An aerospace, or aeronautical engineer applies scientific and technological principles to research, design, develop, maintain and test the performance of:
- civil and military aircraft;
- weapons systems;
- space vehicles.
They also work on the different components that make up these aircraft and systems.
The role is focused on improving flight safety, fuel efficiency, speed and weight, as well as reducing system costs and using advancing technologies to meet customer needs. Increasingly, the role addresses the environmental impact of air travel.
You can specialise in a particular area such as propulsion, avionics, systems integration, aerodynamics or materials and structures. The aerospace industry is well established in the UK with jobs available in UK-owned and international aerospace companies.
Typical work activities
Specific tasks vary according to the role, specialist area and employer but they may include:
- applying the principles of science and technology to create aircraft, components and support equipment;
- researching and developing design specifications;
- undertaking systematic manufacturing, involving the assembly and modification of components;
- supervising the assembly of airframes and the installation of engines, instruments and other equipment;
- participating in flight test programmes to measure take-off distances, rate of climb, stall speeds, manoeuvrability and landing capacities;
- resolving issues that arise during the design, development and testing processes;
- maintaining aircraft for full operation including making regular inspections, maintenance and servicing;
- measuring and improving the performance of aircraft, components and systems;
- modifying designs to improve safety features or minimise fuel consumption and pollution;
- developing repair procedures as well as working out and managing schedules for repair and maintenance;
- investigating aircraft accidents;
- collating information, interpreting data and publishing the results of specific projects in technical report form;
- using computer-aided design (CAD) software to create designs and plans;
- storing paperwork for approved data (drawings, technical instructions, assessments and calculations);
- working with teams, suppliers, clients and managers to agree budgets, timescales and specifications;
- project managing, including scheduling resources and staff and managing budgets;
- communicating technical and regulatory advice to clients, teams, suppliers and other professionals within the aerospace industry and presenting data to groups and individuals.
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