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Aeronautical Engineer



Make flight possible by building aircraft components.

What does an Aeronautical Engineer do?

Airplanes and helicopters have thousands of functioning parts, each of them vital in ensuring the machine flies safely and efficiently. The same goes for missiles for air defense, or hydrofoils, which lift up, hover, and fly. Creating these objects is the challenging and fascinating job of an aeronautical engineer. As an aeronautical engineer you design, construct, evaluate, maintain, and improve your assigned parts of aircraft.

It takes an entire team of aeronautical engineers because each small change affects other areas of an aircraft’s design. Take, for example, the installation of airplane seats. You need to consider the weight of each seat. If you make a design change to work around a bulkhead or add an additional row, the weight variation may affect the required propulsion and therefore necessitate a higher output from the engines. Thus this one component affects the engineers responsible for materials, process, layout, engines, and propulsion.

This is a complex field, and there are dozens of different specialties you can choose from: You might specialize in engines, propulsion, materials, electronics, or hydraulics.

Whichever area you work in, your job is to solve problems. Are the storage compartments too heavy? Does the landing gear cause too much drag? Do the wings’ materials hold up to the air pressure at high speeds? If the current system works, you maintain it and look for improvements. If the system doesn’t work, you consider aerodynamic theories and your toolbox of computer-aided design (CAD) programs to design and implement a new one.

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