With the right qualifications a job as an aircraft design engineer can be lucrative and rewarding.These jobs typically involve working on the design of specific areas of aircraft, so you might be an expert in structural design, working on the main body of commercial, military or cargo aircraft; or be focused on the design of interior galley and cabin fittings, waste disposal systems, or the design and installation of electrical and oxygen systems.
Design engineers will create complex designs of aircraft interiors, primary or secondary structures, or mechanical systems to meet customer criteria, ensure quality standards, meet FAA requirements, and stick to budget and project schedules. Drafting designs and meeting clear industry specifications will be a major part of any aviation design job.
The requirements for aviation design jobs – sometimes called aircraft structural engineer or aviation design engineer jobs – will likely be a degree in Aerospace Engineering or a Masters in Aerospace Engineering. Hiring companies will often be looking for experience of working on a particular area of aviation design – perhaps experience of working on heavy commercial Airbus aircraft, or knowledge of cargo loading systems design. Some jobs specify experience and knowledge of VIP aircraft interiors, or even design of ongoing repair schemes, to give two other examples of specialist work in this field. It will be essential to have experience of Computer Aided Drafting/Design software such as AutoCAD and Inventor.
Employers of aviation design engineers are the aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, TAI and Bombardier Aerospace, or large commercial airlines such as British Airways, American Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa.
Aircraft design engineers must be great project managers – organized and willing to report in great detail on the work they are carrying out. Sometimes aviation design engineers will need to work very hard on certain details that are not particularly interesting. However these elements of the job are essential to prove the worthiness and safety of that element of the aircraft.
Sometimes there is time pressure and there can be administrative challenges around keeping reports and specifications up to date, and keeping several parties up to date with progress of design work.
Salaries of aircraft design engineers tend to be in the region of £35,000 (US$65k) to £45,000 (US$71k)p.a.
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