Note that the essential skills profiles were not updated to reflect the transitions to the Skills for Success model and the 2021 version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). For more up-to-date information on the skills required for different occupations, visit the Occupational and Skills Information System (OaSIS) website.

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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Aircraft Instrument, Electrical and Avionics Mechanics, Technicians and Inspectors(2244)

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.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read precautionary statements and instructions on signs and product labels to ensure they avoid hazards and follow safe working procedures. For example, they may read instructions for avoiding electrostatic discharge damage on the packaging of sensitive electronic components. (1)
  • Read notes on work orders, work cards and component labels and shop logbooks. For example, they read repair, testing and installation instructions on work cards. They read component descriptions on parts labels, and logbook entries about completed and outstanding work. (1)
  • Scan e-mail from co-workers, supervisors and suppliers about topics such as parts orders, technical problems and scheduling changes. (2)
  • Read memos, notices and bulletins for up-to-date information their organizations' policies, standards and procedures. For example, they read memos about the adoption of new shop procedures for tasks such as handling chemical products and controlling static electricity. (2)
  • Read and interpret detailed entries in aircraft flight logbooks to better understand and troubleshoot the source of inflight avionic instrument and system malfunctions. (3)
  • Read safety, technical and airworthiness bulletins, directives and newsletters issued by Transport Canada and manufacturers to stay current on standards and safety requirements. For example, they read amendments to repair, replacement and conversion procedures for avionic devices. They scan bulletins about government avionic standards and regulations that apply to current work. (3)
  • Read service and repair manuals when performing instrument, electrical and systems installations, adjustments and repairs. For example, they refer to maintenance manuals to locate test and calibration procedures for avionic devices. They scan fault isolation manuals for specific troubleshooting instructions and procedures for isolating device faults and error codes. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Locate parts numbers, model types, serial numbers and other technical data on a variety of product labels. (1)
  • Scan workplace signs for warnings, hazard icons and symbols for workplace safety information and other data such as voltages and chemical names. (1)
  • Complete tracking and quality control forms and tags. For example, they enter aircraft identification data, service bulletin codes, tests and results and work performed onto traceability and authorized release tags, work orders, test summary sheets and inspection forms. They record test results using testing checklists. (2)
  • Locate information in tracking and quality control forms. For example, they locate information about aircraft and reasons for removal of instruments, and mechanical and electrical components on work orders and requisition forms. (2)
  • Extract process data and troubleshooting procedures from checklists, flowcharts and decision trees. (2)
  • Locate data in lists and tables. For example, they locate operating specifications from specification tables and data analysis sheets. They locate part numbers in parts lists. (2)
  • Scan schematics for information about instruments and electrical systems. For example, they trace electrical and electronic schematics to identify circuits and devices when they are installing, troubleshooting and repairing instruments and other equipment. (3)
  • Extract data such as voltages from oscilloscope displays and percentages from harmonic distortion analyzers. They also interpret these graphic displays by observing, identifying and giving meaning to patterns such as wave forms and modulation envelopes and use the information to identify faults in instruments, complete servicing and certify the airworthiness of instruments. (3)
  • Examine photographs and drawings to determine assembly and disassembly sequences when installing and connecting avionic instruments and mechanical components such as radar systems, adapters, directional indicators and radio receivers. (3)
  • Locate dimensions, angles and other features marked on scale drawings before placing components on circuit boards and mounting instruments on display panels. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • 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)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Calculate travel expense amounts. They calculate travel costs such as car expenses, accommodation and food costs using established per kilometre and per diem rates. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May complete cost analyses for avionic parts, equipment, devices and systems. They compare the costs of repairing and replacing parts and instruments to determine which option is most cost effective. (2)
  • May develop and monitor schedules for aircraft maintenance and overhaul projects. They consider staffing, equipment and part requirements and sometimes work on several concurrent jobs. They monitor parts delays, time requirements, equipment usage and availability. They adjust schedules to meet deadlines. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Confirm the placement of parts on circuit boards and dashboards by taking measurements such as depth, height and width using rulers and tape measures. (1)
  • Calculate design values for electrical and electronic components. For example, they may use Ohm's law to calculate the value of a resistor used to limit the amount of current flowing in a circuit. (2)
  • Calculate dimensions using measurements from scale drawings. For example, they calculate dimensions to confirm the size, location and orientation of devices such as instruments, temperature probes, supports and display panels. (3)
  • Use specialized measuring tools and techniques to obtain precise measurements. For example, they set-up, connect and select appropriate scales on multimeters to measure features such as the amperage, voltage and resistance of connectors, wires and fuses. They may take indirect measurements such as using voltage drop across known resistances to calculate current flow in circuits. They may set-up simulated conditions such as using a dummy load when measuring radio transmitter output. They may take measurements during flights and under controlled conditions. (3)
  • Calculate dimensions and angles when designing, testing and calibrating air frame components and mechanical equipment. They use geometry to calculate ideal angles for air flaps and trigonometry constants to calculate deflection angles from measurements. (4)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare readings and test results to specifications for variables such as temperature, cabin pressure, signal strength, frequency, voltage, amperage and rotations per minute. For example, when they set-up altimeters, outside temperature indicators and compasses, they adjust them so that measurements match specifications or fall within acceptable tolerances. (1)
  • Analyse performance data for avionic and electrical instruments and devices. They analyze data from instrument readings and test results from testing equipment such as spectrum analyzers. For example, they interpret aircraft vibration data to identify patterns and peaks at different speeds to determine if instruments need checking before their scheduled maintenance. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate angles and dimensions when assembling and adjusting devices such as compasses. They consider the difference between readings and required values and the level of precision when making their estimates. (1)
  • Estimate the time required to complete tasks such as tearing down instrument panels, repairing damage, installing instruments and carrying out aircraft inspections. They consider previous timelines, the complexity of the tasks, delivery times for parts and the availability of skilled co-workers. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Exchange job details to with co-workers, supervisors, suppliers and colleagues. For example, they discuss test results with other instrument mechanics and order specific parts from suppliers. (1)
  • Discuss technical matters with co-workers, supervisors, clients, colleagues, manufacturing representatives and avionic inspectors. For example, they exchange ideas about modification options for printed circuit boards with co-workers, supervisors and clients. They consult pilots on in-flight instrument malfunctions, and discuss faulty avionic instruments and equipment with manufacturers' technicians and co-workers when troubleshooting difficult repairs. (2)
  • Provide instructions and directions to apprentices. For example, they provide apprentices with instructions for completing testing, troubleshooting and repair procedures and give them directions for improving efficiency and quality. (2)
  • Participate in regular staff meetings and pre-overhaul meetings to discuss a wide range of topics, including policy and procedure changes, project assignments and health and safety matters. (2)
  • May participate in detailed conversations with supervisors, managers, clients and regulatory officials. They discuss major repairs and repair options, modifications to designs, equipment upgrade requirements and instrument related causes of air accidents and mishaps. For example, they may present investigation findings to clients and management committees. They outline their justifications and recommendations for grounding aircrafts pending further testing and proposed procedures to ensure critical avionic system malfunctions are resolved. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • 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)
Decision Making
  • 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)

