Avionics Engineers


Exploring this Job

One good way to learn more about avionics is to visit factories and test facilities where avionics engineers work as part of teams designing and testing new equipment. It is also possible to visit a large airfield's repair facilities where avionics workers design, build, inspect, maintain, and calibrate communications and control apparatus. You can also arrange to visit other types of electronics manufacturers. Ask your school's career services office for help with setting up these visits.

Useful information about avionics training programs and career opportunities is available from the U.S. armed forces as well as from trade and technical schools and community colleges that offer such programs. These organizations are always pleased to answer inquiries from prospective students or service personnel.

The Job

Avionics engineers develop new electronic systems and components for aerospace use. Avionics engineers work closely with technicians, who assist engineers in these developments. Engineers also adapt existing systems and components for application in new equipment. For the most part, however, they install, test, repair, and maintain navigation, communications, and control apparatus in existing aircraft and spacecraft.

Avionics engineers involved in the design and testing of a new apparatus must take into account all operating conditions, determining weight limitations, resistance to physical shock, the atmospheric conditions the device will have to withstand, and other factors. For some sophisticated projects, they may work with technicians in designing and making their tools first and then using them to construct and test new avionic components.

The range of equipment in the avionics field is so broad that engineers usually specialize in one area, such as radio equipment, radar, computerized guidance, or flight-control systems. New specialty areas are constantly opening up as innovations occur in avionics. Engineers keep informed of new developments in their specialty areas by reading technical articles and books and by attending seminars and courses, which are often sponsored by manufacturers.

Avionics engineers usually work as part of a team, especially if involved in research, testing, and development of new products. They keep notes and records of their work and write detailed, technical reports and other documentation for use by the engineering staff and management.