Is a Flight Simulator Technician job in your future? It may be. Worldwide, there are thousands of flight simulator technicians employed today, and more technicians are needed for this rapidly growing sector.
Trends and Salaries
Because of the current aviation sector underemployment more technicians are needed, and it shows. A jobs website alone has 114 jobs openings today. Where are they coming from? All over the industry, from large companies like CAE, to airlines such as Delta to flight schools and university colleges globally.
What’s the pay? In the US, technicians are paid an average of $61,228/year. We suspect that that number will trend higher soon. Issues such as the recent (February 4) tentative agreement reached by Southwest Airlines with the Teamsters on a new collective bargaining agreement for carrier’s flight simulator technicians means that there is leveraging power in the profession importance to the industry. The airline’s flight simulator techs provide maintenance and engineering support for the equipment at the company’s flight training center. Salaries seem to depend on location, size of the hiring company and (as always) experience.
Another site updated to mid-2018 reports that a “Flight Simulator Technician earns an average of $71,810, ranging from $63,049 at the 25th percentile to $79,427 at the 75th percentile, with top earners (the top 10%) earning more than $88,124. Compensation is derived from 23 profiles, including base salary, equity and bonus.”
We looked around at some job descriptions and terms of reference for these jobs and we found a very broad range, spanning from supervisory positions to roles that include maintenance and even flight training with some technical functions.
A few examples from around the web:
The Flight Simulator Technician is responsible for repairing and monitoring a variety of simulator specific computer, hydraulic, and visual systems. Technician must be able to troubleshoot electronic equipment to the component level. Technician must have the ability to return to service all simulator equipment, using a broad knowledge gained from job experience. Position requires strong communication and interpersonal skills. Will train qualified applicants. Qualifications: Electrical Engineering or Electrical Engineering Technology; or Minimum of two (2) years experience in flight simulation maintenance.
From Delta Airlines:
Performs maintenance functions of full flight simulators, flight training devices, cockpit procedure trainers, and associated support devices in order to meet pilot training, maintenance training, and FAA regulatory requirements. Corrects identified discrepancies by troubleshooting electronic, hydraulic, visual, pneumatic, and mechanical systems. Installs, replaces, cleans, repairs, and services various equipment including visual generation/display systems, computer networks, motion systems, electronic circuit boards, computers, and circuits. Qualifications: Requires the ability to troubleshoot and repair electronic circuits, computers, computer networks, visual generation/display systems, hydraulic systems, input/output systems, pneumatics, mechanical, and flight instrumentation.
From CAE (Honolulu):
In this role, the Simulator Technician II will be expected to perform complex but standard technical tasks including preventative and corrective maintenance work in office, on site, and in the field and may execute some design work. Qualifications: 2-year technical degree or equivalent related training. Minimum of 3 years direct simulator experience with at least 1 year relative simulator experience per assigned location. Ability to troubleshoot to system level on at least multiple types of simulators.
From FlightSafety International: Apprentice Simulator Technician. Must be able to read and interpret technical drawings, use test equipment, support equipment and tools used on flight simulators, graphical flight simulators (GFSs) and associated electronics devices. Associate’s degree in electronics from college or completion of an electronics technical school preferred; or a combination of three (3) years’ education and experience, including electronics technology, avionics or related civilian/military technology or equivalent direct experience with simulators or other FTDs.
The industry is growing at a rapid pace. The Dept of Labor statistics signal an increase in employment for aerospace technicians till 2026 of about 7% a year (total number) with a per-year percentile likely higher due to attrition. For those who have the required education and skills this is a great field that shows security and opportunity for growth for the foreseeable future.