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Attention Acrophobics: 3 Ground Level Aviation Jobs

13 JUN 2012
Career Path : Engineering Technology

There are a small group of people walking the earth who have a fond love for anything aviation-related, but who also have an inconsolable fear of heights. The very sight of a plane induces an insurmountable level of excitement, as though their stomachs were infiltrated by thousands of fluttering butterflies. But the thought of actually boarding a plane is as endurable as physically being strapped to railroad tracks and turning your head only to see an oncoming train. Scary stuff.

Like most intense fears, acrophobia can be linked to some sort of traumatic experience, but are more often than not embedded in some unknown cause.  I know, it all sounds very paradoxical. What is a person to do?

I don’t protest to have any of the answers. In fact, I don’t protest to have any. But I can offer a consolation prize, of sorts. Rather than cure the fear, why not outsmart it? Here are three careers that any height-fearing, plane-loving person can pursue in order to consolidate their fear and passion.

Aircraft Engineer

You may not like flying in an airplane, but that is no reason not to build one! Engineering is, as we know, a complicated and extremely intricate craft. Be it designing nifty electronics, revolutionizing the automobile, or restructuring the airplane, engineers can only perfect their craft if they find an exemplary balance between creativity and science. From Chanute’s 1896 hang glider to Boeing’s 2009 fuel efficient 787 Dreamliner, engineers have been rethinking aircraft design for centuries. From the looks of it, there seems to be more innovation on the horizon.


Air Traffic Control

There are a number of extremely vital layers of air traffic control, all of which are done on the ground. For one, ATC is preserved by the close and stringent monitoring of all plane departures, landings and air routes. The close watch is a preventative measure with the aim to ensure the utmost safety and avoid any and all occurrences of collisions.

Another type of ATC is ground control, which monitors all activity taking place on land in and around the aircraft vicinity. Ground control officials need to keep watch to make sure that every single person, vehicle or aircraft on the designated grounds are authorized to be so.


Ground Support Equipment Operators

As far as height-fearing aviation lovers go, ground support equipment (GSE) operators have the best of both worlds. They get to be up close to the action but never have to actually board a plane. Heaven!

GSE operators have a lot of different responsibilities, from loading passenger baggage onto the plane (how else did you think it got there?) to maintaining aircraft performance variables (fuel, lubrication, etc.)

Ground support professionals are also responsible for operating a number of different vehicles, including but not limited to:

  • Baggage Tractors or Carts
  • Cargo Tractor
  • Fuel Trucks or Carts
  • Lav Trucks or Carts
  • Push Back Tractors
  • Stairs & Stair Trucks
  • Tow Tractor


Visit GTA Aviation Ground Equipment Specialties for more information on ground support and airline equipment.