Critical Thinking

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
  • 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)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

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.
Finding Information
  • 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)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use the Internet. For example, they use Internet browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator to browse aircraft technology web sites, to access online software manuals, and to search for technical information, standards, procedures, supplies and equipment. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, they use databases programs such as CAMP to access and manage information. They query databases to access maintenance records and procedures. They complete maintenance reports to update database information. (2)
  • Use communication software. For example, they use communication software such as Outlook Express to exchange e-mail and electronic files with clients, co-workers and suppliers. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, they use word processing programs such as Word to prepare reports and testing procedures. They format text, lay out pages as well as integrate tables, photographs and graphs if necessary. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, they may use graphic programs such as PowerPoint to prepare presentations for training courses on avionics. They prepare slideshows, which integrate text, pictures and drawings. They use Visio to prepare layout plans for avionic systems. (3)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, they use spreadsheet programs such as Excel to create spreadsheets to maintain servicing data. They insert formulae to automatically update maintenance and parts data and servicing due dates. (3)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, they may use AutoCAD to create schematic diagrams for printed circuit boards. They use instrument display screens to run electronic equipment configuration tests and to obtain diagnostic readings. (3)
  • Use other computer and software applications. For example, they use specialized aircraft flight management system software such as PAWS. They upload flight system software onto on-board computers and set-up, configure and operate a variety of computer-controlled diagnostic and testing equipment. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information 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)

Continuous Learning

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)

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