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Ground Staff Careers in Aviation

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ground_staff_aviationThe individuals working in ground duty branch are often known as 'ground crew'. They work at airports to keep airplanes running efficiently, facilitate best services to the passengers and most importantly, they keep vigil on the safety concerns of both airport as well as airplanes.

Broadly speaking, ground crew workers perform the following tasks:

  1. Fill the fuel tanks
  2. Load and unload cargo on the aircraft Direct planes to taxi positions Provide other aircraft support services Ensure safety by checking the luggage as well as passengers boarding or alighting from the airplane. Providing world class comforts to the passengers so as to stay ahead of their competitors.
  3. Provide help as well as emotional support to the passengers in case of emergency or any hauling situation such as , flight delay or terrorist attack.
  4. Providing catering items and assisting flight crew in handling and maintenance of catering material such as, loading and unloading containers of food, beverages and dishes for in-flight meals
  5. De-icing, preheating, and towing aircraft also comes under the task profile of ground crew. Performing routine maintenance and helping mechanics to carry out repairs of plane equipments or even a minor item that is used rarely in flight.
  6. Some ground crew workers are also involved in operating fork-lifting, handling trucks, dollies, conveyors, and driving vehicles around the airport. Ground crew help passengers find lost luggage. They also keep track of the freight volume and weight and record the various things and make proper calculations that are necessary for the government's data and airline's records.

Air Traffic Controlling Unit

Individuals who operate the air traffic control system to expedite and maintain a safe and orderly flow of air traffic, are popularly known as air traffic controllers. In other words, air traffic control system is a vast network of people and equipment that ensures the safe operation of an aircraft. Their job is not only to enable the aircraft to move efficiently through airspace and controlling the aircraft in the sky, but also to prevent the problems arising due to bad weather conditions and movement of wind.

How Controlling unit functions

Let's understand the whole procedure right from the arrival of the plane to its departure. Controlling units work begins the moment plane arrives at the airport. As the airplane approaches the airport, {keyword}pilot{/keyword} is immediately informed of the terminal of the plane's presence via a radio. The aerodrome controller, who is in the radar room situated beneath the control tower, has proper knowledge and information about the flight's plan and has been observing the plane on radar from its departure. Here controller performs the crucial function. First, he or she has to analyze the weather clarity and atmosphere around the airport. If the path is clear, the controller directs the pilot to the runway and if its busy, the plane is placed in a traffic pattern with other aircraft waiting to land. Controlling unit directs pilot and asks him to contact the tower by the time plane touches the runway. Another controller, who is watching the plane on radar, monitors the aircraft to cover this last distance. The controllers work : to avoid any departure or cancellation of flights. Ground controller sitting in the tower, directs the plane after it lands. properly along the taxiways, to its proposed gate.

During the whole flight, controlling unit checks the weather conditions, flight routes and other traffic related problems and directs the pilot and co-pilot accordingly. The entire responsibility of controlling traffic is one of the most complex tasks and particularly in case of emergency. To conclude, the primary task is as difficult as that of a pilot. Moreover, it is difficult to limit their work profile as sometimes they have to make quick decisions in unforeseen situations.

So far as, the departure of airplane is concerned, the whole procedure of arrival is reversed. During departure, ground controller is the first person to handle the control of the plane whereas at the time of arrival, he is the last person. His job is to direct the plane to the proper runway. Then, the local controller informs the pilot about airport conditions, like, weather condition, wind speed and direction of wind, visibility and so on. Other controllers, then issue runway clearance for the pilot to take off. Once it goes into the sky, it is guided out of the airport's airspace by the departure controller.

Despite the fact that there are so many hands involved in the control of an aircraft, all of them are named as air traffic controllers. This single term actually includes several specialists who work as air traffic controllers. Let's understand the various areas where an air traffic controller can try his/her hands:

Aerodrome Controller: Aerodrome Controller, also known as 'Tower controller', generally carries the responsibility of organizing the flow of aircraft in and out of the airport. In other words, entire control of the aircraft standing on the ground and its immediate flying lies in the hands of aerodrome controller.

Moreover, controllers keep pilots informed about changes in weather conditions such as wind shear, change in the direction of wind or a sudden change in the velocity, that can cause the pilot to lose control of the aircraft. For efficient controlling, they use variety of controlling systems, such as radar systems. These systems are located in a room with a large windows at the top of a tower. Actually, these radar systems are allowed a sector to handle much more traffic. During procedural control, they are used in many areas where traffic levels do not justify radar or the installation of radar is not feasible. In addition, controllers are also responsible for handling vehicles that help in aircraft movement and its operations.

Approach Controller: They are responsible for the safety of aircraft that approaches or departs from the airport, within the specific miles and a specific altitude, where aircraft flies. At busy airports this function will be broken down into separate tasks performed by different controllers.

