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Energy Resources & Energy Technicians: How Power is Generated

The energy industry continues to grow and diversify, and so does the demand for an educated, well-trained workforce. Technology has helped us harness new types of energy more efficiently, including natural gas, coal, oil, nuclear, water, wind, geothermal and solar energy. The task of energy technicians is to install, maintain and repair the essential electric infrastructure that powers our world.

Learn more about the various sources of energy and the roles energy technicians play in producing, storing, and distributing power.

What Do Energy Technicians Do?

Energy technicians control the energy producing systems to distribute power, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The energy technician controls power-generating equipment that may use different types of fossil fuels, including natural gas and coal. They read and report electricity flows by reading charts, meters, and gauges.

Fossil Fuels: Where Do They Come From?

Fossil fuels were formed millions of years ago before the dinosaurs roamed the earth. Hydrocarbons formed from decayed plants and animals and are converted into fossil fuels from heat exposure and pressure in the Earth’s crust. Fossil fuels provide most of the world’s energy, particularly from coal and oil. Oil is converted into gasoline which powers most of our vehicles.

How Does Water Create Electricity?

Water can create electricity from the motion of waves, the breakdown of elements to hydrogen from H2O, and through hydroelectric energy from dams. Tidal energy is produced by the rise and fall of tides where kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy. Hydrogen-based fuel, which is created by breaking apart water molecules, is also a source of power. In fact, many cars are being engineered to run on this type of fuel. We can also create electricity by harnessing the downhill flow of water to turn generators. This form of power is called hydroelectric energy.

Technicians working at hydroelectric power plants monitor power-generating equipment, read charts to measure the flow of electricity, regulate the flow of power, and inspect equipment.

Wind Turbines: How Do They Work?

Wind turns the wind turbine that includes three propeller-like blades that rotate around a rotor. The rotor is connected to the main shaft of the wind turbine and as the main shaft turns it powers a generator to produce electricity.

What Does a Wind Turbine Service Technician Do?

The wind turbine service technician installs, maintains, and repairs wind turbines. These technicians will inspect the physical integrity of the wind turbine towers, inspect and repair wind turbine equipment, test and troubleshoot turbine components, and collect turbine data for research and analysis. Employment of wind turbine service technicians is projected to grow 96 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where Does Geothermal Energy Come From?

Geothermal energy is the heat produced beneath the Earth’s surface. High temperatures are created in Earth’s crust from hot rocks that heat up the water below the Earth’s surface, causing steam to escape. Geothermal turbines capture the steam that helps power generators as they rotate, creating electricity.

What Do Geothermal Plant Operators Do?

Power plant operators work in control rooms and monitor the generation and distribution of geothermal power. They inspect equipment, keep maintenance logs, and record loads on generators, lines, and transformers.

How is Energy Harnessed from the Sun?

Solar panels turn sunlight into energy by exciting electrons in silicon cells. The loose electrons in the silicon cells are collected to form a direct current (DC). The DC power is then converted into alternating current (AC) with the help of inverters. This AC power is then used to power an individual home or flow to the electric grid.

Solar installation technicians install and maintain solar panels in commercial, residential, and industrial settings.

Does a career as an Energy Technician interest you? Want to have the power of an entire nation at your fingertips? The Energy Technology Programs from MIAT College of Technology provide the hands-on training, practical experience, and industry support it takes to pursue a rewarding technical career. Classes are interactive and led by industry professionals with years of experience working in the field. You will get personalized, hands-on instruction in whichever energy program you pursue.

MIAT’s goal is to produce graduates who are in the top echelon of initial on-the-job training due to the foundational knowledge they receive at MIAT. To learn more about Energy Technology career training and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page.

Contact us if you are interested in becoming an energy technician today.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of the students who attended this program visit the following disclosure links:

Canton:
Associate’s Degree in Energy Technology
Certificate in Energy and Industrial Technology

Houston:
Associate’s Degree in Energy Technology
Certificate in Energy and Industrial Technology

HVACR Technician: Skills of the Trade

HVAC Technician

Are you good with your hands? Do have solid mechanical and troubleshooting skills? If so, you should consider a career in HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration)!

HVACR technicians install, repair, maintain, and upgrade systems that control air temperature and quality in a variety of industrial, commercial, and residential environments. These specific environments can include medical facilities, education institutions, residential homes, multi-family complexes, government facilities, industrial complexes, stadiums, casinos, and refrigerated warehouses.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a particular set of skills necessary to be an HVACR technician. MIAT College of Technology can give you the training you need to develop these skills and be career-ready. To be an HVACR technician, you should have customer-service skills, attention to detail, mechanical skills, physical stamina and strength, time-management skills, and troubleshooting skills.

Customer Service

HVACR technicians deal with unhappy customers whose heating or air conditioning is not working, so it is important that they be friendly, polite, and punctual. HVACR technicians often work in customers’ homes or business offices and they will need to be patient, attentive, clear with communication, knowledgeable about what they are doing and use positive language. They should take the time to really listen to the customer to provide great service and get feedback on the heating and cooling products in use.

