Day in a life of RAF Aircraft Technician (Mechanical)?

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strangepath
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What's life like as a technician in the RAF? Do you get to travel the world? Do you fix aircrafts all day long or get to go mountain climbing and skiing from time to time? Do you get to learn any survival skills? What else should I know before joining the RAF as a technician (mechanical)?

And do you get weekends off? Thanks.
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ryan9900
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Hi mate,

I've been in 4 years (joined up 4 years ago today actually!) and I'm now a fully qualified mechanical aircraft technician. One thing about the techie world is it's a fair bit different to the rest of the RAF. It's usually very busy but more informal which I personally like. Your questions included a few different topics so I'll do my best to answer all of them.

1. What is life like as an aircraft technician?

Busy. I work on typhoons on an operational squadron which means we are constantly supporting operations overseas and here in the UK as part of our commitment to provide Quick Reaction Alert. Most days, you go to work and your managers will brief the team regarding which aircraft have work on them and who is assigned to each task. There is usually enough work to keep you busy throughout the day and in a way, you're managing your own schedule and the management will leave you alone and let you get on with it. You usually work in 2 or 3 person teams (One cpl, one/two SACs).

2. Do you get to travel the world?

Yes. Some aircraft travel more than others and some squadrons go away more than others but the bottom line is, yes you get to travel. I've missed most of my squadrons detachments over the last few years but that's purely down to personal reasons and nothing to do with the RAF. There has been plenty of opportunities to travel to Las Vegas, Virginia, Turkey, Cyprus, Abu Dhabi etc.

3. Do you fix aircraft all day long?

Well, in a perfect world, they wouldn't need fixing all day long! But in short - yep. As I said, we are given the days tasks in the morning and then other jobs might arise throughout the day so we deal with the work as and when we get it. A lot of time is spent preparing for the job, so finding the necessary equipment, tools etc takes up a lot of time. The less glamarous side of the job is completing the documentation/paperwork. Thankfully, this is all electronic on Typhoon but we still have to be extremely careful that we sign for the right jobs and we undertake a lot of training to ensure mistakes are mitigated.

4. Do you get to go mountain climbing and skiing and learn survival skills?

There are LOADS of opportunities to do adventurous training. The RAF have something called the 'Eagles scheme' and theres are annual events which cater for lots of different sports and outdoor pursuits. A couple that spring to mind are 'Soaring Eagle' which is a week-long gliding course and 'Snow Eagle' which is skiing. There are loads of others which include bushcraft, nordic skiing, kayaking and mountain climbing. You are encouraged to do these things and getting time off to do them is usually no problem at all. They're also very cheap!

5. What else should I know?

Nothing. The training is incredibly comprehensive and it's all geared towards people who have never done anything technical. The best thing you can do is be very good at absorbing a lot of information and being comfortable with a lot of theory work. A vast majority of the training is theoretical but once you're qualified and doing the actual job, it's pretty much all practical which is good. Never be afraid to ask questions, though. If you're unsure of anything - ask. The whole of the RAF is geared towards being safe but as technicians, everything we do is safety critical. A stupid question is better than a stupid mistake.

If you have any more questions, let me know. If not, good luck!
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strangepath
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Hello Ryan,

Thank you for taking your time to answer my questions. I really appreciate it. I am actually an aicraft line mechanic for a major airline, been working here for 3 years (this month will be 3 years). 3 years I have been working here but not a single training course about aircrafts. You are signing paperworks after paperworks and sometimes you sign paperwork of someone else worked on. It's a *****y work culture here. You learn nothing here and my boss expects me to know everything. WTF? Sorry for the small rant. :stupid:

I would go on and on why I dislike working here but I don't want to bore you. I am a huge aircraft enthusiast and also like to get my hands dirty. This is why I wanted to become a mechanic. I wanted to know if the work life will be same in RAF. I wanted to know if RAF is really how they advertise 'NO ORDINARY JOB'.

I am UK citizen and although I don't meet the residency requirement I hope to join RAF someday. Thanks again and if I have questions I will ask you for your help. :thumbsup:
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ColourOfAsh
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(Original post by strangepath)
Hello Ryan,

Thank you for taking your time to answer my questions. I really appreciate it. I am actually an aicraft line mechanic for a major airline, been working here for 3 years (this month will be 3 years). 3 years I have been working here but not a single training course about aircrafts. You are signing paperworks after paperworks and sometimes you sign paperwork of someone else worked on. It's a *****y work culture here. You learn nothing here and my boss expects me to know everything. WTF? Sorry for the small rant. :stupid:

I would go on and on why I dislike working here but I don't want to bore you. I am a huge aircraft enthusiast and also like to get my hands dirty. This is why I wanted to become a mechanic. I wanted to know if the work life will be same in RAF. I wanted to know if RAF is really how they advertise 'NO ORDINARY JOB'.

