesperson are critical to the operational effectiveness of the RAAF. The trade performs a critical role in exercising judgement to ensure continued integrity of the airframe, engine and associated systems. A high standard of workmanship is necessary to satisfy airworthiness requirements with the RAAF.

Handling of Classified Documents and Equipment. During the course of duties, Aircraft Tradespeople may be required to handle classified documents and equipment.

Weapon Systems. Aircraft Tradespeople are employed (almost exclusively) within one of the following Weapon Systems:

  • Fighter (F/A-18 Hornet), Hawk, PC9) JSF
  • Surveillance (AP3C Orion, Wedgetail B737 AEWC) P8 Poseidon
  • Strike (F/A-18F Super Hornet) and
  • Transport (C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster, KC-30A, King Air 350 (B300). C27J Spartan
Other Ranks - Technical

Join the ADF and receive full trade training

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Salary can be over $67,280 p.a. on completion of initial employment training. This salary includes Uniform and Service allowance.

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Key Information

National Qualifications

The Royal Australian Air Force is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) under the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF). This allows the RAAF to issue national awards, which in principle have the same standing as those provided by Universities and other Institutes of TAFE.

Following completion of the Aircraft Technician course and attainment of the competency standards you will be issued with a Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechanical).

Salary & Allowances

Salary while undertaking Military (Recruit) Training: $1,434 per fortnight ($37,302 per year).*

Salary while undertaking Employment Training commences at $1,742 per fortnight ($45,296 per year) and increases to $1,742 per fortnight ($45,296 per year) after 12 months of training.*

While under training, you will also receive $403 per fortnight ($10,493 per year pro rata) Trainee Allowance.

Salary (excluding allowances) on completion of Initial Employment Training: $2,049 per fortnight ($53,289 per year).*

In addition to your salary, you will receive Service Allowance of $538 per fortnight ($13,991 per year) except while undertaking Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.

To assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition, you will also receive a Uniform Allowance of $16 per fortnight ($419 per year).

Each General Entry job in the Australian Defence Force is classified into a pay grade. This particular job is classified as a Pay Grade 3 occupation, with the following progressions as applicable:

  • Aircraft Fitter Grade 1, Pay Grade 3
  • Aircraft Fitter Grade 2, Pay Grade 4
  • Aircraft Technician, Pay Grade 5
  • Aircraft Technical Supervisor, Pay Grade 6
  • Aircraft Technical Manager, Pay Grade 7 and
  • Aircraft Systems Technician, Pay Grade 7.

Refer to the Salary Scales and the Pay Benefits section for further details.

* Please note that these figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); and superannuation.


Members may be posted to most Air Force bases and other Defence Establishments within Australia, as well as limited overseas opportunities.



On the day you enter the Air Force you must be at least 17 years old. Subject to the capacity of your local recruiting centre, you may be able to start the application process aged 16.5 years.

Education & Experience

It is essential that the applicant has completed Year 10 with passes in English, Maths and Science (with a Physics component). These entry qualifications are required to facilitate understanding of the engineering principles encountered during training.

Note: Consumer Maths, General Maths, Mathematics (General Mathematics) and similarly 'modified' Maths subjects are not suitable for this job,


If you do not satisfy the education requirements for this trade or do not possess evidence of your educational attainment there is an alternative pathway available to you.

You may be eligible to sit an Alternative Education Equivalency (AEE) Assessment to ascertain your ability at the required educational level for this trade.

Further information is available here.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

You will be enlisted for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of four years. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may request discharge at any time provided you do not have an outstanding IMPS obligation.

Your Careers Counsellor can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.

Additional Requirements

Further Requirements:

  • Well-developed hand-skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Advanced analytical and problem-solving skills required to troubleshoot aircraft
  • Appreciation of safety requirements
  • Good attention to detail
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Able to sustain long periods of precision lifting
  • Comfortable working in confined spaces and
  • Resourcefulness and common sense

Licence Requirements

Applicants should hold a provisional or full Australian C Class (or equivalent) motor vehicle licence for a vehicle with a manual transmission for 12 months. Applicants should be free of traffic infringements and/or offences that may result in future cancellation of the licence, or prevent the issue of an ADF Drivers Licence.


The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.


Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry. Details on the security requirements for all Air Force jobs can be found here.


Military Training

Duration: 10.6 weeks

Location: RAAF Base Wagga (NSW)

You'll start your Air Force career at No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU). In three intensive months you'll transition smoothly from civilian to Service life, acquiring the basic knowledge, skills and physical fitness required for your role; and learning to become an effective and productive member of the Air Force.

You can read about what to expect at the No.1 Recruit Training Unit on the 1RTU website. You'll also find useful information in our Joining instructions.

Employment Training

Aircraft Technician Course.

Duration: 37 weeks (this is an approximate duration and may be subject to change).

Location: RAAF School of Technical Training (RAAFSTT) at RAAF Base Wagga (NSW).

Training Philosophy

The training philosophy adopted by the RAAF for Aircraft Technical Training is based on the Integrated Job Performance Training System in which students are first given broad hand skills, then trained in the operation and maintenance of complete systems before ultimately being trained in the detailed operation and diagnostic maintenance of complete system components. Training is based on the requirements of the MEA11 Aeroskills Training Package and is aligned to the Competency Standards required for a Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechanical). Following completion of an Aircraft Technician course and attainment of the competency standards you will be issued with an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level IV certificate.

Aircraft Technician Course.

The Aircraft Technician course comprises the initial generic trade training for Aircraft trainees who upon graduation are employed at the Fitter (Grade 1) skill level. The course provides instruction in generic trade hand skills, aircraft systems component removal and installation and detailed aircraft systems theory of operation and diagnostics. Training is also provided in aircraft handling and servicing tasks.

Fitter progression.

Having graduated as an Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman (AC/ACW) Aircraft Fitter grade 1, members are required to consolidate their training through work experience. The minimum requirement for progression to Aircraft Technician is the completion of 24 months employment as a Fitter (comprising a minimum of 12 months as an AC/ACW Fitter grade 1 and 12 months as a LAC/LACW Fitter grade 2) plus the successful completion of the competency units required to qualify for a Trade Certificate (refer to Civil Accreditation ). This results in the member being promoted to LAC Aircraft Technician. Following a further 24 months experience as an LAC/LACW Aircraft Technician, and the successful completion of pre-requisite training and satisfactory performance, the member will be eligible for consideration for promotion to CPL. Advancement through the ranks to Warrant Officer is in competition with other Aircraft Technicians.

Further Training

Technician Progression Options

There are a number of career options that provide for employment beyond Aircraft Technician, however, in every instance, advancement is competitive and strictly according to Service requirements, regardless of which career path is chosen. The following options are available:

Progression Through Promotion.

Aircraft Technicians may choose to remain at the Technician career path and seek advancement through the Supervisor and Technical Manager skills levels to the rank of Warrant Officer. This career option provides for a wide variety of employment including Operational Maintenance (OM) and Deeper Maintenance (DM) on aircraft and in a workshop environment. There are also career opportunities available in aviation support staff positions such as: Logistics Management, Project Offices, training establishments, headquarter units, Combat Support units, and Force Element Groups.

Alternate career pathway to Non-Destructive Inspection Technician (NDITECH).

Aircraft Technicians are also provided with an opportunity to undergo competitive selection and training leading to remuster to NDITECH. Once NDI training is complete, members will progress from NDITECH Grade 1 to Grade 2, then progress through the ranks to Warrant Officer in competition with other NDITECH members.

Progression to Systems Technician.

Aircraft Technicians with two years experience as a CPL, including at least one year as a Trade Supervisor, may apply to undergo competitive selection for remuster to Aircraft Systems Technician (ASYSTECH). ASYSTECHs are employed in the analysis, diagnosis, testing and resolution of faults in complex or integrated aircraft systems. Successful candidates will require completion of a formal course of study at the Advanced Diploma of Engineering level, followed by the completion of the Systems Technician Course and the Senior Technical Managers Course.

Graduates from the Systems Technician Course are remustered and promoted to Sergeant (SGT) ASYSTECH, then progress through the ranks to Warrant Officer in competition with both AVTECHs and other AVSYSTECHs.

Explosive Ordnance.

Aircraft Technicians are required to undertake on-the-job experience training in Explosive Ordnance relevant to the aircraft platform on which they are employed.