What does an Aeronautic Engineer do?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
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An aeronautic engineer studies, designs, and builds flying machines. Specialists in aeronautical engineering must possess a strong educational background in science and mathematics. They must also be prepared for a challenging occupation that may take them to a wide range of potential employers, from the armed forces to explorers of outer space.

The aeronautic engineer must possess specialized knowledge in several disciplines. For one, the understanding of air motion — or aerodynamics — is an area of study that those in aircraft engineering utilize every day, as is noise control, fluid flow, and propulsion, or the study of acceleration. Advanced mathematical principles found in calculus and linear algebra are also of keen importance. Creative, analytical, computer, and teamwork skills merge to create a well-rounded aeronautic engineer candidate. Foremost, a successful aeronautic engineer will combine intelligence with persistence and ambition.

Individuals should supplement a basic educational foundation with an advanced engineering degree — preferably a bachelors degree followed by a masters degree — for optimal employment options. Most reputable programs are accredited; the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology is the primary accrediting organization for institutions in the United States, for example. Many institutions offer specific aeronautic engineering degrees, but the similar content of many other engineering concentrations are such that an individual may also choose one of these areas. Common aeronautic engineering majors include mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, acoustical engineering, and automotive engineering. Once degrees have been obtained, a prospect will likely have to pass a certification test to receive licensure.

Several subspecialties offer a diverse range of aeronautical engineering jobs for prospects. One may wish to work in aviation, which places emphasis on aircraft that is heavier than the air itself. Individuals fascinated by space and subsequently space aircraft like rockets and satellites may find themselves enticed by aerospace engineering. The military represents another career area that makes frequent use of aeronautics and thus an aeronautic engineer may design and develop missiles or other air-based weapons. One of the most prevalent work opportunities for aeronautic specialists lies in the airline industry.

An individual aeronautic engineer will often further specialize with a particular skill set. Some ply their trade primarily in laboratories as analytical researchers. Such scientists may either deeply study basic physics or work as problem-solvers to apply these findings to unique aircraft issues. Other aeronautic engineers focus on designing aircraft components such as engines, usually in teams where different individuals design specific components. At the last step of aircraft development are the engineers who actually put together and inspect the aircraft: manufacturing and field service aeronautic engineers.

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