I am UK citizen and although I don't meet the residency requirement I hope to join RAF someday. Thanks again and if I have questions I will ask you for your help. :thumbsup:
Hey, just about your last part of the residency requirements, I believe that they just removed that! But also if you've been here for three years your application would be considered anyway
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Drewski
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(Original post by ColourOfAsh)
Hey, just about your last part of the residency requirements, I believe that they just removed that! But also if you've been here for three years your application would be considered anyway
RAF makes everyone do the SC clearance before they can join, which requires a bit more in terms of residency. The Army is more relaxed.
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ryan9900
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(Original post by strangepath)
Hello Ryan,

Thank you for taking your time to answer my questions. I really appreciate it. I am actually an aicraft line mechanic for a major airline, been working here for 3 years (this month will be 3 years). 3 years I have been working here but not a single training course about aircrafts. You are signing paperworks after paperworks and sometimes you sign paperwork of someone else worked on. It's a *****y work culture here. You learn nothing here and my boss expects me to know everything. WTF? Sorry for the small rant. :stupid:

I would go on and on why I dislike working here but I don't want to bore you. I am a huge aircraft enthusiast and also like to get my hands dirty. This is why I wanted to become a mechanic. I wanted to know if the work life will be same in RAF. I wanted to know if RAF is really how they advertise 'NO ORDINARY JOB'.

I am UK citizen and although I don't meet the residency requirement I hope to join RAF someday. Thanks again and if I have questions I will ask you for your help. :thumbsup:
Doesn't sound like the best place to be working!

I'm not going to lie, it's not always great working as a technician in the RAF. Morale is not exactly high all of the time and this is due to high work demands with decreasing amounts of resources.

The people who struggle the most working in the RAF are the ones that just go to work and then go home and don't take advantage of all the benefits such as sport, adventurous training, extra qualifications. I haven't been able to travel as much as I'd like but I was awarded a flying scholarship after being in the service for about 10 months. I've almost got my private pilots license now and most of it was funded for me, meaning I've saved thousands. Nowhere else is going to give you an opportunity like that so while the RAF may not always be as impressive as you see on the 'No Ordinary Job' adverts, it's still above and beyond anything else you can do. I haven't once regretted joining up and I'd encourage others to give it a go if you're interested.
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strangepath
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(Original post by ryan9900)
Doesn't sound like the best place to be working!

I'm not going to lie, it's not always great working as a technician in the RAF. Morale is not exactly high all of the time and this is due to high work demands with decreasing amounts of resources.

The people who struggle the most working in the RAF are the ones that just go to work and then go home and don't take advantage of all the benefits such as sport, adventurous training, extra qualifications. I haven't been able to travel as much as I'd like but I was awarded a flying scholarship after being in the service for about 10 months. I've almost got my private pilots license now and most of it was funded for me, meaning I've saved thousands. Nowhere else is going to give you an opportunity like that so while the RAF may not always be as impressive as you see on the 'No Ordinary Job' adverts, it's still above and beyond anything else you can do. I haven't once regretted joining up and I'd encourage others to give it a go if you're interested.
You are right there is no such thing as perfect job. I have asked my manager multiple times to give me more practical training and theory courses but they just give nonsense excuses about classroom being full. I want to get more practical trainings and classes which I believe RAF provides.

May I ask how old are you? And is the flying scholarship for military aircrafts? That is an awesome opportunity given to you. Wish you all the best. :thumbsup:
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Greeno44
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Hello!

I think Ryan has summed it up perfectly (but heres my two cents) And also Ryan if I'm thinking correctly here as you mentioned you were awarded a flying scholarship, I keep getting emails which are intended for you!

I've been in the RAF for 7 years now, I'm also an Mechanical Technician. I'll be leaving in April to go to uni full time in September, so a complete career change for me! I've spent my whole career (apart from training) on Tornado, an ageing aircraft, so for me and my squadron the work is non-stop whether that's home or abroad.

I haven't been on an Eagle Scheme, but i know loads of people who have and they run all the time so it's just a case of getting line managers approval and applying. I have however been on a different kind of expedition where I spent 2 weeks canoeing down the Petawawa River in Canada. I have travelled the world, What you put into the RAF is what you will get out. If you're seen to be a hard worker and part of the team, you will get selected for the better detachments, but trust me you'll have some crappy ones thrown in too.
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strangepath
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(Original post by Greeno44)
Hello!

I think Ryan has summed it up perfectly (but heres my two cents) And also Ryan if I'm thinking correctly here as you mentioned you were awarded a flying scholarship, I keep getting emails which are intended for you!

