Aviation is your passion for sure, and you always enjoy flying or controlling online on IVAO. But have you ever considered making it your lifetime job? Perhaps as a pilot, but why not as a technician, an air traffic controller or a flight attendant? Focus on a few jobs that are available for you in Belgium and Luxembourg
When we speak about aviation, the one job that always comes out is "pilot". And obviously it is certainly one of the most exciting jobs where you have the opportunity to enjoy the sun every single day at 35 000 feet. But it is not the only job that you can do in aviation.
Pilot, but where?
Let's start anyway with that job. The most common way is to register in a flying school and do your whole ATPL course. Quite expensive of course, so you will either need quite a lot of money available or a bank that would loan you the needed amount. At the end, you might be proposed contracts in various airlines, depending on your results (and a bit of luck).
But you can also consider the military way. At the Belgian Air Component, there are two possibilities:
- career officer: long-term engagement (until 56 years old) as officer, knowledge of French, Dutch AND English is required (although you have some time before doing the second national language test).
- auxiliary officer: 13-year contract, you must only speak one of the national languages (French OR Dutch) and English, obviously. After 13 years, you can extend up to 16 years or switch as career officer. Or leave to the civilian world
In both cases you will face some recruitment tests, and medical expectations are very high. Once you start your training, you will fly on the Marchetti SF260 in Beauvechain, and then be oriented to F-16, helicopter or transport (C130 mainly, A400M soon). As a military pilot, you earn the normal salary of your rank (starting as Lieutenant) plus an extra salary related to your function.
Air traffic controller
The second natural choice for IVAO users is of course air traffic controller. There are mainly three places where you can apply to become an air traffic controller:
- Skeyes, the public company in charge of civilian ATC in Belgian airports and in the enroute airspace up to FL245
- Belgian Air Component (Belgian Defence), as an air traffic controller in one of our four main air bases, or at the regional control center of Semmerzake (soon to move to Skeyes HQ at Steenokkerzeel)
- Eurocontrol, at Maastricht, for upper area control
In all cases, training is provided by the employer and you get a salary from day one. Skeyes and Eurocontrol restrict applications to 25 years old. Belgian Defence allows up to 34 years old for the auxiliary officer contract (13 years contract). In all three cases, expect a rather interesting salary, but of course a stressful job with high responsibilities.
Air defence controller
If you are afraid of the routine with a job as ATC, you might consider "air defence controller". As a specialized non-commissionned officer (sous-officier/onder-officier), you will get a basic training of 1 year at the Royal School for NCOs at Saffraanberg, and then a few months of specialized training at Glons CRC (near Liège). The "air defence controller" is in charge, among others, of interception control for F-16s and other tactical manoeuvers. It can also lead you to the AWACS or other amazing missions.
Recruitement for ADC is still open until end of April and available for any candidate from the European Union with a valid secondary school degree. Except a salary from day one and a career appointment at the end of the training with an extra salary related to the function and many advantages.
Whether you are passionate about mechanics or rather electronics and avionics, there are many technical jobs around aircraft. There are several places where you can learn these jobs, like VIVES high school in Flanders or HE Condorcet in Wallonia. At Belgian Defence too, you can apply as flight mechanics, avionics or air armament. Applications up to 34 years old as career non-commissioned officer, with salary from day one and the whole training given by the Defence.
Air mission support
A job that is clearly not well-known, probably also because it only exists in the military world, is "air mission support". As an aviation specialist, you bring your skills and knowledge in order to make our air missions successful (transport, tactical...).
There are 4 possible specialities but in all cases you will be at the middle of the mission preparation, working closely with the pilots and brief them on their missions and risks.
Applications are open until end of April for people up to 34 years old. As a career non-commissioned officer you get a salary from day one and various extra advantages. One year of basic training at Saffraanberg, then between 3 and 8 months of specialized training depending on the speciality your choose.
Support operations in airports
Many jobs are available in various airports, from check-in agent to marshaller including baggage handler or dispatching operator. Best is to visit the websites of each airport to seek for vacant positions, and apply to set a foot in the world of aviation :-)
Any suggestion for an exciting aviation-related job? Feel free to comment :-)