Aeronautical Engineer

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There are two types of Aerospace Engineers: Aeronautical and Astronautical.

Aeronautical engineers design aircraft that fly within Earth’s atmosphere, like airplanes and helicopters. They deal primarily with aerodynamic performance, or how air and gases give aircraft their ability to fly. They also deal with thermodynamics, the study of heat and energy. Some aeronautical engineers specialize in designing passenger aircraft, while others specialize in creating military aircraft. These engineers also design missiles for defense aircraft.

Astronautical engineers design spacecraft that travel both within Earth and in outer space. These engineers also design manmade satellites, which are communications systems that are intentionally placed in Earth’s orbit. Satellites are used to send signals — such as television and phone signals — back and forth between Earth for enhanced transmission. Some satellites are used to study space.

Aeronautical Engineers perform and supervise engineering work concerned with the design, development, manufacture, maintenance and modification of all types of flight vehicles. This may include military and civilian aeroplanes, helicopters, missiles, launch vehicles, spacecraft, satellites, and control and guidance systems. They focus on the form, arrangement and stability of structures and their movement through the air. In addition, they test prototypes to make sure that they function according to design. Future Growth Strong

Aeronautical engineers assess mechanical systems, flight characteristics and aircraft performance to ensure that aircraft are airworthy. They design and maintain a variety of flight vehicles such as helicopters and civilian and military aeroplanes.

ANZSCO ID: 233911

Alternative names: Aerospace Engineer

Specialisations: Aeronautical Engineering Officer (Navy), Aerospace Engineer, Aerospace Engineer Officer - Aeronautical (Air Force), Aerospace Engineer Officer - Armament (Air Force), Aerospace Engineer Officer - Electronics (Air Force), Avionics Systems Engineer, Weapons Aeronautical Engineering Officer (Navy).

Knowledge, skills and attributes   
  
To become an aerospace engineer, you should have:  

  • strong problem-solving skills
  • excellent maths and IT skills
  • knowledge of computer aided design (CAD) or manufacturing (CAM) software
  • enjoy technical and engineering activities
  • analytical and problem-solving ability
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • practical and creative ability
  • able to work without supervision and accept responsibility
  • able to work as part of a team
  • normal colour vision may be required   
  • the ability to plan, prioritise and manage projects effectively.  

Replacing engine
(Source: TryEngineering)

Duties and Tasks

As an aerospace engineer, you could work in research and development, testing or production and maintenance. Your duties would vary depending on which area you worked in, but may include:

  • Design aircraft, componentry and support equipment.
  • Consult with aero-engine specialists to co-ordinate design of aircraft.
  • Carry out surveys of airframes and equipment and checks for structural faults using laboratory or flight conditions.
  • Ensure that aircraft are capable of meeting operational conditions by examining characteristics and evaluating flight tests.
  • Plan and design aircraft, aircraft parts and support equipment by preparing drawings and making mathematical calculations, often aided by computer systems
  • Design modifications to systems, such as fuel or air conditioning, and outline installation procedures
  • Conduct tests to measure the performance of an aircraft or part, or to ensure design specifications and airworthiness requirements are met
  • Supervise the assembly of airframes and the installation of engines, instruments and other equipment (for example, when installing extra fuel tanks, deciding where the tanks are to be placed and checking that the support structure of the aircraft is strong enough to carry the extra weight)
  • Investigate failed engines or other aviation components
  • Develop avionic systems like navigation instruments and communications
  • Research ways to make fuel-efficient parts, such as wings, fuselage and engines
  • Use computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw up project designs
  • Carry out ground- and flight-testing programs on prototypes
  • Collect and analyse test data
  • Plan and supervise the assembly and fitting of aircraft and components
  • Sign off projects under strict licensing regulations
  • Schedule and supervise airport and base (hangar) maintenance of aircraft.
  • Develop procedures for the repair of aviation components
  • Determine and manage schedules for repairs and maintenance
  • Assess mechanical systems, flight characteristics and aircraft performance
  • Participate in flight test programmes to measure take-off distances, rate of climb, stall speeds, manoeuvrability and landing capacities
  • Evaluate new and used aircraft and advise potential purchasers based on their findings
  • if working for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, ensure the airworthiness of Australian aircraft by assessing the manufacturer's information and the aircraft's structure, electrical and avionics instruments and power plants

You would also be involved with estimating project costs and timescales, attending meetings, writing technical reports and manuals, and giving presentations to managers and clients. With several years' experience as an engineer, you could also work on the investigation of air accidents.

Checking
(Source: University of Sydney)

Working conditions

Aerospace engineers usually work full time. Longer hours may sometimes be needed, depending on the project and deadlines. You would work in offices and factory production hangars, and may have to travel to inspect or test aircraft at different sites.

