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Old 13th Jan 2003, 11:56   #1 (permalink)
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Question Aircraft engineering / avionics qualifications

I am contemplating embarking on a career change into aircraft engineering / avionics, preferably of light aircraft (although consider other types).
Does anybody know of any college / training establishment that offers distance learning courses in aircraft engineering or avionics to as high a standard as to obtain JAR approval / certification as a qualified engineer. I am a bit green when it comes to the details, but generally I would assume that a degree in either followed by the sitting of exams set by JAA / CAA is the preferred route. Since I have already been through University (degree in Agriculture, mmm ?!) I would rather gain the experience / qualifications vocationally or distance learning, while working. I believe avaition engineering to be a wide and complex subject, but I know that I am fully capable of understanding pretty much anything technical. Any ideas / literature or words of advice on my options would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Geordie is offline  
Old 13th Jan 2003, 22:29   #2 (permalink)
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Aircraft avionic systems are maintained and certified fit for use by licenced aircraft maintenance engineers, who hold a B2 (avionics) licence issued by the CAA to the Joint Aviation Authorities i.e. European JAR66 standard.
This is a vocational qualification. A university or degree is not required, but the intellectual input required is still reasonably high; I would think you would cope with that. Much practical experience is also required. I expect you have looked at the CAA website?
Perhaps the usual route is to work on aircraft in an unlicenced role whilst studying and taking occasional short courses at one of the training schools.
However I myself spent two years at college full time ten years ago at what was then called Brunel College in Bristol. Now called Bristol College of Arts and Technology or something. I think they do short courses. Also Engineering Training College Oxford, very good; 01865 844253.
And I think there is still a college at Scone, Perth. I am vague about this.
Distance learning? I think they might do this.
avoman is offline  
Old 14th Jan 2003, 20:57   #3 (permalink)
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There is an distance learning organisation called Licence by Post who I am currently doing a basic JAR B1 licence with.

For a B2 licence I seem to remember a figure of just over 2000 for all the necessary modules (plus CAA exam fees).
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Old 15th Jan 2003, 17:06   #4 (permalink)
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Please note that JAR66 doesn't cover you for aircraft below 5700Kgs (you mentioned working on light aircraft)

If you're under 24 then it might be worth checking out the BA "Professional Engineers Programme". From what I've heard they'll running it again this year after taking a break last year cos of "Financial Difficulties". The course gives you the practical training for JAR66 B1 or B2 as well as the Required 2400 Hrs needed to complete the licence.

The School in Perth is "Air Service Training (AST)" Address for them and other approved schools in on the CAA website.

Hope this helps
jar66_b2 is offline  
Old 17th Jan 2003, 14:24   #5 (permalink)
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When using the word "Engineering", do you mean build / installation and maintenance, or do you mean design / development and testing? The routes to careers in each area are quite different. The word "Engineer" is confusingly broad in the English language.

Genghis the Engineer is online now  
Old 18th Jan 2003, 12:01   #6 (permalink)
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the replies folks. Genghis - my initial thoughts are more in line with the maintenance side of engineering, i.e. C of A 's, release to service and overhauls of light aircraft engines / airframes, etc, but with the option of further development of my skills to perhaps enable employment by a larger company to work on larger / jet aircraft. I realise there are apprenticeships to be had from (for example) Polar Air, but at 26 I think I'm probably too old for the likes of that.
Light aircraft work does appeal to me and I am aware of a significant shortage of light aircraft engineers / avionics engineers in Scotland (home), however it would be ideal to have the flexibility to do all sorts of work.
Would I be right in saying that if I sat and passed the necessary JAA exams I would be able to carry out work straight away, or is there a minimum no of hours of work required before the granting of licences ? effectively requiring me to be employed by a maintenance organisation to be able to achieve this ?
(I am just off to the CAA website to have a brouse and find answers !)

Thanks again

Geordie is offline  
Old 18th Jan 2003, 21:41   #7 (permalink)
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In that case, I agree entirely with the advice already given.

You could do worse than also have a look on the careers advice section of the Royal Aeronautical Society website at www.raes.org.uk which has a lot of independent downloadable advice on pretty much every variation on an aeronautical career that you might imagine.

Genghis the Engineer is online now  
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