ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERINGAeronautical Engineering is the science involved with the study, design, and manufacture of flight-capable machines, or the techniques of operating aircraft. Aeronautical engineers are responsible for the research, design and production of aircraft, spacecraft, aerospace equipment, satellites and missiles. aeronautical engineering is divided into two options.
1. Airframes and EnginesAircraft Mechanics Aircraft Mechanics is the first of the three modules covered for one to attain a Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering,
Airframes and Engines Option.The lessons uder aircraft mechanics designed to equip the trainee with relevant knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to carry out Aircraft Line Maintenance duties and related support ground equipment. The trainees are expected to acquire skills in
Information Communication Technology, , Entrepreneurship, Mathematics, Engineering Sciences, Airfield and Safety Procedures. Aircraft systems
Gas Turbine Engines is one of the study topics under this unit covered for one to attain a Diploma or degree in Aeronautical Engineering, Airframes and Engines Option. The unit is designed to equip the trainee with relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to carry out maintenance of airframes and power plant and other related support ground equipment. Therefore the trainees are expected to coverMathematics, Industrial organization, thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, airframes technology, airfield and safety procedures, Gas turbine engines and Flight mechanics.
The trainee will also be required to do a trade project. The module covers Gas Turbine Engines and the sub modules necessary for the trainee to effectively carry out all the maintenance of an aircraft to the requirements of the various concerned national regulatory bodies. On completion of training the graduate may be employed in the aviation industry as an aeronautical Engineer (Engine and Airframes) Technician.
General Objectivesa) Appreciate the importance of communication in the work place b) Communicate effectively c) Demonstrate entrepreneurial behaviour d) Understand the principles of flight e) Understand the general safety and procedures observed during aircraft maintenance and handling f) Perform line maintenance work on aircraft
Avionics are the electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites, and spacecraft. Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems, and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to perform individual functions.
These can be as simple as a searchlight for a police helicopter or as complicated as the tactical system for an airborne early warning platform.
The term avionics is a portmanteau of the words aviation and electronics. some of the modules/units under avionics may include,
the data and computer networks.
This module unit provides the trainee with the knowledge, skills and attitude needed to design, install, test and maintain data and computer networks some of its Objectives may include some of the following.a) Demonstrate the knowledge of the concepts of data and computer networks b) appreciate the need for error detection and control in data transmission links c) understand multiplexing and encoding schemes d) understand the various switching techniques e) analyze the various types of computer networks f) appreciate the need for data compression and multimedia applications
The duties and responsibilities of an avionics Aeronautical engineer
the duties and responsiblities are to ensure that the folowing Areas of an aircraft are in perfect shape. these areas include some of the following,
Communications connect the flight deck to the ground and the flight deck to the passengers. On‑board communications are provided by public-address systems and aircraft intercoms. The VHF aviation communication system works on the airband of 118.000 MHz to 136.975 MHz. Each channel is spaced from the adjacent ones by 8.33 kHz in Europe, 25 kHz elsewhere. VHF is also used for line of sight communication such as aircraft-to-aircraft and aircraft-to-ATC. Amplitude modulation (AM) is used, and the conversation is performed in simplex mode. Aircraft communication can also take place using HF (especially for trans-oceanic flights) or satellite communication.
Navigation is the determination of position and direction on or above the surface of the Earth.
Avionics can use satellite navigation systems (such as GPS and WAAS), inertial navigation system (INS), ground-based radio navigation systems (such as VOR or LORAN), or any combination thereof. Some navigation systems such as GPS calculate the position automatically and display it to the flight crew on moving map displays. Older ground-based Navigation systems such as VOR or LORAN requires a pilot or navigator to plot the intersection of signals on a paper map to determine an aircraft's location; modern systems calculate the position automatically and display it to the flight crew on moving map displays.
Fuel Quantity Indication System (FQIS) monitors the amount of fuel aboard. Using various sensors, such as capacitance tubes, temperature sensors, densitometers & level sensors, the FQIS computer calculates the mass of fuel remaining on board. Fuel Control and Monitoring System (FCMS) reports fuel remaining on board in a similar manner, but, by controlling pumps & valves, also manages fuel transfers around various tanks.