Area Controller: The job of an area controller is to handle the operations and carry the responsibility of aircraft flying at high altitudes and in the routes of other flights. They are called area controller because specific group of controllers controls specific area. Like aerodrome controller, area controllers also make use of radar system. Radar systems have proved effective as these allow a sector to handle more traffic.

Flight Service Specialists: Unit of controllers that works in the flight service stations, are popularly known as flight service specialists. They provide information, like, preflight schedules, in flight weather information, suggested routes, and other relevant information to the pilots. The main function of the flight service specialist is to help the pilot in emergency situations and initiate and coordinate searches for missing or overdue aircraft.

Communication Officer: As the name suggests, their job involves routine maintenance, repair and adjustment of communications equipment at the airports. In a way, they facilitate proper communication between the pilot and air traffic control, without which an airplane can't operate. Individuals having extensive knowledge and qualifications in the area of telecommunications or in electronic or radio devices can try their hands in this kind of work.

Air Traffic Officer: Air traffic controller is an individual who not only plans and organizes the airplane control operations but also monitors catering activities. Actually, air traffic officer is the main person holding the whole responsibility for laying down the plans and organizing the other operations related to the flight operations.

Air Transportation Staff

There are number of firms specialized in the air transportation and provide domestic and foreign transportation by air. Staff offered by these companies include commercial airlines, air cargo carriers charter and commuter services, that assist in carrying passengers and freight. Some carriers operate on regularly scheduled routes, while others do not.

Air transportation staff, generally, works in shifts. Staff has to work in odds hours and normally, their shift stretched as long as 10 to 12 hours. In addition, airline only recruits those individuals who are physically and mentally fit as their job involve carrying heavy luggage and standing for long hours. Lots of physical stamina and mental soundness is required to avoid stress and strain. Let's have a look at the various areas which are being handled by air transportation staff.

Cargo Handlers: Person who delivers and supplies weapons, equipment, and mails either to the military aircraft or to the commercial aircraft, are known as Cargo Handlers. Cargo normally travels through ships, trucks, and airplanes. Cargo Handlers not only involved in movement of cargo but also involved in their proper maintenance and handling. Their job is considered one of the important jobs as it is crucial to handle the cargo carefully to ensure safe arrival at the correct destination.

In short, they load supplies into trucks, transport planes and railroad cars, by forklifts. Packing and crating boxes that are to be supplied, inspecting cargo for damage and planning and checking loads for balance and safety, also comes under the working domain of cargo handler. Moreover, structuring invoice to make sure there is an amount against each cargo and noting, as well as keeping the record of destination of the material, becomes the responsibility of cargo handler.

To become a cargo handler, one must have in depth knowledge of the operations of forklifts, power winches, and cranes including the techniques involved in loading and storing the cargo. Apart from this, they should know techniques relating to the planning, scheduling and safety of the cargo. Cargo Handlers can be promoted to the position of the team leader or supervisor of other cargo specialists and can go up to the level of warehouse manager.

Warehouse and Distribution specialist: For maintaining a large inventory of food, medicines, ammunition, spare parts and other supplies, there emerges the need to have personnel who can take care of the proper storage and distribution of these goods. The needs of the passengers or military (in the case of military aircraft) also depend upon receiving the right supplies on time. That is why, job of the warehouse and distribution specialist is considered very crucial.

Broadly speaking, warehousing and distribution specialists receive, store, record, and issue the supplies that are required by military or a commercial aircraft. In addition, they perform inventory and financial management procedures, such as ordering, receiving, storing supplies, locating and cataloging the stock. They also lay extra emphasis on the storage and maintenance of delicate items such as, medicine and ammunition, selecting the stock that is in the position of issuing, loading, unloading, and moving the stock using special tools and equipment, like, forklifts, cranes etc. Last but not the least, keeping records on incoming and outgoing stock, also become the responsibility of these specialists.

As such, no specific qualifications are required to become a warehouse and distribution specialist. However, the knowledge and experience in engineering, equipment preservation or commerce are helpful attributes. Moreover, aspirants need to have sound physical and mental health in order to appear in the training. Normal color vision is one of the most important attribute.

Baggage Handler: Airport baggage handler stores, transports, loads and unloads passengers' luggage onto and off the plane. Sometimes, they also transports cargo and catering supplies. Their main function is to operate the trucks carrying luggage, lifting equipment and belts and other necessary goods. They also ensure the weight distribution in an aircraft so as to balance it properly. Like other jobs, the job of baggage handler also demands aspirants who are mentally as well as physically fit and are able to carry and handle the baggage carefully. They should also be aware of security procedures at an airport.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 12:59