Want To Get Into Aerospace?

NDT Technicians, or those new to the industry: want to get into the aerospace sector but not sure how?

Although it was on its knees, aerospace is taking off again (excuse the pun) and resuming its growth in OEM (manufacturers) and MRO facilities (maintenance, repair and overhaul) around the world. I've put together a little technical guide for those who are interested, and it goes as follows:

Where to target your training

Most aircraft fuselage and flying control surfaces are now made of composite materials (CFRP). There is a real shortage of Ultrasonic and Radiography (UT & RT) technicians who understand how composite parts are manufactured and thus what faults may be inherent during manufacture and in service use. So, I would recommend getting into this area. This would also be a springboard into Formula 1.

Who should you approach?

To gain a position to build experience hours and thus certification, you might want to approach aviation companies in your region. You should be able to find a list of those NDT organisations that are affiliated to the UK's National Aerospace NDT Board or the BINDT.

Here's a list of those companies registered with BINDT – a good resource for finding companies to approach.

There are a few websites that I would direct you to that will give you a flavour of NDT in general and, latterly, the aerospace sector:

The British Institute of NDT manages Personal Certification for NDT (PCN Aero). AIT and International School of Aerospace NDT are one of a few aerospace specific NDT training schools in the UK. I recommend that you talk to one of them about your options for the aerospace sector.

What certification do you need?

PCN (Aero) certification is available, but most OEMs and MROs will require certification in accordance with EN4179 or NAS410. This is an in-house certification scheme (as opposed to the centrally organised PCN and ASNT).

Training and examination will have to be undertaken to satisfy those schemes for them to able to authorise you to work (in accordance with their customer requirements and their Written Practice).

I hope the above helps as a starting point. What's been your experience of getting into aerospace NDT? Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

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