In military aviation employment you are involved with aircraft that are designed for military purposes and there are several types of military aircraft depending on their purpose or characteristics:
• Fighter aircraft – these are usually built for speed so as to be able to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft and at the same time evade destruction;
• Bombers – these are usually larger and slower than fighters and primarily used for destroying large strategic ground targets;
• Ground attack aircraft – these are usually small aircraft, and some are propeller driven, specifically designed to destroy tactical ground targets;
• Surveillance aircraft – for reconnaissance or spying, and armed with photographic and other surveillance equipment rather than weapons, this was the first military application of aircraft;
• Cargo aircraft – used to transport personnel, equipment, and even heavy armored vehicles;
• Helicopters – commonly used as small tactical transports but some are specially designed for ground support and some that can be used for both;
• Drones – mostly developed just recently, these are unmanned aircraft currently used either for ground support or surveillance but in the future may also be used in the fighter or bomber capacity, which could greatly reduce the risk for military fighter and bomber pilots.
A civil aviation job works with aircraft that are used for non-military purposes and is sub-divided into 2 branches:
• Air Transport – the kind of aviation most people are familiar with. Scheduled transit by aircraft where passengers pay a fee to go from one place to another and range from medium sized piston-engine aircraft carrying not more than 20 passengers to large jumbo jets capable of carrying more than 800 hundred people such as the A-380 1-class. These aircraft also carry cargo aside from passengers but there are also aircraft solely used as civil cargo planes.
• General Aviation – all civil flying which is non-scheduled can be private or commercial. These include business flights, chartered aircraft, flight training, gliding, parachuting, ballooning, aerial photography, air ambulance, traffic reporting, crop dusting, forest fire fighting, and police air patrols.
There is a wide range of aviation jobs which can be classified into 3 groups:
• The design, development and production workers – this is where the aviation industry begins and here we include everyone involved in the manufacture of aircraft from the designers to the assembly line workers.
• The ground crew – this includes all workers in an airport, airbase or aircraft maintenance facility involved in maintaining the airworthiness of airplanes. Most of these are specially trained ground personnel and aircraft engineers.
• The flight crew – this are the glamorous aviation jobs and includes the most vital crew member of all, the pilot and below him, in most common modern jet passenger airlines are the co-pilot or first officer, the flight engineer and the stewards/stewardess.
Aspirants for the various types of aviation job that need some technical knowledge have to undergo specialized training which is specifically designed for that particular job like the flight engineers or aircraft maintenance engineers. Others who are in jobs that do not require much technical expertise only need to have at least a high school diploma but may also need to undergo vocational or on the job training, like the stewards and assembly line workers. As for the pilots, many learn flying while in the military but pilots graduating from FAA certified civilian flying schools are increasing. All salaried pilots flying aircraft to transport passengers or cargo are required to have commercial pilot’s license and depending on the aircraft type, new airline pilots usually start out as flight engineers or first officers.
Aviation career outlook is good and expected to grow by 12 percent in the period 2008 to 2018 which is near the average for all occupations. The best opportunities when you are just starting out are in regional and budget airlines because the major airlines usually prefer personnel who are tested and proven and therefore usually must have extensive experience and with that extensive knowledge. Among pilots, military pilots usually have an edge over non-military trained pilots because they usually have more flight experience.
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