Attention to Detail

HVACR technicians have to have patience and perseverance to pursue a heating and cooling problem until it is fixed successfully. They must pay attention to the details and carefully maintain records of all work performed. When maintaining records, the HVACR technician must include the nature of the work performed, the amount of time it took, and keep a list of specific parts and equipment that were used. They will need to follow government regulations to properly handle and dispose of fluids and gases. Ultimately, the HVACR technician must have high standards of service to be efficient and be great at identifying issues with the installation, repair, maintenance and upgrade of systems.

Mechanical Skills

HVACR technicians must be comfortable with installing and working on complicated climate-control systems and they must understand the HVACR components involved to properly program, assemble, and disassemble them. They will also need to know the precise tools needed to maintain and install equipment. HVACR technicians that can work on a wide range of HVACR systems, controls, and installation methods are highly sought after.

Physical Strength & Stamina

HVACR technicians may have to lift and support heavy equipment and components. Even HVACR technicians working in a group may have large parts, equipment and objects to move. They will also need good manual dexterity to work with small parts in small spaces. Further, HVACR technicians may spend a large portion of their time walking and standing so physical stamina is important for success in the HVACR field.

Time Management

HVACR technicians frequently have a set number of daily maintenance calls that need to be completed. Limiting customer interaction is important and must be balanced with creating a positive customer experience. The HVACR technician should be able to keep a schedule and complete all necessary repairs or tasks, while also remaining organized.

Troubleshooting Skills

HVACR technicians utilize a number of different tools to perform the tasks assigned to them. However, an extremely important skillset that every technician must have includes troubleshooting, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The Basic Electricity course at MIAT College of Technology is designed to introduce students to these important troubleshooting skills. Students are given a variety of lab assignments in order to build upon these skills, and to encourage the use of their resources to draw accurate conclusions.

Do you want to develop the skills to be a successful HVACR Technician? Does a career as a HVACR Technician interest you? The HVACR Technician Program at MIAT is 9 months in length for full time students, assuming no interruption in training, and is offered at both the Michigan and Texas campuses. The training allows students to focus on their chosen field, graduating faster than it takes to earn a traditional 2 or 4-year college degree or complete a 3 to 5-year apprenticeship. To learn more about HVACR Technician career training and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page.

Contact us if you are interested in becoming an HVACR technician today!

HVACR Technician Program Gainful Employment Disclosure – Canton

HVACR Technician Program Gainful Employment Disclosure – Houston

The Energy Industry: What Career Path Is Right for You?

Roughneck and Oil Rig

Interested in becoming a power plant operator, turbine maintenance technician, millwright, hydroelectric plant technician, water treatment plant and systems operator, oil and gas technician or generator technician? Did you know that it can take as little as 7-16 months to get the skills needed for an entry-level position in the energy industry? Before you start looking for an energy technician career, lay a solid foundation by completing an energy technology program at MIAT College of Technology.

Power Plant Operator

Power plant operators work to keep the operations of power plants reliable in order for infrastructure to remain powered.  This involves the knowledge and mechanical concepts of high pressure boilers that are multiple stories high, massive gas and steam turbines engines, diesel engines, auxiliary systems, instrumentation and control systems, and extremely large generators.  We rely on our electrical infrastructure every day to keep our cell phones charged, our lights on, and to maintain our livelihood which makes this a great career opportunity.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics power plant operators typically do the following:

  • Control, operate, and maintain power generating machinery and equipment
  • Read meters and gauges to monitor and measure voltage output and electricity flows
  • Check equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems within the power plant
  • Manipulate the controls to regulate the flow of power

Turbine Maintenance Technician

Wind turbines are large mechanical devices that convert wind energy into electricity. The wind energy turbine is made up of three major components: a tower, three blades, and a nacelle, which is composed of an outer case, generator, gearbox, and brakes. Wind turbine service technicians install, maintain, and repair these wind turbines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, turbine maintenance technicians typically do the following:

  • Inspect the exterior and physical integrity of wind turbines
  • Climb wind turbine towers to inspect or repair wind energy equipment
  • Perform routine maintenance on turbines
  • Test and troubleshoot electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic components and systems
  • Replace worn or malfunctioning wind energy components
  • Collect turbine energy data for testing, research, and analysis
  • Service underground transmission systems, wind field substations, or fiber optic sensing and control systems

Employment of turbine maintenance technicians is projected to grow 96 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means a lot of career opportunities in the energy industry.

Millwrights

Millwrights work in factories, power plants and other industrial settings to install, dismantle, and move heavy machinery and equipment, based on layout plans and blueprints. They may construct foundations for machines. The millwright will assemble and install equipment. They should be able to work heavy construction and perform physical labor. The millwright should also have mechanical skills to use a wide variety of tools and lifting equipment.

Hydroelectric Plant Technician

According to O*NET and the U.S. Department of Labor, a hydroelectric plant technician monitors and controls activities associated with hydropower generation. The hydroelectric plant technician operates plant equipment, including turbines, pumps, valves, gates, fans, electric control boards, and battery banks. They will monitor equipment operation and performance and make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal performance. The hydroelectric plant technician will also perform equipment maintenance and repair as necessary.