Aeronautical engineers may work for regulatory authorities to ensure that aircraft are safe to fly in Australia. They can also work for the Defence Force, research organisations, repair and maintenance companies or design offices.

They may have to participate in test flights in a variety of weather conditions and during odd hours, such as at dawn or at night. They may also investigate aircraft accidents, and issue certifications or licences.

Tools and technologies

Aeronautical engineers use drawing and measuring instruments and materials, as well as computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software. They must also ensure design plans and materials meet a range of federal and international standards and codes so that any aircraft modification or repair complies with the law and the aircraft is safe to fly.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You need a bachelor degree in engineering majoring in aeronautical or aerospace engineering to work as an Aeronautical Engineer. It is also common to complete postgraduate studies. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry and physics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in engineering with a major in aeronautical or aerospace engineering.

Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

Additional Information
  
Students who have completed at least one year of a 3-year or 4-year, or two years of a 5-year or 6-year, approved university course in engineering may apply to join the Undergraduate Scheme in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) or Royal Australian Navy (RAN). If accepted, students may choose to finish their degree at their chosen institution or join the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.

Graduates may be eligible for membership of Engineers Australia.

Employment Opportunities

In Australia, the majority of aerospace engineering work involves aircraft modification and assessment of damage. However, there is also a significant industry engaged in manufacture under licence. Once you have completed the Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical), students with the appropriate elective units will need to complete a Master of Engineering to become a professional aeronautical engineer.

Career opportunities exist with aerospace companies, aircraft manufacturers, aeronautical consulting services, the RAAF and the RAN. The Department of Defence employs aeronautical engineers in Defence Research Centres across the country. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority also employs aerospace engineers to ensure compliance with design and certification standards, the functioning of associated electrical power plants and fuel systems, and overall airworthiness and flight handling in normal and emergency situations.

Employment of aerospace engineers is projected to grow slower than the average for all occupations.

Most of the work of aerospace engineers involves national defence–related projects or the design of civilian aircraft. Research and development projects, such as those related to improving the safety, efficiency, and environmental soundness of aircraft, should create demand for workers in this occupation.
Aerospace engineers who work on engines or propulsion will be needed as the emphasis in design and production shifts to rebuilding existing aircraft so that they are less noisy and more fuel efficient.

In addition, new international companies are emerging to provide access to space outside of standard government space agencies. This may create offshore work opportunities for aerospace engineers.

 

Fixing plane
(Source: Good Universities Guide)


Did You Know?

Life on the Job
CAMEO

Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to step foot on the moon, and astronaut Dr.Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian descent to travel to space, were both aerospace engineers.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose aerospace company SpaceX was the first to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a rocket (meaning the rocket was able to launch into outer space and safely land back on Earth), is another famous aerospace engineer.

(Source: TryEngineering)


Kalpana Chawla
Kalpana Chawla - Official Portrait - NASA
Kalpana Chawla (17 March 1962 - 1 February 2003)


A starry-eyed woman who imagined a world and then infused in that imagination a life, Kalpana Chawla was born in 1962 and grew up in a family where her parents who were originally from Multan, Pakistan had migrated to Karnal, Haryana.

A role model for innumerable Indian women, she was an ordinary girl with towering dreams and indomitable courage that made her the first Indian woman and the second Indian person to fly in space in 1997.

As she recalls in an interview before the Columbia mission, how she and her brother used to hop on their bicycles to see where the aeroplanes were headed to. From choosing her own name ‘Kalpana’ which means ‘imagination’ to draw colourful aeroplanes, her creativity led her to embark on an explorative journey which gave a reason for many young minds to pursue their dreams.

Early Education of Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla as a Child
Kalpana as a child

I’ve always been very determined. I don’t get easily discouraged.”

Being a bright child, Kalpana’s inclinations were clear from the start. If we dote upon the education of Kalpana Chawla, she completed her early schooling from Tagore School, Karnal.

Kalpana was always determined to become a Flight Engineer since 10th grade and nothing on earth could convince her to choose other streams. As she said, “I was interested in aerospace and flying, and the U.S. is really the best place in the world for flying.” The education of Kalpana Chawla and her perseverance inspires us to believe in our instincts and translate our dreams to reality.

She followed by pursuing an undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh.

After her bachelor’s, considering the massive amount of opportunities available in design, construction and research and development in the USA, she moved to complete her Masters in USA from the University of Texas in the 1984. Chawla went on to earn a second Masters in 1986 and a PhD [doctorate] in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado in 1988.

In 1988, she began working at NASA Ames Research Center, where she did computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research on vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) concepts. Much of Chawla's research is included in technical journals and conference papers. In 1993, she joined Overset Methods, Inc. as Vice President and Research Scientist specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems. Chawla held a Certificated Flight Instructor rating for airplanes, gliders and Commercial Pilot licenses for single and multi-engine airplanes, seaplanes and gliders. After becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 1991, Chawla applied for the NASA Astronaut Corps.

