Aeronautical Technologist

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Aeronautical Technologist


If you have ever flown in an airplane, then you have personally experienced the creation of an aeronautical engineer and their hard-working assistants -- the aeronautical technologists. In the future, we will witness the invention of faster, more technological and environmental aircrafts. Thanks to aeronautical engineering technology, aircraft travel has become easily accessible and has narrowed our world into a much smaller place.

Aeronautical technologists use their knowledge of aerodynamics, structural design, propulsion engines and navigation to help in the design, manufacture, maintenance, testing and use of aircraft. They work with engineers at the leading edge of technology, developing products that change the way we think about the world we live in.

Most aeronautical technologists specialize in a particular area such as flight testing or simulation, aerodynamics, structures and materials, navigation, communication and structural dynamics. Those specializing in aerodynamics deal with the forces generated by motion through the air which affect aircraft performance. They work with design engineers and use computers and wind tunnels to simulate flight. Technologists may alternatively decide to specialize in a particular product such as airplanes, helicopters, surveillance systems or simulators. The commercial industry is always looking for more improved aircrafts and related products.

Another related area aeronautical technologists may decide to work in is investigating airplane crashes, including recovering and examining debris, interpreting "black box" information and determining the cause. This vital research can be used when design teams build new aircraft, so that the same problems will not occur again. Air crashes are usually a big fear amongst travellers therefore, technologists and engineers work toward preventing potential disasters.

Aeronautical technologists use computer-aided design (CAD) to assist them in design work and to help them analyze the effects and potential problems in the designs, such as malfunctions and breakdowns. In their research and design, they are also looking for the most cost-effective solutions to all endeavors. Due to the rapid pace of the industry, aeronautical technologists are required to constantly update their skills and knowledge in order to keep up with technological advances.
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  Interests and Skills  
Aeronautical technologists must have creative, scientific, mathematical and inventive minds. They must demonstrate patience, motivation, determination and perseverance and have strong problem-solving skills. They must be excellent communicators and team players, since an aircraft requires the work of a number of people working together toward a common end product.

Aeronautical technologists have to know about aircraft structures, aircraft engine systems, aerodynamics (how aircraft fly), approved design techniques, thermodynamics (the effects of heat on aircraft) and metals. They must also understand civil aviation laws and regulations and engineering principles.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Design and develop aeronautical vehicles, systems and components
  • Design modifications to systems such as fuel or air conditioning and outline installation procedures
  • Coordinate the manufacturing, assembly modification, repair and overhaul of aircraft
  • Coordinate ground and flight tests of air and spacecraft using aerodynamic techniques
  • Develop the technical phases of logistical and operational support for aeronautical vehicles and systems
  • Investigate and report on structural or other component or system failures, accidents or incidents and prepare recommendations for corrective action
  • Aeronautical technologists work primarily indoors in offices and testing laboratories. They spend a considerable amount of time working on computers, designing and researching. Aeronautical technologists usually work standard hours but may be required to work longer hours to meet project deadlines. They often experience a great deal of pressure and stress to meet deadlines or design standards.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Aeronautical technologists are employed by aircraft manufacturers and air transport carriers. Technologists can also work in the public service in government departments and educational and research institutions. Employment as an aeronatical technologist is usually situated in larger metropolitan cities and on military bases.

  Long Term Career Potential  
With experience and education, aeronautical technologists may obtain employment as aeronautical engineers, designers, planners, inspectors, cost estimators, quality assurance coordinators or even purchasers. They can advance to technical supervisory or managerial positions, or become self-employed in consulting.

  Educational Paths  
Completion of a two or three year college program in aerospace engineering technology is usually required for aeronautical technologists. A certification in aerospace engineering technology or a related field is available through associations of engineering or applied science technologists and technicians, and may be required for some positions.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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