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General Aviation


General Aviation Information

What is General Aviation?
Career Outlook
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Some careers in aviation require certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, such as pilot, aviation maintenance technician, dispatcher, and air traffic control.  The experience requirements for those FAA certificates can be met by completing an approved aviation program at a college or university.  For other aviation careers such as aerospace engineering, and aviation business and management, a degree from a college or university in that subject area is required. Minnesota offers quality and affordable aviation programs in many aviation career areas at some of its colleges and universities. Click here to find one near you!

Professional Pilots are in command of the plane and are responsible for the safety of the aircraft and its passengers, crew, and cargo.  A pilot plans each flight, flies the plane, and supervises the crew during the flight. He or she also performs ground duties such as filing flight plans, working on reports, briefing crews, and attending training classes. There are many types of pilot careers available.

Maintenance Technician

Aviation Maintenance Technicians keep aircraft in safe flying condition and are responsible for having a detailed knowledge of all the systems on the aircraft. Aviation maintenance technicians may be sitting at computers translating technical data, replacing a reciprocating or turbine engine, or making a repair that maintains the structural integrity of a fuselage. Rapidly changing aircraft technology means that technicians are constantly updating their skills and knowledge to maintain aircraft in safe flying condition.

Aircraft Dispatcher
Aircraft Dispatchers work with pilots to create flight plans that enable aircraft to arrive at their destinations on schedule carrying the maximum payload while expending the least operating cost. The dispatcher must consider weather conditions, safety, regulations, personnel, and economy while making quick decisions about flight plans. In addition, flight dispatchers monitor the progress of flights until an aircraft lands safely.

Air Traffic Controller
Air Traffic Controllers have been described as the guardians of the airways. Using both radar and visual information, their job function is to direct air traffic so it flows smoothly, efficiently, and, above all, safely. Tower controllers work from airport towers, while en route controllers keep the aircraft traveling along airways. Flight service specialists provide pilots with weather information, suggested routes, terrain details, and other information on that station’s particular area.

Aerospace Engineer
Aerospace Engineering is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses many areas of science and engineering and plays a major role in the technological advancement of society.  As a constantly changing profession, aerospace engineering is concerned with a wide range of problems and the latest technologies. For this reason, aerospace engineers pursue a comprehensive fundamental education in mathematics, physical sciences, and engineering sciences. During their training and their careers, aerospace engineers will obtain knowledge of aerodynamics, aerospace materials, structures, propulsion, flight mechanics, orbital mechanics, flight control and an understanding of the application of these disciplines to the analysis and design of aerospace vehicles and systems.

Aircraft Electronics
Aircraft Electronics, or Avionics, is the installation, calibration, and repair of electronic equipment on an aircraft. Today’s aircraft depend on sophisticated electronic equipment to help monitor the systems. An avionics or electronics specialist may work on equipment in an aircraft or they may work in a repair shop on equipment that has been removed from the aircraft and sent to them for repair. Duties include routine maintenance, troubleshooting, replacing faulty components, tracing circuitry, and aligning and adjusting repaired equipment.

Aviation Management
Aviation Managers can have diverse responsibilities depending on which career track they choose. There are operational
and support-based aviation management opportunities with large commercial carriers, at airports, and with smaller fixed-base operators. There are also careers in business aviation and aircraft manufacturing. Most aviation managers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of their department. They use business principles to manage staff, make budget decisions, and market products and services.

Testing Technician

Nondestructive testing (NDT) has been defined as comprising those test methods used to examine an object, material or system without impairing its future usefulness.  NDT is vital for constructing and maintaining all types of components and structures.  It is used to detect different defects such as cracking and corrosion, there are different methods of testing available, such as X-ray (where cracks show up on the film) and ultrasound (where cracks show up as an echo blip on the screen).

Sheet Metal Technician
Use complicated schematics, engineering drawings and technical instructions to safely perform sheet-metal layout, fabrication, and installation of parts, equipment or fabricated items on aircraft.  They use technical data and aircraft drawings to locate part numbers and accomplish sheet metal repairs and fabricate parts.  

Composite Repair
Technicians repair and overhaul advanced composite and bonded aluminum honeycomb assemblies. Many aircraft made today have extensive use of composites in their structures and flight controls.

Interior Aircraft
Modification Technician

Support customers with interior modification processes, from state-of-the-art design and engineering to systems and structures manufacture, integration and certification.  They remove and install complete lines of new and refurbished passenger and crew seating in the aircraft.  Technicians produce aircraft interiors of distinction for corporate and private clientele. Many aircraft owners require custom-designs for their specific needs and image.

Aircraft Repairmen
People employed by a repair station who are specially qualified in the maintenance or repair of aircraft components.  Repairmen receive FAA certification through their employer for areas of specialization.

Line Service Personnel
Greet, park, tow, move, and marshal aircraft arriving or departing ramp area. Provide lavatory and water service as requested.  Fuel/de-ice aircraft as requested. Provide shuttle service for passengers/crew as required. Assist with customer service duties as required. Provide oil and oxygen service for aircraft as requested.  Assist passengers and/or crew with baggage/cargo as needed.  Assist with general cleaning and clearing of debris from ramp building and customer areas.  Assist with wing-walking duties as required.

Aircraft Painting
and Body Shop Technician

Technicians perform aircraft exterior refinishing and painting services.  Full stripping, scuffing, and painting service including custom logo applications.  Professional painting services include a variety of different services with each contract including:

  • Aircraft restoration
  • Aircraft painting & interiors
  • Fabric work
  • Complete strip & refinish
  • Insurance repairs available for aircraft

Descriptions of jobs in general aviation
Quality Assurance Inspector
Responsible for inspection and assessment of incoming and outgoing aircraft parts and related material.  Assists shipping areas to assure that proper airworthiness documentation accompanies all parts prior to shipment.  Enters pertinent Shelf-life and Service-life information into database as part of the Receiving function and monitor its impact on warehouse stock.  Monitors tooling for condition and periodic calibration requirements.  Performs tooling conformity inspections. 

Technical Writer
Technical writers prepare text copy for maintenance, wiring, parts and operational documents under direction of the Technical Publications Manager. Researches and collects information from drawings, test reports, vendor data, and engineering data as directed.  Incorporates info and data into technically accurate and easily understandable text for affected manuals. Writes text material for technical documents and manuals using clearly defined and specific procedures, coordinates illustrations with technical illustrators to supplement text material in tech documents and manuals. Incorporates ( through electronic means) text and artwork into completed draft manuscripts and proof reads same.

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Quick Links
Aviation Maintenance Technician
Aircraft Dispatcher
Air Traffic Controller
Aerospace Engineer
Aircraft Electronics
Nondestructive Testing Technician
Interior Aircraft Modication Technician
Line Service Personnel


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