Posted: 9/6/2013 11:37:44 AM EDT
I'm looking at a layoff coming up. It's my time to go to college and get edumacated.
I'm considering aerospace engineering, then try to be a liason engineer for one of the following:
Triumph aerostructures-contractor for many makers
Bell- multiple plants i the area
I have hyd and airframes experience, then at current job it's all airframe, fuse panels, vert and hori stabs, aft bodies, pressure domes....
Anyone work in that area can tell me anything about it?
I'm a liaison engineer at a large aerospace company. What do you want to know (specifically)?
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Course study, degree, work type you do, thatsort of thing.
<<< Civil-degreed engineer, which I freely admit is easier than aerospace; however even the "easy" engineering programs are hard.
How are you with advanced math? You'll need a minimum of 10 hrs calculus (possibly more) and at least one semester of dif eq.
That's for any legitimate accredited engineering degree; the specifics will depend on your school and program.
All physics and chemistry courses will likely need to be calculus-based as well; forget that 101-level stuff you may have taken already.
Did I mention the math? There is some math involved. Not trying to scare you off; just understand that this is not an easy goal you've set for yourself.
You have to want it and want it bad; you have to have that fire inside that keeps you at home crunching homework while your friends are living life and having fun.
Get through it, network the whole time, and there is a payoff at the end. Take internships if available.
The aero guys will have to give you the current outlook for that particular field.
As far as course study; you're getting into a lot of math, physics, and some computer programming. Any engineering degree will require calculus, physics, differential equations, mechanics (statics and dynamics), some sort of drafting/modeling classes, and some sort of intro to programming (matlab, C, etc). On top of that as an aerospace engineer I had a handful of courses in aerospace structures, propulsion theory/design, spacecraft design, aircraft design, fluid dynamics, modeling and simulation, vibrations, thermodynamics, gas dynamics, applied aerodynamics, labs, etc, etc.
Makes sure the school has an accredited engineering program (my company won't recognize you as a liaison engineer if you don't come from an accredited program) and preferably one with a Co-Op/internship program. The co-op will allow you to feel it out and makes sure you're doing what you want to be doing (and gives you some work experience.
In my current liaison position I work with electrical, mechanical, civil, and aerospace engineers. We've had a couple civil engineers come in who didn't know the difference between a rudder and a flap, but after a bit they ended up working just fine. As long as you know your engineering fundamentals you can adapt.
My group works assembly nonconformances. Essentially when something doesn't meet the engineering definition we either find a way to make it work, or throw it away. This could be anything from mislocated fastener holes, to large machinings that are damaged when a mill crashes. We have to make sure that the nonconforming part can still take the design loads (while maintaining a margin of safety) and perform the designed function. We spend a fair amount of time in the shop environment and work hand-in-hand with the guys who build the product to make sure that whatever repair we give to them can actually be accomplished (nothing like trying to get a rivet gun into a tight area). We get to be 'hands on' and work on all parts of the product (crew systems, flight controls, structures, landing gear, etc).
Since we work with all of the product we're kind-of a 'jack of all trades, master of none' type so we do a lot of coordination with experts in their relative fields (landing gear structures, or crew systems for example).
Production schedules usually keep things stressful, but theres nothing more rewarding than watching your work fly away.
Thanks Neppo, that's what I need.
right now I write up the nonconformance, then hand off to our liason engineers, who sometimes send it to the OEM, so I'm fairly familiar with that process. To be honest my math skills arent what I'd call stellar, and a few TBI didnt help any. Having not been in a college environment in 20 years It'd be tough at first.
To be honest my math skills arent what I'd call stellar...
If you have some college algebra and trig under your belt, this will be the best $22 you've ever spent:
The Calculus Tutor
I'm not affiliated in any way, but this guy's Calc 1&2, Advanced Calc 2, and Calc 3 DVDs got me through on the first try.
Simple step-by-step solutions presented logically and in solid Midwest American English.
Math is a language; trying to learn a new language is hard enough without struggling to understand Chinese or Indian too.
With that experience you can probably forego the college with the co-op/internship. Knowing the process and getting the experience is half the battle.
Ween your way back into the math. I know some engineers who weren't great at math and they made it through okay...they just had to work a lot harder than some of us.
I love working with LEs who have an assembly and inspection backgrounds; they know the tools, processes, and structure so they usually work up some solid and straight forward repairs.