A hydroelectric plant technician will need to be good at operation monitoring to watch gauges and dials to make sure plant equipment is working properly. They will perform routine maintenance, so good mechanical skills are important. Critical thinking is an important skill necessary for hydroelectric plant maintenance.

Water Treatment Plant and System Operators

According to O*NET and the U.S. Department of Labor, water treatment plant and system operators control an entire process of machines from a control room to transfer and treat water. Their job includes adding chemicals to disinfect and deodorize the water. The water treatment plant and system operator will monitor and inspect plant equipment to make sure it is working properly. They may also test water samples to make sure water is ready for use.

Oil and Gas Technician

Oil and gas technicians support engineers that are exploring and extracting natural resources from the Earth including oil and gas. The technician may install and maintain field equipment. The oil and gas technician will need to maintain safety standards and have knowledge of emergency procedures. They will read and interpret gauges to make sure equipment is functioning properly. The oil and gas technician may also be responsible for documenting any deviations from expected parameters.

Generator Technician

Generator technicians work in factories, power plants and other industrial settings. They must be able to lift heavy equipment and work with delicate gas engines. The generator technician will perform repairs and service on the generators. They will troubleshoot any problems or failures and identify any corrective measures that need to be taken for alternators, wiring harnesses, safety devices and battery systems.

Energy Technology Program

The Energy Technology programs at MIAT College of Technology can be completed in as few as 7-16 months. As a successful Energy Technology graduate, you will be fully prepared to pursue a wide range of careers in a variety of industries, including wind, oil, gas, and electrical power. Most entry-level energy technicians will start out as part of a team of hands-on technicians. Top performers may be promoted to team leads, supervisors, and managers. With additional training and experience, technicians can advance into roles as senior technicians, engineers, regional managers, and department executives in a short period of time.

Does a career in Energy & Industrial Technology interest you? Want to have the power of an entire nation at your fingertips? The Energy Technology Programs from MIAT College of Technology provide the hands-on training, practical experience and industry support it takes to pursue a rewarding technical career. MIAT’s goal is to produce graduates who are in the top echelon of their initial on-the-job training due to the foundational knowledge they receive at MIAT.  To learn more about Energy Technology career training and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page.

Contact us if you are interested in becoming an energy technician today.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of the students who attended this program visit the following disclosure links:

Canton:

Associate’s Degree in Energy Technology

Undergraduate Certificate in Energy and Industrial Technology

Houston:

Associate’s Degree in Energy Technology

Undergraduate Certificate in Energy and Industrial Technology

Aviation Maintenance Technician: Mastering Sheet Metal Fabrication

View of welder

Do you like working with your hands, taking things apart, and making repairs to equipment? Would you be interested in attending college if there was a program that applied all of those activities to one career field? MIAT’s Aviation Maintenance programs focus on teaching students the advanced precision skills necessary to become an FAA Certified Aviation Maintenance Technician.

Sheet metal fabrication is one of more than 40 precision technical skills MIAT graduates master during their training. In 2016, there were 132,000 Aviation Maintenance Technicians in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sheet metal fabrication is a highly sought-after skill in the aviation maintenance field.

What Do Sheet Metal Fabricators Do?

Sheet metal fabricators use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to shape, join, or cut metal parts. They also fill holes, indentations, or seams in metal products. Sheet Metal fabricators do the following on a day-to-day basis:

  • Study blueprints, sketches, or airplane specifications
  • Shape, cut, rivet, bolt, screw, solder and braze
  • Maintain fabrication equipment and machinery

Sheet Metal Fabrication

In metal shaping, sheet metal can be bent, cut, shrunk, stretched and fused.

Bending Sheet Metal – the simplest way to bend metal is with form bending. The sheet metal is bent over an edge or shape that is located under the metal. The metal brake is the most common way to make clean, precise bends in metal.

Cutting Sheet Metal – to cut sheet metal, fabricators use aviation snips, power shears, throatless shears, angle grinders, or plasma cutters.

  • Aviation snips are a manual way to cut metal
  • Power shears allow the aviation mechanic to cut sheet metal quickly and with less manual effort
  • Throatless shears help cut in straight lines or shapes in sheet metal with no marring of the cut edge
  • Angle grinders use a thin cutting disc to cut through multiple layers of sheet metal
  • Plasma cutters can cut sheet metal quickly with extreme accuracy

Shrinking Sheet Metal – a shrinker is a lever-operated tool that grasps sheet metal from the top and bottom to force it together tightly. Heat shrinking can be done with a torch and wet rag or compressed air.

Stretching Sheet Metal – the most basic way to stretch metal is with a hammer and dolly. A stretcher can be used by putting the metal between two flat-textured jaws, pulling the metal apart slowly each time the lever is pressed. An English wheel can also be used to stretch sheet metal.

Job Outlook for Aviation Maintenance Technicians

According to Boeing’s Current Market Outlook for 2016-2035, Boeing projects that the airline industry will have a need for 679,000 Aviation Maintenance Technicians over the next 20 years. Many current Aviation Maintenance Technicians will be retiring soon, creating a demand for those with the education and skills needed to replace them.

