Facts You Don’t Want to Miss About Welding Classes; They’re Surprisingly Cool

person welding
May 24, 2021
Facts You Don’t Want to Miss About Welding Classes; They’re Surprisingly Cool

As the technology and manufacturing processes evolved in the aircraft and aerospace industry, lighter metals, such as aluminum, magnesium, and titanium, are used in their construction. New processes and methods of welding these metals were developed. The welding portion of the airframe curriculum at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology will familiarize you with various types of welding and processes – and focus on inspecting the quality of welds.


What is Welding?


Welding is an engineering process in which two similar pieces of material are fused together using high heat. In terms of aviation, these are usually two pieces of metal that are fused together, using a similar material as a filler. Other methods of fusing two pieces of metal together can include using high pressure or a shielding gas.


Industry in general depends on the work that welders do. From infrastructure projects on bridges, to oil pipeline maintenance on the North Slope of Alaska, to keeping airplanes soaring high and safely across the skies.  people with advanced welding skills are a vital part of the many amenities we take for granted. For those interested in a future as a welder, it is required in all 50 states that you obtain an official certification in welding.


Fortunately, Spartan College has four campuses where students can take a course within the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program that gets them limited hands-on experience with welding. Students will gain knowledge of the different types of welding that will help students differentiate if they would like to go on to earn a welding certificate outside of Spartan College. The primary focus of the Spartan welding course to inspect and identify good welds.

Depending on which campus you attend (Tulsa, OK; Broomfield, CO; or Riverside, CA which is a branch campus of our Inglewood, CA campus), some campuses offer diplomas and some degrees in Aviation Maintenance Technology


Types of Welding Used in Aircraft


The different kinds of skills taught in welding classes in aviation maintenance may be transferable to welding in other fields as well. Every state requires official certification and training to be employed as a welder, and there are even companies that require their own welding certifications before they will consider a person for employment. For example, many different oil companies have their own certification requirements as do certain airlines and flight companies.


Below are some of the types of welding used in aircraft maintenance, which are similar to welding in other trades:


Gas Welding


Most people who took a "shop" class in high school are familiar with oxyacetylene welding. Pure oxygen is mixed with acetylene to create temperatures as high as 6,300-degrees Fahrenheit to create metal welds (or 4,800-degrees using hydrogen as opposed to oxygen). Gas welding remains extremely popular for repairing aircraft parts, although it has largely been replaced as of 2021 with electric welding techniques.


Electric Arc Welding


There are three types of electric arc welding used in aircraft construction and maintenance: Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). As long as the proper materials are used in construction or repair, each of these three types of welding are suitable to meet the demands of the airline industry:


  • SMAW Welding: Shielded metal arc welds require incredible hand-eye coordination and confidence! Temperatures exceed 10,000-degrees Fahrenheit as the technician holds a metal wire rod 1/4-inch from the connecting pieces of metal. Also referred to as "stick" welding, SMAW relies on low voltage, high current, and a steady hand to create incredibly strong welds.
  • GMAW Welding: Gas metal arc welds rely on an inert gas feeding through an uncoated wire electrode to create a molten metal puddle and protect it from oxidation. GMAWs are used for aircraft production, rather than repairs.
  • GTAW Welding: Gas-tungsten arc welds are suitable for most repairs and construction of aircraft parts, so long as the correct metal materials are used. This type of welding is also referred to as Tungsten Inert Gas or TIG welding. This type of welding uses both a metal filler material, as well as an inert gas to generate heat and protect from oxidation.


Many aircraft parts are constructed from thin sheets of metal. Electric arc weld types taught at our Spartan campuses include:


  • Spot Welding: A spot welding machine relies on two copper electrodes to create arcs from both sides of two pieces of aluminum or metal being fused together. Pressure applied to the copper electrodes forces molten metal on the two pieces of material to fuse together.
  • Seam Welding: Fuel tanks and other critical aircraft components are created by the process of seam welding. The equipment used for seam welding is similar to a spot welder, but it uses copper wheels instead of bar electrodes. Two pieces of metal can be rolled between the wheels to fuse them together, for a continuous weld.


Plasma Arc Welding

Plasma arc welding (PAW) is one of the gold standards of aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, and repairs. This technology uses a tungsten electrode inside a copper nozzle to deliver exceptional control and incredibly strong welds to two pieces of metal or aluminum. Most commercial metals are acceptable for PAW, and this type of welding can be used on various thicknesses of welds.


Plasma Arc Cutting


Even though this technology has been around for decades, plasma arc cutting always looks like something out of a science fiction movie the first time you see it! Using high pressure and ionized gas, the plasma arc is able to cut through almost any conductive metal used in aircraft, from aluminum to stainless steel. Because plasma arc cutting does not warp or damage aircraft metals, it is used for precision manufacturing and repair jobs on many different types of aircraft.


You Can Take a Welding Class at Spartan Campuses


Students take a welding class within their program at four separate Spartan College campuses across the country.

Los Angeles Area Welding Classes


Our 18-month Airframe & Powerplant diploma or our 22-month Associate of Occupational Studies Aviation Maintenance Technology degree. Both course tracks meet the Federal Aviation Administration's requirements to take the certification* exams for Airframe & Powerplant.


Our coursework prepares students for FAA testing requirements for certification to work in the aircraft/airline industry! As part of the program, students will learn basic welding techniques.


Riverside Branch** Welding Classes


Our Los Angeles Area campus offers in-class instruction on welding at our Riverside branch campus. This course track meets the Federal Aviation Administration's requirements to prepare for certification* exams in Airframe & Powerplant.


Broomfield (Denver-area) Welding Classes


Students in the Broomfield, CO areas can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology in as little as 20 months on our campus! Coursework includes Basic Welding, as well as paints and finishes for keeping aircraft looking sharp and professional in the air!


In addition to aircraft welding skills, students who complete the associate's degree are qualified to immediately take the FAA's written, oral, and practical examinations for an Aircraft Mechanic's certificate*.


Tulsa, OK Welding Classes


Spartan College's Tulsa, OK location has provided Aviation Maintenance Technician training for almost as long as airplanes have been in the sky!


Whether you earn a 17-month diploma or a 20-month on-ground degree on our campus, you will become familiar and well-trained on all the various techniques and a welding class required to keep aircraft in the sky and safe for passengers and pilots. Spartan College also has a hybrid online program which is 20 months for a diploma or 23 months for an associate degree. 


Contact Us to Start Your Welding Classes Today


Spartan College is one of the longest-running aircraft trade schools in the US. Our Aviation Maintenance Technology and Airframe & Powerplant program includes welding classes as part of the programs where you can prepare to take the FAA A&P certification* exams and depending on location earn a diploma or degree in an aviation space, contact Spartan College to begin your adventure today!


*Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology does not guarantee third-party certifications. Certification requirements for taking and passing certification examinations are not controlled by the College, but by outside agencies and are subject to change by the agencies without notice to the College. Therefore, the College cannot guarantee that graduates will be eligible to take certification examinations, regardless of their eligibility status upon enrollment.


**The Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, Riverside, CA Campus is a branch of the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, Inglewood, CA Campus (Los Angeles Area).

Interested in Learning More?
If you would like to learn more about Spartan College and our program offerings, fill out the form below to request information, and we will have one of our admissions representatives contact you.

More Latest News

View More News
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram