The military uses aircraft of all types and sizes to conduct combat and intelligence missions, rescue personnel, transport troops and equipment, and perform long-range bombing missions. Air crew members operate equipment on board aircraft during operations. They normally specialize by type of aircraft, such as bomber, intelligence, transport, or search and rescue.
What They Do
Air crew members in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
- Operate aircraft communication and radar equipment
- Operate and maintain aircraft defensive gunnery systems
- Operate helicopter hoists to lift equipment and personnel from land and sea
- Operate and maintain aircraft in-flight refueling systems
- Maintain flight operations equipment
- Perform aircraft maintenance, weight and balance calculations
- Analyze and classify data
- Safeguard classified materials
Helpful school subjects include mathematics and mechanics. Helpful attributes include:
- Ability to work as a team member
- Ability to work under stress
- Interest in flying
- Ability to work with mechanical and electrical systems
Job training consists of classroom instruction, including practical experience in aircraft systems operation and maintenance. Further training occurs on the job through actual flying time. There are additional courses covering air crew survival, scuba diving, parachuting, aircraft maneuvering, and combat crew training.
Course content varies by specialty and may include:
- Operation of aircraft gunnery systems
- Operation of aircraft in-flight refueling systems
- Cargo, munitions, and fuel load planning
- Rescue and recovery operations
Air crew members work inside all sizes and types of aircraft based on land or aboard ships. They fly in all types of weather and in both hot and cold climates.
There are no direct civilian equivalents to military air crew members. However, some of the skills gained in the military could be useful in civilian government and private agencies that provide emergency medical services. Also, weight and load computation skills are useful for civilian air transport operations.