Additionally, Flying magazine stated that in 2015, “About 50,000 mechanics in the United States [were] employed by scheduled airlines and about 37,000 [worked] in general aviation, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The U.S. government also hires mechanics to maintain military aircraft domestically and overseas. Globally, airlines [employed] some 473,000 aircraft mechanics according to the Aeronautical Repair Station Association.”

Considering that there is a global need for Aviation Maintenance Technicians, the basic skills of riveting, composite structures, and digital avionics will likely be extremely valuable. Learning these skills now could provide an individual with the ability to start a rewarding career with multiple opportunities for growth.

Does sheet metal fabrication interest you? Want to learn about the professional skills needed to work in a rewarding career in the aviation industry? The Aviation Programs from MIAT College of Technology provides the hands-on training, practical experience and career support it takes to pursue a rewarding technical career.

To learn more about Aviation Programs and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us if you are interested in training to become an aviation maintenance technician today.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of the students who attended this program visit the following disclosure links:

Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology Gainful Employment Disclosure – Canton

Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology Gainful Employment Disclosure – Houston

Airframe and Powerplant Technician Program Gainful Employment Disclosure – Canton

Airframe and Powerplant Technician Program Gainful Employment Disclosure – Houston

Aviation Industry Growth Stymied by the Shortage of Aircraft Technicians

In 1968, Lee Kopeke saw that there was a shortage of trained and licensed Aircraft Technicians for local aviation companies in Michigan, so he started a school at Willow Run Airport to train technicians for the growing industry.  For almost 50 years MIAT College of Technology has been providing technicians to companies across the U.S.

During this same time, the industry was so busy growing, catering to customers’ needs, and making money, participants did not realize that the dynamics were quickly changing and external influences would begin to drain the industry of much needed talent.  Non-aviation industries started stealing these highly trained technicians to work in their own industry.  It didn’t take long for these maintenance-related industries to recognize the transferability of skills from these highly trained technicians.

To add fuel to the fire, high schools started pushing four year degrees, military personnel were staying active duty longer, television and media started influencing people to work in the entertainment industry, kids were no longer growing up on farms, and the backyard mechanic started to become a thing of the past. All these things together have created a perfect storm for the current Aircraft Technician shortage.

For several years there had been talk that there would be an Aircraft Technician shortage but it took until late 2016 for the media to pick up on it.  Up to that point companies were filling their positions by stealing from each other and hiring was in cycles so they were just keeping up.   Those days are gone and companies are now in panic mode because there are not enough current Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) students graduating out of schools to fill current or future positions.  Also, current A&P employees are expected to start retiring at alarming rates.

Because of this talent shortage, aviation and aerospace companies are all playing catch-up and putting together workforce planning teams to brainstorm every possible way to find more people to hire and to create hiring pipelines.  Major industry players are so scared they are visiting the A&P schools across the U.S. to build relationships with students and staff.   Companies are creating unique recruiting methods, visiting schools more often to build rapport with future graduates, and spending thousands of dollars on targeted marketing.

Additionally, companies are realizing that A&P schools cannot do this alone and they are offering programs and support to help get the word out about A&P technician careers.  Some companies are so frightened by the lack of qualified technicians that they are even creating marketing campaigns to take into the elementary school level to entice future aviators.

To be competitive, companies have had to increase pay scales several times in the last 12 months, add more benefits, spend more money on recruiting, hire recruiters that specifically work with A&P schools, create a social media presence, and bring back perks such as tuition assistance and relocation packages.   Many companies are also creating internships, apprenticeships, scholarships, and offering guaranteed interviews.

How long will this Aircraft Technician shortage last?  Some believe it will follow a typical seven-year cycle while others do not expect to see it stop for many years due to all the upcoming retirements and the continued expected growth of the aviation industry.

It is time to step out of our comfort zone and explore ideas on how to share this exciting and rewarding career with more youth; it needs to be on their radar at an earlier age.  There are not many careers for which you can complete training and obtain a federal certification in less than two years and have hundreds of career opportunities to choose from nationwide.

Amy Kienast is the Director Career Services at MIAT College of Technology and is a former hiring manager in the airline industry.  She also stays active in the aviation community as a Board Member of ATEC (Aviation Technician Education Council), presents nationally on aviation careers, and volunteers at numerous aviation events.  She can be reached at akienast@miat.edu.

Wind Power Technician Training Program: Tools and Skills

Portrait of two engineers posing in front of wind energy turbine farm

Are you interested in becoming a Wind Power Technician? Did you know that you can complete a Wind Power Technician training program in as little as 7 months? During the course of MIAT’s Wind Power Technician Training program, you will have the opportunity to learn about wind turbine tools. You will also develop essential professional skills necessary for a career building and maintaining wind turbines with attention to detail and safety.

Wind Turbine Technician Professional Skills

Being a wind turbine technician requires professional skill development in order to carry out projects efficiently and safely. The wind turbine technician should develop good teamworking skills, be comfortable with heights, have good communication skills, be able to follow directions, have good physical conditioning, and pay special attention to safety.

Teamwork – Many wind turbine technicians will work with a team of well-trained professionals to maintain the facilities and equipment.

