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Flight path

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:18 IST
Hindustan Times
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The lowdown
Aeronautical engineering is a specialist discipline that branches into aircraft and aerospace engineering. An aeronautical engineer is involved in design, manufacture, testing and engineering. S/he updates components, and ensures that all documents concerning regulatory compliance are in place. However, it is licensed aircraft maintenance engineers and not aeronautical engineers who are authorised to inspect, maintain and certify aircraft

Clock Work
An average day of an aeronautical engineer with a public sector manufacturing company depends on the type of job he is doing. The main work areas are manufacture, overhaul, product support, quality control, component/systems design reviews, test flying of aircraft etc. So the daily routine is different in each case. The activities listed below are largely performed by quality control engineer, whose average day with a public sector aircraft manufacturing

company is:
9am: Vet the reports from operations, safety and airworthiness departments
1pm: Lunch
1.30pm: Work on malfunctioning instruments/test sets
4pm: Take the instruments to the testing lab for checking
5.30pm: Collect all reports from the boss
6.30pm: Push off for home

The payoff
An assistant engineer in a public sector aircraft manufacturer earns Rs20,000 to Rs30,000 a month. In the private sector, s/he makes Rs20,000 to Rs25,000 a month

. High levels of patience and perseverance required to work long hours
. One should have a love for flying machines
. Good communication skills
. One should be a hard worker

Getting there
Take science with physics, chemistry and maths (PCM) in Class 12. Then go for a degree/diploma programme in aeronautical engineering. If you cannot join a conventional college, take ASIe’s Associate Membership Examination, conducted every six months, leading to a qualification equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Aspirants should have passed Class 12 with 50 per cent marks each in PCM. Of the 4,000 enrolees taking the exam, a hundred make the grade. ASI gives meritorious candidates a monthly stipend of R3,000 while they get on-the-job training

. PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh
. Manav Rachna International University, Delhi
. Amity University, Delhi
. Madras Institute of Technology
. Aeronautical Society of India
. Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram
. Indira Gandhi National Open University
. IITs, Bombay, Kharagpur, Madras and Kanpur, offer degrees in aerospace engineering

Pros and cons
. It’s great if you are interested in this field and like to deal with the latest technological systems
. After retirement, you can work as an adviser or facilitator
. Work might include bureaucratic tasks as well
. High-precision, high responsibility job - you cannot afford to err
. Can get very demanding at times
. Extremely challening and demands a lot of attention and concentration
. One should keep oneself updated with the latest technologies around airplanes
. One needs to keep a tab on the latest releases and product launches in the aviation industry

The [job] situation is by and large very encouraging at this stage. New recruitments might be getting restricted — there might be fewer openings now — but seeing the boom in the market, there is scope for aeronautical engineers.
HC Bhatia, (Retd.) secretary (administration), Aeronautical Society of India, New Delhi