I've been in the RAF for 7 years now, I'm also an Mechanical Technician. I'll be leaving in April to go to uni full time in September, so a complete career change for me! I've spent my whole career (apart from training) on Tornado, an ageing aircraft, so for me and my squadron the work is non-stop whether that's home or abroad.

I haven't been on an Eagle Scheme, but i know loads of people who have and they run all the time so it's just a case of getting line managers approval and applying. I have however been on a different kind of expedition where I spent 2 weeks canoeing down the Petawawa River in Canada. I have travelled the world, What you put into the RAF is what you will get out. If you're seen to be a hard worker and part of the team, you will get selected for the better detachments, but trust me you'll have some crappy ones thrown in too.
I am thankful for your advice. I believe I am a hard worker with good work ethic. However, working at this company has made me dull and my mental health progressively worse. So I want to join the RAF for their apprenticeship and chance to travel the world. And wish you all the best for university and career.
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Daynaben
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Hi, Can I ask do you think 16yrs is to young to join the raf as a technician?

(Original post by strangepath)
Hello Ryan,

Thank you for taking your time to answer my questions. I really appreciate it. I am actually an aicraft line mechanic for a major airline, been working here for 3 years (this month will be 3 years). 3 years I have been working here but not a single training course about aircrafts. You are signing paperworks after paperworks and sometimes you sign paperwork of someone else worked on. It's a *****y work culture here. You learn nothing here and my boss expects me to know everything. WTF? Sorry for the small rant. :stupid:

I would go on and on why I dislike working here but I don't want to bore you. I am a huge aircraft enthusiast and also like to get my hands dirty. This is why I wanted to become a mechanic. I wanted to know if the work life will be same in RAF. I wanted to know if RAF is really how they advertise 'NO ORDINARY JOB'.

I am UK citizen and although I don't meet the residency requirement I hope to join RAF someday. Thanks again and if I have questions I will ask you for your help. :thumbsup:
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ryan9900
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Nope, it's not. If you are eligible - go for it. I was a AMM with a guy who was 17 and he got on just as well as the rest of us, if not better in some cases.
(Original post by Daynaben)
Hi, Can I ask do you think 16yrs is to young to join the raf as a technician?
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hkay000
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Do aircraft technicians get sent to theatre?
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AlphaTango
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Yes, to as far forward as the aircraft go - routinely. Occasionally an out of trade role may put you anywhere in the world.
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hkay000
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(Original post by ryan9900)
Hi mate,

I've been in 4 years (joined up 4 years ago today actually!) and I'm now a fully qualified mechanical aircraft technician. One thing about the techie world is it's a fair bit different to the rest of the RAF. It's usually very busy but more informal which I personally like. Your questions included a few different topics so I'll do my best to answer all of them.

1. What is life like as an aircraft technician?

Busy. I work on typhoons on an operational squadron which means we are constantly supporting operations overseas and here in the UK as part of our commitment to provide Quick Reaction Alert. Most days, you go to work and your managers will brief the team regarding which aircraft have work on them and who is assigned to each task. There is usually enough work to keep you busy throughout the day and in a way, you're managing your own schedule and the management will leave you alone and let you get on with it. You usually work in 2 or 3 person teams (One cpl, one/two SACs).

2. Do you get to travel the world?

Yes. Some aircraft travel more than others and some squadrons go away more than others but the bottom line is, yes you get to travel. I've missed most of my squadrons detachments over the last few years but that's purely down to personal reasons and nothing to do with the RAF. There has been plenty of opportunities to travel to Las Vegas, Virginia, Turkey, Cyprus, Abu Dhabi etc.

3. Do you fix aircraft all day long?

Well, in a perfect world, they wouldn't need fixing all day long! But in short - yep. As I said, we are given the days tasks in the morning and then other jobs might arise throughout the day so we deal with the work as and when we get it. A lot of time is spent preparing for the job, so finding the necessary equipment, tools etc takes up a lot of time. The less glamarous side of the job is completing the documentation/paperwork. Thankfully, this is all electronic on Typhoon but we still have to be extremely careful that we sign for the right jobs and we undertake a lot of training to ensure mistakes are mitigated.

4. Do you get to go mountain climbing and skiing and learn survival skills?

There are LOADS of opportunities to do adventurous training. The RAF have something called the 'Eagles scheme' and theres are annual events which cater for lots of different sports and outdoor pursuits. A couple that spring to mind are 'Soaring Eagle' which is a week-long gliding course and 'Snow Eagle' which is skiing. There are loads of others which include bushcraft, nordic skiing, kayaking and mountain climbing. You are encouraged to do these things and getting time off to do them is usually no problem at all. They're also very cheap!

