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MEng Aeronautics & Astronautics

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MEng Aeronautics & Astronautics

Old 7th Feb 2010, 15:53
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MEng Aeronautics & Astronautics

Hi guys, are there many jobs out there in the design, development and testing of aircraft (helis) for graduates of MEng Aeronautics courses. Are these types of jobs much sought after amongst graduates? And can graduates typically get jobs working on the design and development side or would the typical route be to do a stint as an aircraft engineer for a while before getting into the design testing?

I'm a heli pilot, but i would ideally one day like to get into the research/design/industrial side of aviation. I'm trying to work out if there are many jobs in the field? (regretfully i turned down a place to study Aero Eng at imperial a few years back for a number of reasons , however i am now considering reapplying . I am 24 with a first class honours degree in music & sound technology, and hold a commercial heli-license and instructor rating).

Any thoughts would be very much appreciated. If I graduate (again) at 28 will i have missed the boat for the grad schemes etc...

Thanks all
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 07:55
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I'd venture: yes, and no.

There isn't really a standard profile for a combined engineer and pilot - on the other hand there are a few of us around and most are doing very interesting jobs.

If you mean by "doing a stint as an aircraft engineer" working in maintenance, then whilst it's a useful opportunity if you get it, this is a very different qualification and skillset to those of a graduate and hasn't much to do with the sort of design / analysis / research jobs done by a graduate aeronautical engineer.

More likely you'll find yourself going in at the bottom as a "graduate trainee" post MEng; but, if you are any good, you should find yourself climbing the ladder into the more exciting jobs much more quickly than most as you combine the knowledge and skills gained in your flying with your engineering knowledge and skills.

I doubt that your age will worry anybody - it's not that unusual for people to make this sort of career-change decision in their 20s or 30s. The main thing to worry about is that the sort of jobs you're after will be relatively few and far between - but that's true for most of us in this game.

If you particularly want to work in helicopters (which is entirely understandably) then the UK field is even smaller: Westlands, Qinetiq, Lockheed-Martin, Southampton, Glasgow and Liverpool Universities, a couple of simulator companies - that's most of it. On the other hand the pool of good people who understand helicopters is also very small, so I'd not let that worry you too much.

If you are looking to a BEng/MEng and want to build on your helicopter knowledge then I'd particularly look at Universities who have specialist helicopter researchers - which is pretty much my list above. Most universities don't get heavily involved in rotary wing. If their publications in Aeronautical Journal are anything to go by, then Liverpool University under Professor Gareth Padfield are by far the biggest helicopter research group in the UK at the moment.

Genghis the Engineer is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2010, 13:35
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Aucky - check PMs.
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 13:57
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My only advice is to go for it. My own experiences are too long ago to be relevant these days. I would guess that design/testing jobs are even harder to get into now.
I did an MSc at Cranfield in the mid-70s - Gareth's name seems familiar from those days.
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 13:59
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Genghis, thanks so much for your thorough and very useful reply. I have been looking most predominately at southampton at the moment, and hadn't considered or researched liverpool, but thanks to your advice i shall do (likewise with the others you have mentioned). It's both realistic but also encouraging at the same time to hear that there are (some) positions out there in the field i ultimately hope to work in, although one must obviously prove their worth, not a bad thing

Age is not a major concern but still something that i feel it's prudent to consider, not that i consider my self old at 24 but leaving uni at 28 and looking for positions that 22/23yr olds will be fighting for i need to check i have a fighting chance.... Hopefully they wont have CPL's/Instructors ratings (if thats worth anything)

Whisty thanks also for your input, definitely another avenue to research. Djpili agree, i have always been of the outlook that it's better to chose an avenue and go full heartedly at it than float around considering options. Just picking the right one to go for

much appreciated guys

All the best
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 14:26
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I guessed that you might be looking at Southampton: the term "Aeronautics and Astronautics" is only used there; most others use "Aerospace Engineering" save possibly Brunel which uses "Aviation Engineering". I'd not get too hung up on the title however.

The thing to watch with selecting University courses for somebody like yourself is that you are going to be taught by people who really are world-class in their subject understanding. Generally, that means the top researchers. For helicopters, the three universities I mentioned have the best in the UK (which to a fair extent still thankfully means world-class).

As it happens, all three are also very good universities, so you're unlikely to regret studying at any of them. Other very good aero universities include Imperial, Loughborough, Sheffield, Brunel (which is new to the game but developing nicely), Manchester and a few others - and of-course Cranfield, but Cranfield whilst superb, only offers postgraduate degrees. That does give you the option however of doing a 3 year BEng(Hons) somewhere else then applying to do one of the 1-year Cranfield MScs, which are probably the best set of aerospace engineering MScs in the world, and includes one (Flight Dynamics) with a heavy flight test bias

Genghis the Engineer is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2010, 15:58
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Further to Genghis's last, there is usually potential for second first degree applicants, particularly if their first degree is in a numerate discipline, to gain entry to courses at an advanced level, cutting the amount of time spent at Uni. However, risks are associated with this approach.

Incidentally, the worst tp I ever worked with had a PhD. Professionally active pilot-engineers aren't always what you might think. Lovely man but really could do it all himself! Having said that, you'd be a pretty rare commodity with a professional engineering qualification, active in the field and having commercial flight experience too. Go for it, you never know
Old 9th Feb 2010, 16:05
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If I was in your position I would go Cranfield uni for the Masters, then Eurocopter or other such large company. I work in avionics engineering and just finishing MSc in Air Transport Management at City University.

Although my love is the technology and business side of aerospace, my next aim is most likely to do just enough pilot training to add credibility without breaking the bank...

It sounds like you are coming the other way and I feel you will have no difficulty persuading the project managers of your value...

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Old 16th Feb 2010, 23:42
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I wonder whether you would be well positioned for a future position in the AAIB as an Inspector, taking your future formal engineering quals on top of your pilot quals? I don't know exact details of what AAIB would look for but guess you could ask them if you were interested in this side of aviation, you could view it as providing advice to get future aviation designs right since you stated design as an aspiration.
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Old 17th Feb 2010, 12:07
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You could also consider going to the USA. I did my aero MSc at M.I.T - I was lucky enough to win a Kennedy Scholarship to pay for the first year, but then I worked as a teaching assistant for the second year. Other colleagues worked as research assistants. Whichever job you choose, your tuition fees are (or were) waived, and you receive a decent living allowance.

By the way, decent jobs are not easy to get afterwards. Despite four fluent languages and qualifications up to my ears - I now work as an ordinary pilot, and consider myself lucky to have just that...

If I were to do it again, I would have entered the military - the possibilities are much greater if you have military tp background.
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Old 17th Feb 2010, 13:16
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... but Cranfield whilst superb, only offers postgraduate degrees. That does give you the option however of doing a 3 year BEng(Hons) somewhere else then applying to do one of the 1-year Cranfield MScs, which are probably the best set of aerospace engineering MScs in the world.

This is what I did - a BEng (Hons.) followed later by an MSc in Aerospace Propulsion at Cranfield. My advice would be that if you have the chance, do it - you will not regret it. People really do sit up and take notice if you have a Cranfield MSc on your CV - when meeting my current employer that was the first question he asked me.

For the record, I was 27 when I arrived at Cranfield.
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Old 17th Feb 2010, 14:37
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If you are interested in the management side of things, City University does:

MSc Air Transport Management
MSc Air Safety Management
MSc Aircraft Maintenance Management

About 30% attendees are pilots (mostly airline), the rest a mix of ground support, business people and engineers.

It is a good course, flexible modules and is in the centre of town. Which is nice

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