In Summary - Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineer
Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineer
Aeronautical Engineers, also known as Aerospace Engineers, apply the principles of science and their knowledge of physics, aerodynamics, avionics and mechanical engineering to the research, design, construction and maintainence of all types of aircraft, helicopters, missiles, satellites and spacecraft.
An aircraft is the product of a whole team effort that brings together each individual engineer's skills and expertise. Some Aeronautical Engineers are office based; they specialise in developing new designs or improving existing ones. This work is largely mathematical and involves testing ideas using computer simulations. Design modification may be aimed at improving safety, or reducing fuel consumption, air or noise pollution. The Aeronautical engineer can specialise in areas such as navigational guidance, instrumentation and commercial and structural design.
Other engineers are specialists in practical developments such as flight testing. They may suggest modifications based on their results, to improve safety or reduce fuel consumption and pollution. Aeronautical engineers must make sure that the aircraft they work on are safe, reliable and economical to build and operate. They need to resolve any issues which arise during design, development and testing.
Aeronautical engineers often have supervisory or management responsibility for teams including other engineers and technicians. They participate in flight test programmes to measure take off distance, rate of climb, manoeuvrability and landing capacity.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Direct or coordinate activities of engineering or technical personnel involved in designing, fabricating, modifying, or testing of aircraft or aerospace products.
- Formulate conceptual design of aeronautical or aerospace products or systems to meet customer requirements.
- Plan or coordinate activities concerned with investigating and resolving customers' reports of technical problems with aircraft or aerospace vehicles.
- Plan or conduct experimental, environmental, operational, or stress tests on models or prototypes of aircraft or aerospace systems or equipment.
- Analyze project requests, proposals, or engineering data to determine feasibility, productibility, cost, or production time of aerospace or aeronautical products.
- Evaluate product data and design from inspections and reports for conformance to engineering principles, customer requirements, and quality standards.
- Maintain records of performance reports for future reference.
- Develop design criteria for aeronautical or aerospace products or systems, including testing methods, production costs, quality standards, and completion dates.
- Write technical reports or other documentation, such as handbooks or bulletins, for use by engineering staff, management, or customers.
- Review performance reports and documentation from customers and field engineers, and inspect malfunctioning or damaged products to determine problem.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Interests - Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Aeronautical Engineers love a challenge. They use their problem-solving skills to
- Create new methods of transport to keep up with growing demand.
- Improve the safety, speed and efficiency of air travel, while reducing air and noise pollution.
- Develop new kinds of rockets for space exploration and travel.
- Improve the design and safety of military aircraft, while reducing fuel consumption.
- Enhance navigation, control and communications systems for pilots.
You must be able to combine an analytical, logical approach with creativity and imagination to solve problems. An aptitude for physics and maths is beneficial.
Engineers must be able to work as part of a team. The ability to encourage other people's ideas is important, and you must also be flexible and able to compromise.
You will need strong communication skills to write reports and to explain complex engineering information to people from non-technical backgrounds.
You will need organisational skills to plan your own time and to co-ordinate resources and to work to demanding deadlines. Willingness to take on responsibility and to lead and motivate others is essential.
Engineers must have good information technology skills and an understanding of the business economics of the products and/or services that are being provided.
You should be willing to keep up-to-date with advances in technology in this fast-changing field.
Entry Requirements - Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineer
Entrants to this industry may hold a degree in a relevant discipline such as Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Electrical or Electronic Engineering, while some will specifically have studied Aeronautical Engineering. There are nine universities and thirteen institutes of technology nationally, offering a wide range of engineering programmes [See course list on this page].
Aeronautical Engineering graduates can find work in:
- The commercial aviation industry
- Government defence forces
- As flight crew in both commercial and defence aviation
- With research institutes
- With Space exploration centres
Employers of aeronautical engineering graduates include:
- Aer Lingus
- The Air Corps
- FLS Aerospace
- Rolls Royce and
- Ryanair to name but a few.
These can be accessed through the Directory of the Irish Aerospace Industry which is available from the Federation of Aerospace Enterprises in Ireland - [Website details available below].
Last Updated: June, 2016
Pay & Salary - Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 30k - 55k
Typical salary range representing Graduate/Starting Salary to Senior level potential
SOLAS, Smart Futures
Last Updated: June, 2016
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineer
Useful Contacts - Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineer
Federation of Aerospace Enterprises in Ireland
British Women Pilots' Association
- Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
- Click Here
International Society for Automation (ISA)
STEPS - Engineers Ireland