5. What else should I know?

Nothing. The training is incredibly comprehensive and it's all geared towards people who have never done anything technical. The best thing you can do is be very good at absorbing a lot of information and being comfortable with a lot of theory work. A vast majority of the training is theoretical but once you're qualified and doing the actual job, it's pretty much all practical which is good. Never be afraid to ask questions, though. If you're unsure of anything - ask. The whole of the RAF is geared towards being safe but as technicians, everything we do is safety critical. A stupid question is better than a stupid mistake.

If you have any more questions, let me know. If not, good luck!
what type of jobs can you do after leaving the RAF as a aircaft technician, because i was wondering if i could complete the Aircaft technician course in the RAF and stay there for the 12 years then join a commercial airline like british airways as a aircraft engineer, is that possible?
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RAF_Adam
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(Original post by hkay000)
what type of jobs can you do after leaving the RAF as a aircaft technician, because i was wondering if i could complete the Aircaft technician course in the RAF and stay there for the 12 years then join a commercial airline like british airways as a aircraft engineer, is that possible?
Hi

Yes, you can. But the type of aircraft you'll work on in the RAF may not be the type of aircraft you'll work on in civilian aviation. Unless you're posted to the Voyager fleet, for example. But there are courses and crossover.

Kind regards
Adam
RAF Recruitment
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Spoogle18
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Hi all, I have one more year left of sixth form and then I can’t wait to join then RAF and this chat has really answered many questions for me. I just wanted to know once you’ve completed your training can you choose which aircraft you want to work on or are you just assigned an aircraft. If so can you changed it later on down the line. Thanks
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RAF_Adam
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(Original post by Spoogle18)
Hi all, I have one more year left of sixth form and then I can’t wait to join then RAF and this chat has really answered many questions for me. I just wanted to know once you’ve completed your training can you choose which aircraft you want to work on or are you just assigned an aircraft. If so can you changed it later on down the line. Thanks
Hi

It will be down to RAF requirements at the time. However, you'll be posted to different stations during your career, so you're likely to work on different types of aircraft during your time in service.

Kind regards
Adam
RAF Recruitment
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Logan_Molyneux
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Hi, I've not longed turned 16 myself and have applied as a vehicle technician apprentice. But im the type of person who wants to know what im doing before i do it. My main questions are, What is the fitness training like?, what is the posting like?, whats the sleeping arrangments like? and do i have to compete in the added free sporting competitions as im not sporty i just want to fix vehicles and do my part, not play sports. dont get me wrong im fit just not sport inclined.

EDIT: also can i take my motorbike? being 16 obvisouly has its drivers license limitations and that would be my most common mode of transport home when i have weekends off, if i get weekends off.
Last edited by Logan_Molyneux; 1 week ago
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Surnia
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(Original post by Logan_Molyneux)
Hi, I've not longed turned 16 myself and have applied as a vehicle technician apprentice. But im the type of person who wants to know what im doing before i do it. My main questions are, What is the fitness training like?, what is the posting like?, whats the sleeping arrangments like? and do i have to compete in the added free sporting competitions as im not sporty i just want to fix vehicles and do my part, not play sports. dont get me wrong im fit just not sport inclined.

EDIT: also can i take my motorbike? being 16 obvisouly has its drivers license limitations and that would be my most common mode of transport home when i have weekends off, if i get weekends off.
You are responsible for your own fitness training and must ensure you pass the Annual Fitness Test. You don't have to join in sports, though some sections may organise their own events to promote team bonding, and they may want people to participate as stations may have an inter-departmental competition with a mix of serious and fun sports (the CO's Cup, if they're still going) and trust me, best not to say no to that as the rivalry can be fierce.

Sleeping arrangements will be anything from shared rooms during training to a single-man room on base when doing your job. A lot further down the line you may make your own arrangements if you wish.

Yes, you can take your motorbike.

Time off depends on what you are doing. Weekends can be limited during basic training, it's more relaxed during Phase 2 and after that it depends on the job.

What is a posting like? That is too vague to answer. Narrow it down.
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Logan_Molyneux
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(Original post by Surnia)
You are responsible for your own fitness training and must ensure you pass the Annual Fitness Test. You don't have to join in sports, though some sections may organise their own events to promote team bonding, and they may want people to participate as stations may have an inter-departmental competition with a mix of serious and fun sports (the CO's Cup, if they're still going) and trust me, best not to say no to that as the rivalry can be fierce.

Sleeping arrangements will be anything from shared rooms during training to a single-man room on base when doing your job. A lot further down the line you may make your own arrangements if you wish.

Yes, you can take your motorbike.

Time off depends on what you are doing. Weekends can be limited during basic training, it's more relaxed during Phase 2 and after that it depends on the job.

What is a posting like? That is too vague to answer. Narrow it down.
Thank you for your swift reply.

The job I will be doing is vehicle mechanic.

When i say what is posting like, i mean once on the job do i go from base to base or as a under 18 do i stay in country base to base etc.
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