Kalpana Chawla
American Astronaut and Engineer
  
The first view of the Earth is magical. It is a very overpowering realization that the Earth is so small. It affected me. I could not get over the notion that in such a small planet, with such a small ribbon of life, so much goes on. It is as if the whole place is sacred.”

Kalpana Chawla’s Career at NASA

Chawla began working at the NASA’s Ames Research Center, operating on power-lift computational fluid dynamics. Later in 1994, she was selected as an astronaut candidate and became a crew representative for the Astronaut Office EVA. After a few years of training, she was fully equipped with the right set of skills and knowledge to handle Robotic Situational Awareness Displays and testing software for the space shuttles. She was selected for her first flight in 1996.

Her first space mission began on 19 November 1997, as part of the six-astronaut crew that flew the Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87. Chawla was the first Indian woman to go in space. On her first mission, Chawla traveled over 10.4 million miles (16737177.6 km) in 252 orbits of the earth, logging more than 372 hours (15 days and 12 hours) in space. During STS-87, she was responsible for deploying the Spartan Satellite which malfunctioned, necessitating a spacewalk by Winston Scott and Takao Doi to capture the satellite. A five-month NASA investigation fully exonerated Chawla by identifying errors in software interfaces and the defined procedures of the flight crew and ground control. After the completion of STS-87 post-flight activities, Chawla was assigned to technical positions in the astronaut office to work on the space station.


Through the penetrations about the education of Kalpana Chawla, we can identify that she was highly focused and her orientation towards her goals was such that she never deterred from her path and moved swiftly by achieving one thing after the other. She is one of the great personalities teaching young girls to believe in their dreams and always be determined to overcome obstacles in life.

First Flight
First Flight 'Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997' where she was a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator


For those who are wondering how many times Kalpana Chawla went to space then you will be astounded to know that she has completed 2 space missions! Being the mission specialist and primary robotic arm reporter on her first flight Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997, Kalpana was the only woman who was a part of a six-astronaut crew. Their space shuttle took over 250 orbits around the earth in just a span of two weeks. With the primary motive to study the outer layer of the sun, the crew performed numerous experiments and made various observations apart from the deployment of a Spartan satellite from the shuttle.


STS 107
STS-107 Crew

In 2001, Chawla was selected for her second flight as part of the crew of STS-107. The mission that was supposed to begin in 2000 was delayed multiple times finally being launched in the year 2003. This mission was repeatedly delayed due to scheduling conflicts and technical problems such as the July 2002 discovery of cracks in the shuttle engine flow liners. On 16 January 2003, Chawla finally returned to space aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on the ill-fated STS-107 mission. The crew performed nearly 80 experiments studying Earth and space science, advanced technology development, and astronaut health and safety.

 In the course of its 16 days voyage, the crew performed more than 80 space experiments and it was a successful enterprise when on the morning of 1st February 2003 the flight disintegrated while entering the Earth’s atmosphere and no one survived this accident.

During the launch of STS-107, Columbia's 28th mission, a piece of foam insulation broke off from the Space Shuttle external tank and struck the left-wing of the orbiter. Previous shuttle launches had seen minor damage from foam shedding,[18] but some engineers suspected that the damage to Columbia was more serious. NASA managers limited the investigation, reasoning that the crew could not have fixed the problem if it had been confirmed. When Columbia re-entered the atmosphere of Earth, the damage allowed hot atmospheric gases to penetrate and destroy the internal wing structure, which caused the spacecraft to become unstable and break apart.

For her outstanding career achievement and her significant contribution to the country, Kalpana Chawla received a number of awards which included prestigious NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Congressional Space Medal of Honor and NASA Space Flight Medal.

With her 30 days, 14 hours, and 54 minutes in space over the course of her two missions, Kalpana explored the intricacies of the space. Aerospace aspirants take her as their role model and often recall what she said after her first launch as their to success, “When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.”
(Source: Levergeedu & Wikipedia)


Aeronautical Engineer

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Mechanic

Taxi Driver

Autoelectrician

Truck Driver

Travel Agent

Air Traffic Controller

Furniture Removalist

Bus Driver

Waterside Worker

Forklift Operator

Flight Attendant

Transport Economist

Panel Beater

Pilot

Crane Operator

Coxswain

Logging Truck Driver

Livestock Transport Driver

Mobile Plant Operator

Chauffeur

Flying Instructor

Delivery Driver

Driving Instructor

Transport Company Manager

Ship's Master

Car Detailer

Caravan Park & Camping Ground Manager

Supply, Distribution & Procurement Manager

Helicopter Pilot

Armoured Car Escort

Horse Float Driver

Overload Pilot Operator

Logistics Analyst

Tow Truck Driver