Kartik lived very close to the airport in Mumbai. Every 5 minutes he could see an aircraft either landing or taking off. It all seemed very fascinating to him. He always wondered, “how does this huge piece of machine work?” As a kid he had always played with a toy plane, dismantled it and put it back several times. But his keenness had now made him to think about it seriously. This made him look upto Aircraft Engineer as career option. Globalization of the Indian trade and business sector has given great boost to the aviation industry in India. It is one of fastest growing sector of our country today.
Aviation industry includes the airports in the service of the industry, the airlines and the people working in these. Broadly, jobs in this industry can be categorised into two groups: ground personnel and flight personnel. Ground staff takes care of activities like air traffic control, airport and aircraft maintenance, cargo handling, ticketing and reservations. The flying staff, apart from pilots and airhostesses, takes care of activities like flight engineering and navigation. Of many career avenues available in the field one very prominent one is being the Aircraft Engineer.
Aircraft Engineers generally specialize in Mechanical or Aeronautical engineering. Mechanical engineers service and overhaul engines and airframes while Aeronautical engineers specialize in the maintenance of instruments, electrical and electronic equipment, navigation, radar and radio communication. Flight engineers make pre-flight inspections and are responsible for the efficient performance of the aircraft during the flight.
They diagnose and deal with any systems failures, manage repairs, report any defects to maintenance and later check that they have been dealt with. Aeronautical Engineering thus deals with the design, construction and maintenance of both commercial and military aircraft. A course in this branch of engineering encompasses a study of fluid dynamics, material science, structural analysis, propulsion and electronics. This course offers specialisations in aerodynamics, thermodynamics, propulsion, structures, celestial machines, acoustics and guidance and control systems. To be an aeronautical engineer one should have a graduate degree (B.E/B.Tech.) or at least a diploma in Aeronautics.
The entry eligibility for Mechanical/Aeronautical Engineering is 10+2 with PCM scores. Some of the Institutes (alphabetically arranged; list indicative) offering Mechanical/Aeronautical Engineering are: Birla Institute of Technology (BITS) – Pilani and Ranchi Indian Institute of Technology (IIT’s) National Institute of Technology(NIT’s) Most of the regular Engineering colleges offer degree in Mechanical engineering. Madras Institute of Technology offers a one year Postgraduate Programme in aeronautical engineering for B.Sc. students. School of Aviation Science and Technology at Delhi Flying Club, New Delhi, too conducts a Basic Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Certificates (B.A.M.E.C)/Aircraft Maintenance Engineers License Training Programme. Apart from the above mentioned institutes there are several others across India which offer various courses in Aircraft Maintenance. Being an Aircraft Engineer is not an easy job.
A tremendous amount of coordinated activity by trained personnel and hi-tech equipment guided by administrative mechanisms have made international and national air travel safe as well as efficient. The qualities required to be successful in the field are: Ability to concentrate Ability to work in a team Alertness Calm and even temperament Good Communication Skills Managerial skills Patience Strong sense of responsibility Technical aptitude Employment opportunities can be found with government owned airline companies, flying clubs and private airlines.
Besides these options employment is also available with Defence Research and Development Laboratories, National Aeronautical Lab, Aeronautical Development Establishment, Civil Aviation Department and other places. Aeronautical Engineers get the opportunity to work with the most technologically advanced branches of engineering. The field is thus very challenging and full of scope.