To supplement air traffic control, most large transport aircraft and many smaller ones use a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS), which can detect the location of nearby aircraft, and provide instructions for avoiding a midair collision. Smaller aircraft may use simpler traffic alerting systems such as TPAS, which are passive (they do not actively interrogate the transponders of other aircraft) and do not provide advisories for conflict resolution. To help avoid controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), aircraft use systems such as ground-proximity warning systems (GPWS), which use radar altimeters as a key element
Commercial aircraft cockpit data recorders, commonly known as "black boxes", store flight information and audio from the cockpit. They are often recovered from an aircraft after a crash to determine control settings and other parameters during the incident.
Weather systems such as weather radar and lightning detectors are important for aircraft flying at night or in instrument meteorological conditions, where it is not possible for pilots to see the weather ahead. Heavy precipitation (as sensed by radar) or severe turbulence (as sensed by lightning activity) are both indications of strong convective activity and severe turbulence, and weather systems allow pilots to deviate around these areas.
Aircraft management systems
There has been a progression towards centralized control of the multiple complex systems fitted to aircraft, including engine monitoring and management. Health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS) are integrated with aircraft management computers to give maintainers early warnings of parts that will need replacement. The integrated modular avionics concept proposes an integrated architecture with application software portable across an assembly of common hardware modules. It has been used in fourth generation jet fighters and the latest generation of airliners.
General Duties and responsibilities of aeronautical Engineers
Aeronautical engineering is one of the most challenging branches of engineering. It has a wide scope of growth in the field of engineering. This field is concerned mostly with the technical as well as the mechanisms of the flying aircrafts. This is an emerging field. This field deals with the development of new technologies in aviation and defence systems. This field mainly consists of the construction, designing, working, testing, operation, maintenance of the space craft’s, satellites, missiles, space vehicles, etc.
Aeronautical engineers use their technical knowledge to improve flight safety and fuel efficiency, reduce costs and address the environmental impact of air travel. They also work with aircraft that operates in space such as robots and satellites. Aeronautical engineers typically work in multidisciplinary engineering teams where responsibilities include,assessing design requirements agreeing budgets, timescales and specifications with clients and managers undertaking theoretical and practical research producing and implementing designs and test procedures measuring and improving the performance of aircraft, components and systems assembling the aircraft or fitting components testing, evaluating, modifying and re-testing products writing reports, manuals and documentation providing technical advice investigating the causes of plane crashes analysing and interpreting data.
Typical employers of aeronautical engineers
Aeronautical engineers may be office-based, or they may work in aircraft workshops, production hangars or aeronautical laboratories. Local and national travel between sites may be necessary.
Typical employers include,
Key skills for aeronautical engineers
The work environment is multidisciplinary, so a clear understanding of how aeronautical engineering relates to other engineering disciplines is essential. Given the frequency of international partnerships, and the ability to work as part of a team is crucial.
Aeronautical engineers must also have,strong mathematical, analytical and problem solving skills technical expertise creativity and innovative thinking attention to detail a strong awareness of safety issues communication skills, both verbal and written project and time management skills a commitment to keeping up to date with technical developments the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
How aviation safety has improved
Aviation accidents continue to horrify till this day, yet safety has been the highest priority for the aviation industry over the past 100 years. Technology, training and risk management have together resulted in laudable improvements.
Safest form of travel
Despite the recent tragic loss activity, flying is often said to be the safest form of transport, and this is at least true in terms of fatalities per distance travelled. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, the fatality rate per billion kilometres travelled by plane is 0.003 compared to 0.27 by rail and 2.57 by car. Statistically, you have more chance of being killed riding a bicycle or even by lightning. The chances of dying in an air crash in the US or Europe are estimated to be 29 million to one.
Fatal accidents have fallen every decade since the 1950s, a significant achievement given the massive growth in air travel since then. In 1959, there were 40 fatal accidents per one million aircraft departures in the US. Within 10 years this had improved to less than two in every million departures, falling to around 0.1 per million today.
The improvements in safety are even more impressive when the increase in air traffic is considered. In 2014, the world’s airlines carried a record 3.3 billion passengers in 2014. There were 641 fatalities and 12 fatal accidents last year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
While the fatality rate significantly increased year-on-year (there were 210 fatalities in 2013), IATA says commercial aviation safety is still at “the lowest rate in history” based on hull losses per one million flights.
