Aircraft Engineers Job Description
Having had a career with the US Air Force for 22 years I would like to specialize in aerodynamic engineering. Aerodynamics engineering involves designing, constructing, renovating, and testing aircrafts and missiles. Aerodynamic engineers also design technical reports and other related documents like handbooks and bulletins used by the engineering staff, management, and the customers. Therefore, such engineers require appropriate training in human resource management skills such as team work, organization, communication, conflict management and problem solving skills. For example, given the technicalities involved in aerodynamics, engineers should be capable of making sound and timely decisions. Sadraey (2013) asserts that aerodynamic engineers must always make decisions which are not only well thought, but also take into account all the material facts. As such, having worked with USAF, I have the skills required for this job. Particularly, I have learnt to develop technologies for aviation, defense systems, and space explorations.
Aerodynamics engineers’ main tasks include: designing new aero products; researching, building and testing the products; formulating design criteria for aerospace products and systems such as quality standards, cost control procedures, and safety standards (Houghton, 2012). The engineers also develop supportive systems and software that ensure quality and efficiency of all the products; innovating and improve performance of existing products; formulating mathematical models and computer aided analysis in order to meeting customer needs and maintaining records for future reference (Houghton, 2012).
Tools and Technologies
Since aerospace are rapidly evolving, engineers in this field must be updated on the most recent changes. This means that the engineers must attend regular seminars, read widely, and conduct regular researches and experiments. Most importantly, aerodynamic engineers need to have wide knowledge on computer aided techniques to assess the efficiency of the newly developed products. The engineers must also possess skills in safety. For example, they must be able to use tools which help flight crew reduce risks that might arise due to procedural deviations. Since aerospace engineering involves various tasks, the engineers should have excellent skills in coordinating with the other team members. Design teams must always ensure that their activities go hand-in-hand with the fabricating team. Human resources department can assist the engineers through creating an enabling environment. For instance, the department should supply its engineers with equipments that can help them perform to their best capabilities. Such equipments include efficient communication and data analysis computer hardware and software systems. Houghton (2012) argues that knowledge in data analysis skills and software help aerodynamic engineers in analyzing project requests, proposals, and engineering data. This specifically involves identifying information required for special purposes and detecting changes in aerospace technologies which need more attention.
Skills and Abilities
Aerodynamic engineers should possess multiple skills. First and foremost, the engineers should be able to use computer programs to develop software, set up functions, gather data and process information. Secondly, they must possess decision making and problem solving skills. For example, in order to meet customer requirements, the engineers must analyze information from different sources and choose the best techniques that would help meet such needs. Thirdly effective functioning with colleagues, requires aerodynamics engineers to communicate regularly especially with their supervisors, colleagues and subordinates. This means that such engineers should be taught how to maintain healthy relationships with all the stakeholders in the aerospace industry.
Academic entry requirements for aerodynamic engineering are mostly degree in relevant fields such as mechanical engineering, computer science/software engineering, physics and applied mathematics. In addition, candidates for aerodynamic engineering must meet four basic abilities: First, they must have the capability to apply knowledge in science, mathematics, and engineering in solving specific aerospace problems. Sadraey (2013) cites that aerospace engineering have four key expertise areas: aerodynamics, flight dynamics, propulsion, and structure. However, qualified aircraft engineers employ all the four concepts. Secondly, aerodynamic engineers must have the ability to function effectively on multidisciplinary teams. This is because the discipline involves techniques that forces engineers to seek assistance from other specialists. For example, in order to design products that meet customers’ demands, aerospace engineers often work closely with the marketing or customer relations team.
Thirdly, aerodynamic engineers must have basic education required to understand engineering solutions’ impacts on aerospace, global, economic and environment. Sadraey (2013) asserts that good aerospace engineers should correctly evaluate the various design systems and technologies that are employed to meet the customer’s desired needs. In most cases such needs are determined by the economy, environmental issues, social, politics, ethics, healthcare, and safety. This means that the best engineers manufacture aerospace products which combine all these factors. For example, excellent airplane should be environmentally friendly, comfortable, cost effective, safe and long lasting.
Currently, many leading aerospace companies offer graduate training programs for students pursuing any of such degree programs. For example, aerospace engineers at the United States Air Force first complete Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical engineering or related engineering course (Wildsmith, 2012). Such degree courses often prepare students for research and development, testing, and operations. At the same time, USAF engineers must demonstrate the ability to acquire knowledge and improve their respective units’ performance by applying organization skills, communicate and lead others effectively. This proves that I have high abilities to meet job specifications required for aerodynamic engineering.
In conclusion, given the technicalities involved in the aerospace industry, engineers who have excellent problem solving abilities and knowledge in the field have added advantage over those possessing average skills in both. In most cases, such skills increase with experience. That is, the more a person works, the more knowledge and experience he/she acquires. In other words, employers often prefer candidates with at least five years experience. Therefore, my 22 years experience at USAF means that I would be a great aerodynamic engineer.
Houghton, E. L. (2012). Aerodynamics for engineering students. Waltham, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Sadraey, M. H. (2013). Aircraft design: A systems engineering approach. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley.
Wildsmith, S. (2012). Joining the United States Air Force: A Handbook. Jefferson: McFarland & Co., Publishers.
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