Comfort with Heights – If something is not functioning properly, the technician needs to figure out the problem and resolve it. Fixing the wind turbine may involve working hundreds of feet above ground on integral parts of the wind turbines.

Communication Skills – Clear communication is important to make sure all the repairs and tests are completed and reported.

Following Directions – Wind turbine technicians maintain all parts of the turbine, change filters, and replace parts on a regular, scheduled basis. Following standard practices, regulations, and procedures is important for precision and workplace safety.

Physical Conditioning – The wind turbine technician will be working on their feet most of the day so having good physical conditioning is essential.

Attention to Safety – The wind turbine technician may work with hazardous chemicals and dangerous equipment on a daily basis. There are a variety of safety guidelines that need to be followed during the course of wind turbine building and maintenance.

Wind Turbine Tools

If you love to work with your hands and use tools, a career in Wind Power may be right for you! Building and maintaining wind turbines involves working with many different tools, including bolt tightening tools, calibration instruments, dimensional measuring tools, electrical test instruments, and hydraulic tools.

Bolt Tightening Tools – there are many bolt-tightening tools for different bolt sizes and applications:

  • Electric Torque Wrench – a gearbox that operates from 110 to 220 volts
  • Impact Torque Wrench – delivers fast torque of 700+ pounds
  • Bolt Tensioner – stretches a bolt stud
  • Hydraulic Torque Wrench – a power tool designed to exert torque on a fastener to properly tighten or loosen a connection through the use of hydraulics
  • Pneumatic Torque Wrench – a gearbox that works with an air motor and allows up to 10,500 pounds of torque

Calibration Instruments – these are used to calibrate tools and devices to make sure they are performing at peak precision and accuracy:

  • Torque Calibration – measures and calibrates torque instruments, including different types of wrenches and power tools
  • Pressure Calibration – measures the pressure of another device, or ensures a pressure measurement standard
  • Electrical Calibration – verifies and adjusts the performance of any instrument that measures or tests electrical parameters
  • Dimensional Calibration – ensures hand tools and measuring instruments provide reliable and precise results

Dimensional Measuring Tools – these measure different dimensions, including height, depth, diameter, thickness, and angle:

  • Calipers – measure linear dimensions, thickness, or diameter using parallel jaws
  • Micrometers – measure short distances, thicknesses, or diameters
  • Dial Indicators – used to measure small distances and angles
  • Gages – measure height, depth, diameter and radii
  • Borescopes – allow visual inspection into inaccessible areas
  • Thickness Gauges – measure the thickness of coatings and materials

Electrical Test Instruments – measure current, voltage, and resistance:

  • Ammeter – measures a current in a circuit
  • Ohmmeter – measures the electrical resistance through a circuit
  • Voltmeter – measures the voltage or potential difference between two points in a circuit

Hydraulic Tools – tensioners to apply controlled bolt loading and hydraulic pumps that will help convert mechanical power into hydraulic energy.

Does a career as a Wind Turbine Technician interest you? Want to learn about the tools and hone the professional skills needed to work in this rewarding career? Renewable, environmentally-sustainable wind energy is a vital resource and an important industry for our future. That’s why MIAT College of Technology offers a Wind Power Technician Training program that provides students with the skills they need to be successful in this innovative field.

To learn more about Wind Power Technician training and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us if you are interested in becoming a wind power technician today.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of the students who attended this program, visit:

https://www.miat.edu/gedt2017/can_wind/Gedt.php – Canton

https://www.miat.edu/gedt2017/hou_wind/Gedt.php – Houston

Aviation Maintenance Technician: Mastering the Gear Systems

IMG_6438Interested in becoming an aviation maintenance technician? Aviation Maintenance programs focus on teaching students the advanced and precise skills necessary to become FAA Certified Aviation Maintenance Technicians. Gear systems are one of the integral mechanisms that technicians learn to master, and they are just one of more than 40 precision technical skills MIAT graduates master during their training:

Gear Systems and Operation

A pilot uses different gear systems to operate an aircraft. Some of the gear systems in an aircraft include flight controls, navigation, landing gear, hydraulics systems, the pneumatic system, the emergency brake system, and electrical systems.

Flight Controls – used to transfer motion and force input from the pilot to the flight control surface. Flight controls include the cockpit controls, connecting linkages, and the necessary operating mechanisms to control the direction of flight

  • Cockpit Controls – includes the control yoke and center stick that governs the aircraft’s roll and pitch. The rudder pedals control the yaw. The throttle controls engine speed or thrust for powering the aircraft
  • Connecting Linkages – an assembly of links that manage the forces of movement

Navigation – the process of planning, recording, and controlling the movement of an aircraft on a route.

  • Visual Flight Rules (VFR) – uses “dead reckoning” combined with visual observation and references to maps
  • Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) – navigate exclusively using instruments and radio navigation aids or direction by radar control
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) – uses 24 U.S. Department of Defense satellites to provide precise location data, including aircraft position, track, and speed

Landing Gear – located at the undercarriage of an aircraft and used to take-off and land. Wheels are typically used, but skids, skis, and floats can also be used to land in different terrain.

