03 Oct Aeronautical structural engineer
Aeronautical structural engineers simulate the performance of the structure of a plane or its components so as to certify their operation or to evaluate their wear condition. It is a guarantee of the integrity of the plane.
Aeronautical structural engineer : what are their tasks ?
Structural engineers create a finite element model from specific or internally-developed software.
In collaboration with designers, they test the capacity of the material to resist loads and stresses. Beyond using software, they must have evidence of a developed physical sense and control the environment of the component in terms of assembly or maintenance. Computations may be applied to linear or non-linear elements. As required, the analysis will be along the lines of static computation, fatigue strength or strength in flight dynamics. This involves good knowledge of computational methods and industrial processes associated with this sector of activity. This profession is constantly changing and needs constant adaptation to technological advancements, particularly in terms of composite materials. The tasks may vary from pre-dimensioning designs to compiling certification dossiers.
After several years of experience, engineers can direct their career in two different directions: project management or technical expertise. They will therefore change to managerial tasks or technical supervision or even become a specialised expert. Teams are often formed of various profiles, which facilitates exchange of experience.
What are the necessary skills ?
Excellent expertise in modelling software is necessary. The tools most used are : nastran, patran (structural computations), catia elfini (structural modelling), radioss, ansys, abaqus, i-deas (finite element simulation), pamcrash (crash test simulator). Knowledge of current programming languages is desirable.
Aeronautical structural engineers must be capable of managing the progress of projects and creations. They must know how to work independently, following technical practices and prove that they are very versatile.
Good interpersonal skills are required to ensure the technical interaction with various internal teams or those of the customer. This position involves a good sense of responsibility. Faults and potential problems must be raised with the project team or the customer.
Good editorial skills are needed to provide design reports and test dossiers.
What training do you need to get there ?
You can get into this profession after education in a university or school of engineering, in general or aeronautical engineering. Specialisation in structural mechanics or design mechanics would be much appreciated. The choice of industrial placements during initial education is important so you can acquire good practical skills in the dedicated tools and good knowledge of the aeronautical environment.
How much does it pay ?
The starting salary of an engineer is around € 2 650 per month. With 2 to 3 years of experience, the salary may change to € 3 000 per month