Electronics Technician (Aviation)

As an Electronics Technician you will have the opportunity to work with modern electronic systems fitted to military aircraft. You will carry out all aspects of equipment installation, testing, trouble shooting, maintenance and repair. Whether you’re finding and repairing faults in aircraft on operations overseas, or working with our specialist equipment at maintenance facilities on base, being an Electronics Technician is an exciting and challenging role.

As an Electronics Technician you will work with an operational flying Squadron, conducting squadron and maintenance bay duties.  As you advance through your career and get promoted there are greater and more varied opportunities for employment within the Air Force.


RNZAF flying squadrons are the focus of aircraft operations and, as part of a ground crew, you will be responsible for aircraft maintenance, fault finding, and receiving and dispatching aircraft for flying tasks. Maintenance duties include the installation and removal of components, and conducting the operational checks to ensure that aircraft systems are fully serviceable.

You will also complete routine maintenance when an aircraft reaches a prescribed number of flying hours. Before the aircraft can fly again it must be stripped down, inspected, repaired, rebuilt and tested. The technology used in the aviation industry is ever changing and you’ll be required to operate a wide range of test equipment. This includes computer software to assist with maintenance checks, ground running of aircraft avionic systems and the rectification of avionic, software and network faults.


When not working with a squadron, Electronics Technicians work in the specialised maintenance bays. Where aircraft component faults cannot be fixed during maintenance on the squadrons, they will be removed from the aircraft and sent to the maintenance bays for repair.  In the maintenance bay avionic components are tested, repaired and returned to service to meet flying squadron demands. This also includes the inspection of components returning from overseas repair, loading of software and as necessary, the development of new systems or equipment for testing electronic components.

When squadron aircraft deploy overseas for routine flights, peacekeeping, disaster relief or military operations, Electronic Technicians are part of the attached maintenance team to service and repair the aircraft. You may be responsible for ensuring all the correct tools and spare parts are brought along on the deployment, setting up a computer network for computerised maintenance recording at the deployed location, and liaising with foreign military or civilian personnel for equipment to support maintenance tasks. Operational environments can be widely varied providing new challenges on every deployment.

Following basic training you will complete courses covering working in the aeronautical environment and providing you with basic trade skills. After these initial training courses, you will be posted to one of the other Air Force bases to practise these skills for 18-24 months. Once you have gained some practical experience you will return to Woodbourne for advanced trade training that will fully qualify you as an Electronics Technician, and you will be posted to a Squadron.

As you gain experience you will be promoted and given greater responsibilities regarding management of aircraft maintenance and associated equipment, and personnel. Duties can include leading personnel, supervising teams performing repair work, instruction of junior technicians, technical administration and engineering design roles. You will receive leadership and management training as required to perform your duties effectively.

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.

While undertaking initial Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit (see attached pay table). On completion of  your Recruit Course you will be paid as an Aircraftsman and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.

  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.

You must have achieved NCEA level 2 with a minimum of 12 credits in level 2 Science.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you will be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim) for your Recruit Course. Here you will do 12 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air Force, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid, and Search and Rescue Techniques
  • Physical Fitness
  • Teamwork and Self Discipline


(17 Weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim)
Following Recruit Course you will attend the Aeronautical Engineering Fundamentals Course covering:

  • Personal Qualities and Attitudinal Expectations in the Aviation Workplace
  • Aviation Workplace Safety
  • Aeronautical Engineering Trade Science and Administration
  • Aeronautical Engineering Tooling and Processes
  • Aeronautical Components/Systems, and
  • Maintenance Practices

This course is a requirement for all technical trades within the RNZAF and sets you up well for a successful career.


(50 Weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne
On completion of the Aeronautical Engineering Course you will begin trade training which covers:

  • Electrical theory
  • Trade practices
  • Basic electrical system operation

Following the theoretical work you will apply these skills practically, practicing on a variety of aircraft. Completion of this course contributes significantly towards a NZQA accredited national certificate in aircraft servicing, level 2.


(12 Weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne
The Electronics Technician Course builds on your trade knowledge and involves more practical training across a range of competencies to fully qualify you as an Electronics Technician.

After this course you will be posted to a Squadron and you’ll develop your skills on a particular aircraft.

With the foundation laid during your primary and advanced trade training, a large variety of post graduate training and experiential opportunities exist, providing a wide scope of professional development opportunities. This includes specialisation training in technologies or aircraft systems, and generalist training where you can advance your knowledge in other technical or non-technical areas.

Specialist technical training depends on where you go with your career, and can include aircraft replacement/upgrade project roles, avionic research, design and development roles, specialist technology (such as E3, software & technical support) roles, instructor roles and technical management roles.

Non-technical training can include Defence Force management and leadership training and sponsored external training through NZ universities or polytechnics.

You can expect to rotate through postings at RNZAF Bases Auckland (Whenuapai), Woodbourne (near Blenheim) and Ohakea (near Palmerston North).