  • Tail Wheel – conventional landing gear, with the main gear located forward of the center of gravity, with the tail using a third wheel assembly
  • Tandem – the main gear and tail gear are aligned on the longitudinal axis of the aircraft
  • Tricycle – includes main gear and nose gear which helps enable higher landing speeds

Hydraulics System – used on aircraft to move and actuate landing gear, flaps, and brakes. The hydraulics system transmits a very high pressure with a small volume of fluid. Hydraulic fluid is used to transmit and distribute forces to various units to be actuated. The type of hydraulic fluid that is used is based on the following variables:

  • Viscosity – increases as temperature decreases. The hydraulic system must have enough body to provide a good seal at pumps, valves, and pistons, but it must not be so thick that it offers resistance to flow
  • Chemical Stability – the ability to resist oxidation and deterioration for long periods of time
  • Flash Point – the temperature at which a liquid gives off vapor in sufficient quantity to ignite momentarily when a flame is applied
  • Fire Point – the temperature where the substance gives off enough vapor to ignite and continue to burn when exposed to a spark or flame

Pneumatics System – a system that uses pressurized air to move components on an aircraft. Pneumatic systems power instrument landing gear, flaps, windows, air conditioning, doors, and auto pilot devices.

  • Air Compressors – a pump that compresses air to establish pressure for aircraft components
  • Relief Valves – used to prevent damage. They act as a pressure limit and prevent bursting lines and blowing out seals
  • Control Valves – used to control conditions, including pressure, flow, temperature, and liquid levels
  • Check Valves – allow pressurized air to enter the system, but prevent backflow of air toward the compressor
  • Restrictors – controls the rate of airflow and the speed of operation of the actuating unit
  • Variable Restrictor – speed regulator that contains an adjustable needle valve
  • Pressure Regulator – controls the maximum pressure in the system and off-loads the compressor when the system is idle
  • Oil and Water Trap Regulator – designed to remove any water or oil which may be suspended in the air delivered by the compressor
  • Air Filters – prevents oil, vapor, dirt, or moisture from passing into the various services
  • Storage Bottles – act as a reservoir of compressed air to operate the services to pneumatic systems
  • Air Pump – the wet air pump uses engine oil to lubricate the pump internally and the dry air pump has graphite vanes inside the pump casing to self-lubricate as the pump rotates

Emergency Brake System – the pilot can operate a pneumatic valve on the instrument panel to direct compressed air or nitrogen into the brake system if the hydraulic system fails.

Electrical Systems – aircraft have some form of electrical power to operate navigation, landing, strobe lights, the COM & NAV radios, the transponder, and the intercom. The electrical system has a battery and an alternator to recharge the battery, fuses, switches, and lights for indication purposes. The electric system is connected by wire and connectors attached to the airframe with insulation materials.

  • Master Switch – switches the electrical system on or off through a heavy-duty relay. It usually has two sides – one side for the alternator and the other side for the battery
  • Bus Bar & Fuses – each device is attached to a bus bar through a circuit breaker or fuse and a switch
  • Monitoring Volts & Amps – measures how the system is operating through an ammeter or voltmeter. The ammeter indicates the amount of current from the alternator to the attached load
  • Aircraft Wiring & Ground – one wire is connected to the positive terminal and the other to the minus terminal. The metal aircraft frame can be used as ground.

Does a career in Aviation Maintenance interest you? Want to learn the professional skills needed to work in this rewarding career? The Aviation Maintenance Programs from MIAT College of Technology provide the hands-on training, practical experience, and industry support it takes to pursue a rewarding technical career.

To learn more about Aviation Maintenance Programs and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us if you are interested in becoming an aviation maintenance technician today!

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of the students who attended this program, visit the following disclosure links:

Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology Gainful Employment Disclosure – Canton

Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology Gainful Employment Disclosure – Houston

Careers in Energy & Industrial Technology

A royalty free image from the oil and gas industry of an oil worker using a tablet computer at an oil drillinjg site.

Interested in an energy technology career? Looking to get a new and rewarding job in as little as 9 to 16 months? Individuals with Energy & Industrial Technician training pursue positions in a wide variety of energy industries, including wind, gas, coal, nuclear, solar, standby power, geothermal, hydroelectric, methane/landfill gas generation, power distribution and dispatch, water treatment, and more.

There are many different opportunities for graduates of the Energy & Industrial Technician program at MIAT. They include power plant operator, industrial mechanic, auxiliary operator, boiler operator, wind turbine construction technician, and solar installation technician. Most entry-level energy and industrial technicians will start out as part of a team of hands-on technicians. Top performers may be promoted to leads, supervisors, and managers.

Power Plant Operators

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, power plant operators control the systems that generate and distribute electric power. Power plant operators typically do the following:

  • Control power-generating equipment
  • Read charts, meters, and gauges to monitor voltage and electricity flows
  • Check equipment and indicators to detect problems
  • Adjust controls to regulate the flow of power
  • Start or stop generators, turbines, and other equipment

Nuclear power plant operators control nuclear reactors. They adjust control rods that affect how much electricity a reactor generates. They monitor reactors, turbines, generators, and cooling systems. Nuclear power plant operators also start and stop equipment and record the data produced.

