Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
This unit group includes mechanics and technicians who install, adjust, repair and overhaul aircraft instruments, electrical and avionics systems on aircraft. This unit group also includes avionics inspectors who inspect instrument, electrical and avionic systems following assembly, modification, repair or overhaul. Workers in this unit group are employed by aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul establishments and by airlines, the armed forces and other aircraft operators.
- Write notes on documents such as work orders and time sheets. For example, an instrument technician may write a note on a work order to explain why instrument and mechanical component teardowns and repairs took longer than expected and to outline concerns about replacement parts. (2)
- Write comments in logbooks and quality control forms. For example, they describe servicing details and concerns such as early breakage and wear of parts and wiring on service difficulty reporting forms. They write comments in logbooks about deferred work and notable events that occurred during their shifts. (2)
- Write short e-mail to co-workers, technical support staff and suppliers. For example, they request technical information from suppliers, ask co-workers and colleagues for help solving technical problems and report job progress and instrument malfunctions to supervisors. (2)
- May write incident and accident reports that include details of the incidents and outcomes. They include descriptions of the incidents such as recurring problems with co-workers, details of disciplinary actions and expected follow-up. They may include details of the injuries, property damage and follow-up actions. (3)
- May write reports, which describe the results of aircraft inspections. For example, they describe the procedures used, test carried out, and results obtained. They interpret the findings and recommend actions such as additional work not originally scheduled. They present their justifications and recommendations clearly and accurately to ensure supervisors make informed decisions. (3)
Aircraft Instrument, Electrical & Avionics Inspectors
- May write lengthy and complex descriptions about new avionic systems and other system modifications when seeking approval from Transport Canada. They include details outlining how modifications comply with Transport Canada avionics regulations. (3)
- May write repair and maintenance procedures for aircraft equipment and systems, which must be explicit and unambiguous to correctly guide technicians. For example, they write laboratory calibration procedures for aircraft devices. (4)
- Are unable to find replacement parts when repairing instruments and avionic equipment. They identify alternative sources such as parts and equipment from grounded aircraft and unserviceable instruments. They consider the quality, wear, maintenance schedules and compatibility of the borrowed parts before requesting approvals from their supervisors. (2)
- May notice that apprentices are failing to meet work standards and expectations. For example, they may find that apprentices are failing to meet deadlines or not using the proper steps and procedures to complete work. They observe apprentices to identify problem areas, provide instructions and closely monitor their work until standards are achieved. (3)
- Experience intermittent instrument and avionic equipment malfunctions. They systematically check all equipment readings, test results, flight logbook entries and previous maintenance records to isolate faults. For example, they may find loose components are creating vibrations, which are causing malfunctions. They request modifications to mounting structures to minimize vibrations. (3)
- Encounter lack of cooperation, which affects the work environment. For example, inspectors may encounter maintenance technicians who are unreceptive to their feedback. They ask their supervisors for suggestions and may take management and communication courses to improve their own skills to ensure interactions are more effective. (3)
- Choose materials and methods for carrying out troubleshooting and repair tasks. They have set procedures, but they decide the order of troubleshooting and the sequence of tests based on their knowledge of instruments, avionic equipment, and information from manuals and other documents. Their ability to correctly decide which procedures to use is important to ensuring they meet project deadlines. (2)
- Decide when to seek technical assistance and when to outsource testing and repairs. They consider the existing test results, their experience, completion deadlines and the type of repairs. (2)
- Decide to replace defective parts, components and instruments. For example, when inspecting wiring, wire casings and analog instruments they consider the external wear, flight hours, age of parts, stress indicators, replacement availability and cost and time constraints. When making replacement decisions, they may seek approval on larger items and items that may delay the completion of jobs. (3)
- May make decisions about aircraft instruments' and avionic equipment airworthiness. For example, avionic technicians choose to approve the airworthiness of repaired instruments and release them back into active use. They consider testing results, wear on instruments and flight hours. Avionic inspectors decide to approve installed aviation systems such as flight tracking systems after reviewing technicians' notes and comparing diagnostic and testing results to specifications and standards. Their decisions must always be correct to ensure the safety of passengers and crew members. (4)
Aircraft Instrument, Electrical and Avionics Mechanics, Technicians and Inspectors
- Evaluate the usability of individual instruments, parts and components from grounded planes and unserviceable instruments for use in repairing other instruments. They gather information by reviewing past work orders, completing diagnostic testing and reviewing results. In addition, they consider visible wear, age, flight hours and stresses which parts have been subjected. (2)
- Judge the functionality, ergonomics and safety of new instrument and equipment installations. They consider the layout on aircraft drawings, the function of the individual modules and the ease of access for future repairs. (2)
- Assess the usability of aircraft that have outstanding avionic repairs. They consider the importance of individual instruments and parts to the overall performance of flight systems and flights. They consider the number of faulty components and parts and their interdependence to the overall functioning and operability of the aircraft. Their expert judgement is critical when the sum of all faults will not necessarily ground a plane. They use their experience to recommend it be grounded or only used on limited flights. (3)
- Evaluate the performance of aircraft instrument, electrical and avionic systems. They gather information by taking measurements, reading flight logs, viewing test results, and talking to air crew. They analyze data such as test and diagnostic as part of their evaluation process. Their expert judgement is critical in an industry where concern for costs and safety are high. (3)
- May judge the quality and completeness of written work procedures. For example, when reviewing new testing and diagnostic procedures they consider the tone and clarity of the language, the completeness of explanations for each step and specialized terms to make recommendations. (3)
Aircraft Instrument, Electrical & Avionics Inspectors
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- May evaluate the performance of co-workers and contractors. They assess the quality of their work by observing their attitudes and abilities to meet deadlines. The inspectors' judgments of employees' performance is critical to meeting required guidelines, specifications and standards. (3)
- Evaluate the quality of mechanics' and technicians' work. They carry out visual inspections, read technicians' and pilots' notes in logbooks and on work cards and compare diagnostic test results to specifications and standards. (3)
Own Job Planning and Organizing
Aircraft instrument, electrical and avionic mechanics, technicians and inspectors generally receive their project assignments and priorities from their supervisors. Their ability to manage priorities and sequence tasks is critical for meeting deadlines. System malfunctions, instrument breakdowns and emergencies make frequent prioritizing and sequencing of job tasks necessary. They may work in teams during system overhauls. They integrate job tasks with co-workers when coordinating access to confined working spaces, testing equipment and tools. They plan and coordinate their testing tasks with resident pilots and air traffic controllers. (2)
Planning and Organizing for Others
Aircraft instrument, electrical and avionic mechanics, technicians and inspectors may be responsible for planning work assignments and training experiences for apprentices. (2)
Significant Use of Memory
- Recall safety procedures and Transport Canada standards and regulations.
- Recall the names and areas of expertise of engineers, technicians and technologists working with them to facilitate communication and equipment fault isolation.
- Remember the different specifications, model types and location of instruments and parts used in different aircraft.
- Consult co-workers who have expertise with particular instruments for information about repairing aircraft equipment and systems with which they are unfamiliar. (2)
- Locate technical information such as testing and component specifications, operational tolerances, troubleshooting, repair and installation procedures and 'theory of operations' in data and maintenance manuals, service bulletins, troubleshooting checklists, flowcharts and decision trees. (2)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Aircraft instrument, electrical and avionic mechanics, technicians and inspectors work independently when completing job tasks such as performing tests, analyzing test results and replacing and installing parts, components and systems. They coordinate their work with other technicians and pilots to complete tasks such as testing and calibrating compasses, installing larger systems and troubleshooting instrument and system faults and malfunctions. They may work with and supervise apprentices. (2)
Aircraft instrument, electrical and avionic mechanics, technicians and inspectors need to continually update their skills and knowledge. As directed by supervisors, they attend workshops, information sessions and career advancement courses provided onsite and by manufacturers and educational institutions, Transport Canada and the Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council. For example, they may participate in training for health and safety, specific courses for electro-mechanical flight instruments and avionic system certificates. On a day-to-day basis, they acquire new learning and remain current on regulations by speaking with co-workers, colleagues and suppliers and by reading information found in aviation newsletters, magazines, textbooks, compact disks, manuals, research reports and governmental publications.
Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AME) who are licensed by Transport Canada, and mechanics, technicians and inspectors certified by the Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council are required to provide supporting documentation of hours worked, and training taken to maintain certification and license status. They may be required to develop their own learning plans but are guided by licensing organizations and employer requirements. (3)