Industrial Mechanic

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial mechanics maintain and repair factory equipment including conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment. Industrial mechanics typically do the following:

  • Read technical manuals to understand equipment and controls
  • Disassemble machinery as needed
  • Repair or replace broken or malfunctioning components
  • Perform tests and run initial batches to make sure that the machine is running smoothly
  • Adjust and calibrate machinery to optimal specifications

Auxiliary Operator

The auxiliary operator’s goal is to generate electrical power. Problem solving, listening skills, and attention to detail are needed to be effective. The auxiliary operator does the following:

  • Control the machines and their processes
  • Monitor and inspect the equipment for any errors
  • Operate valves, rotating equipment, fly ash and lubricating systems
  • Adhere to all safety and environmental protection protocols and procedures

Boiler Operator

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, boiler operators control stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for industrial purposes. Boiler operators typically do the following:

  • Operate engines, boilers, and auxiliary equipment
  • Read gauges, meters, and charts to track boiler operations
  • Monitor boiler water, chemical, and fuel levels
  • Activate valves to increase or decrease the amount of water, air, and fuel in boilers
  • Inspect equipment to ensure that it is operating efficiently
  • Check safety devices routinely
  • Record data and keep logs of operation, maintenance, and safety activity

Wind Turbine Technician

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind turbine technicians install, maintain, and repair wind turbines. The turbine is made up of three major components: a tower, three blades, and a nacelle, which is composed of an outer case, generator, gearbox, and brakes. Wind turbine technicians install and repair the various components of these structures. Wind turbine technicians typically do the following:

  • Inspect the exterior and physical integrity of wind turbine towers
  • Climb towers to inspect or repair wind turbine equipment
  • Perform routine maintenance on wind turbines
  • Test and troubleshoot electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic components
  • Replace worn or malfunctioning components
  • Collect turbine data for research and analysis

Solar Installation Technician

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar installation technicians assemble, install, and maintain solar panel systems. Solar installation technicians typically do the following:

  • Plan Photovoltaic system configuration based on customer needs and site conditions
  • Install solar modules, panels, or support structures in accordance with building codes and standards
  • Connect photovoltaic panels to the power grid
  • Activate and test photovoltaic systems to verify performance
  • Perform routine photovoltaic system maintenance

Does a career in Energy & Industrial Technology interest you? Want to have the power of an entire nation at your fingertips? The Energy & Industrial and Energy Technology Programs from MIAT College of Technology provide the hands-on training, practical experience, and industry support it takes to pursue a rewarding technical career. MIAT’s goal for its Energy programs is to produce graduates who are in the top echelon of their initial on-the-job training due to the foundation of knowledge they receive at MIAT.  To learn more about Energy & Industrial career training and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us if you are interested in becoming an Energy and Industrial technician today.

Aircraft Pre-Flight Checklist: Aircraft Safety Procedure

shutterstock_699792223 Aviation 1

Are you an amateur aircraft pilot? Interested in becoming an aviation mechanic and want to learn more about what that means? Safety is definitely the most important thing to consider before taking off!

Before any plane can take flight, there are steps that need to be followed to determine if the aircraft is flight-worthy. You will want to make sure to review the plane’s pre-flight checklist to make sure it has received the necessary servicing based on the flight hours logged. Plan an appropriate flight plan, taking into consideration the weather and alternate routes available if a problem arises. Do a cockpit pre-flight check to make sure instruments and gauges are working properly. Lastly, do a walk-around of the aircraft and note any issues, and remove tie-downs and wheel chocks to prepare for taxi.

#1 Review the Plane’s Pre-Flight Checklist

If you are renting a plane, it should come with a pre-flight checklist that includes service, inspection, and maintenance schedules. The first thing to check is the flight hours. Aircraft maintenance is done based on flight hours so it’s necessary to review the number of hours logged and correlate it with the last time the aircraft maintenance was performed. Read any previous pilot observations and make sure a service is not scheduled for more hours than you intend to use the aircraft.

Bigger aircraft will have four pieces of paperwork. They include the airworthiness certificate, registration certificate, operating handbook, and weight and balance data papers.

  • Airworthiness Certificate – issued for an aircraft by the National Aviation Authority in the state in which the aircraft is registered. The airworthiness certificate confirms that the aircraft is airworthy.
  • Registration Certificate – confirms that the aircraft has been properly registered with the FAA using the AC Form 8050-1.
  • Operating Handbook – an aircraft’s flight manual contains the information required to safely operate the aircraft.
  • Weight and Balance Data Papers – the specifications of the aircraft to ensure it’s operating in a safe and efficient manner. The weight and balance data papers identify the empty weight of the aircraft and the location at which the aircraft balances.

#2 Know Your Flight Plan

Before you take off, make sure you are aware of your flight plan and the weather you may encounter during your flight. Do you have all the charts and maps you need to fly safely and confidently? Draw out your expected route to the active runway. Also, draw out an alternative route in case of inclement weather or emergency. Review your wind shear conditions, minimum safe altitude, and engine failure plan. Observe the wind direction and velocity from the windsock located near the runway. Knowing your flight plan is crucial to getting to your destination safely and securely.

#3 The Aircraft Cockpit Pre-Flight Check

Before the flight, do a pre-flight check on the instruments and gauges in the cockpit. Make sure everything is working and instruments will give correct readings in flight.

  • First and foremost, make sure you have enough fuel for your flight.
  • Check the aircraft’s registration and certification to make sure they are up-to-date.
  • The ignition switch should be in the “off” position.
  • Turn on the master power switch.
  • Make sure all the equipment powers on correctly.
  • Make sure flaps and landing gear are performing properly.

#4 Do A Walk-Around

Take a walk around the aircraft and make sure that there is no visible damage or cracks. Make sure to observe whether there are any nicks, loose fasteners, or dents in the wings or fuselage. Remove the fuel cap and visually inspect it for sufficient fuel. Be sure that the fuel cap is securely fastened before take-off.

At the rear of the aircraft, remove the wheel chock or tail tie-down. Observe the elevators and the rudder, making sure they are all tight and flight ready. Observe the antennae assembly and make sure no lubricants or brake fluid are leaking, and that the tires are properly inflated.

At the front of the aircraft make sure to look at the exhaust and check for any damage. Check the engine oil, ignition wires, magneto electrical connections and the fuel lines. Move the propeller and make sure to identify any lubricant leaks, missing bolts or cracks in the propeller blades.

Under the aircraft, check for fuel leaks around the engine compartment, cowling and fuel tanks. Check the wheels, landing gear, and landing gear compartment door for any loose fittings or other defects.

Finally, remove the wing tie downs and wheel chocks, then take a closer look to make sure everything is ready for flight.

You’ve got the Aircraft Pre-Flight Checklist down! Interested in learning more about aviation maintenance? Ready to become an Aviation Mechanic? A certificate or degree in Aviation Maintenance will give you a competitive advantage in securing an entry-level position. To learn more about Aviation Maintenance career training and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us today if you are interested in becoming an aviation mechanic!

Is a Career in HVAC/R Right for You?

HVAC/R

You don’t have to pursue an expensive higher-education degree to find a satisfying and challenging career. Vocational education is an affordable alternative for individuals who are looking to work with their hands and develop skills that will last a lifetime. Consider MIAT College of Technology’s HVAC/R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration) program, which trains students for one of the fastest-growing trades in the country.

Growth and Careers

Many find HVAC/R to be a rewarding career. The fact that people have come to expect temperature control during all four seasons means that HVAC/R technicians have a lot of job security. There are a variety of tasks, working environments, and positions available in the field. Plus, the field is rapidly growing! The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will experience a 21% growth between 2012 and 2022. This means that there will be many new job opportunities, as the industry is likely to add as many as 55,900  roles over these ten years. With this kind of growth, trained HVAC/R techs are in high demand, which leads to better job security and improved wages.[i]

HVAC/R Technology

The HVAC/R industry is no longer a manual wrench-and-screwdriver type of job. Knowledge of information technology is essential to the modern technician because of new advances in equipment design and operation. The job requirements range from configuring a WiFi thermostat to installing and programming an access point for a climate control system in a commercial building. This means that technicians will often use networking skills to assess and troubleshoot problems with new equipment, and that it is important for anyone interested in this field to stay up-to-date on the latest developments.

HVAC/R Education

Your journey in HVAC/R education does not have to stop at completing any given training program or getting your associate’s degree. You have the option to pursue a Bachelor’s or even a Master’s degree in HVAC/R Engineering! The best thing about the field is that it is evolving. More and more equipment is being developed that is dependent on refrigeration and other HVAC/R technology.

The demand for individuals with HVAC/R skills is expected to continue to increase. The industry is undergoing significant growth. This creates numerous job opportunities for engineers, technicians, contractors, installers, and repair technicians. Also, as people become increasingly environmentally-conscious, energy-efficient, eco-friendly units and green technology is expected to be in particularly high demand. [ii]  This means that it is important for anyone who is interested in the field to study new trends and stay up-to-date. MIAT College of Technology HVAC/R instructors educate students about the latest technologies to give them an advantage when they enter the workforce.

Conclusion

Opportunities abound in the HVAC/R field, especially because of the variety of skills needed to build, repair, and maintain equipment. The industry offers individuals a chance to work with their hands and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills. In addition, most positions require individuals to be mobile, meaning that technicians work in a range of settings and are not confined to a desk. Given the growth, job security, and technological development in HVAC/R, there are many reasons to consider pursuing a career in this exciting industry!

If you are interested in learning more about the field, contact MIAT College of Technology directly at (734) 423-2100 for our Canton, MI location, or (713) 401-3399 for our Houston, TX campus. You can also research the MIAT HVAC/R program online at https://www.miat.edu/programs/hvacr-technician-program/.

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program may be found here: https://www.miat.edu/disclosures/

[i] Bohm, S. (2016, May 5). The Demand for HVACR Technicians Is Heating Up in 2016. https://www.refrigerationschool.com/blog/hvacr/demand-hvacr-technicians-heating-2016/

[ii] Explore the Trades. (2015). http://www.explorethetrades.org/hvac/why-become-an-hvac-technician/