By these figures, the 2014 global jet accident rate was 0.23, the equivalent of one accident for every 4.4 million flights. This was actually an improvement over 2013 when the global hull loss rate stood at 0.41 (an average of one accident every 2.4m flights). Both beat the five-year rate (2009-2013) of 0.58 hull loss accidents per million flights. Go back 50 years – when airlines carried only 141 million passengers – there were 87 crashes killing 1,597 people.
The improvement in airline safety is down to a combination of several factors, although the introduction of the jet engine in the 1950s stands out as a major development. Jet engines provide a level of safety and reliability unmatched by the earlier piston engines. Today, it is said that engine manufacturers have almost eliminated the chance of engine failure.
The introduction of electronics,
most notable the introduction of digital instruments – known as the ‘glass cockpit’ in the 1970s – and the advent of fly-by-wire technology in the 1980s are also notable achievements, driving safety improvements. Improvements in sensors, navigation equipment and air traffic control technology, such as anti-collision control systems, have also played a role.
In 20 years’ time we may see more fundamental changes in aviation technology, driven by the economic and environmental concerns of fossil fuels
While technology has helped drive improvements in the aviation industry’s safety record, great strides in safety management systems and insights into human factors have also contributed significantly.
“Aviation accidents are a chain of events that almost always involve an element of human error,” Downey says.
“However, the safety culture in the aviation industry has changed significantly during my career. Flight training has become a more controlled and professional environment with the development of recurrent training. The utilization and technological enhancement of flight simulators has been one of the biggest changes I have witnessed.”
Recurrent training, in which pilots and crews refresh their skills and prepare for emergency situations, was initially introduced in the airline sector and is now making a positive impact in all sectors of aviation, explains Downey.
“Safety management systems have radically changed the view of the human factor in the airline sector and are now making an impact in the general aviation world,” he says.
Another important safety development in recent decades has been in the area of crew or cockpit resource management and the monitoring of data, which are aimed at reducing the risk of human error. For example, cockpit data monitoring systems – including digital audio and visual recording equipment – are now widely used to identify safety trends that can be addressed by training, as well as to investigate causes of accidents.
Improved safety is also a reflection of the aviation industry’s first-class risk management and increasing ability to identify problems before they become a significant issue. Air accident investigations and aircraft safety inspections are now more effective, while improvements in manufacturing technology and better quality control are also making aircraft safer.
“Aviation companies have always focused on safety - but the tools available to run airline risk management departments and identify problems before they become critical, have improved greatly,” says Schweighart.
Where next for safety? While the accident rate improved yet again in 2014, questions remain over the industry’s ability to maintain safety improvements in the future.
Further improvements in safety, while likely, are not guaranteed, according to Thomas Cahlik, Head of Mediterranean, Aviation, AGCS. Aviation experiences periods of innovation – such as the recent development of composite materials or lithium batteries– which can nevertheless result in losses.
IATA notes that, given the projected growth in air travel, hull losses would double without further safety improvements. It has set a goal of further reducing the accident rate, but says that new and improved ways of managing safety will be required, such as with the greater use of data analytics.
Tapping into the potentially vast pool of data collected by more than 27 million flights each year – rather than just the handful of flights where something goes wrong – will be key to improving safety in the future, according to IATA. For example, the airline industry is now looking to make greater use of data through IATA’s Flight Data Exchange (FDX), which uses flight recorder data to identify systemic risk issues.
New technology - new risks The aviation industry’s impressive safety record in recent decades is in large part a reflection of technological developments introduced and then honed in the second half of the 20th century. Subsequent generations of jet aircraft have generally proved safer than the last.
The piston-driven aircraft that dominated the world’s airline fleet in 1960 had an accident rate of 27.2 accidents per million departures. The second generation of aircraft in the latter half of the 1960s and early 1970s, which included the Boeing 727 and the DC-9 jet airliners, had an accident rate of 2.8 accidents per million. The current generation of aircraft have an accident rate of 1.5 accidents per one million departures.
Aircraft design may eventually have to change more dramatically, especially if flying is to be kept affordable as fuel costs climb in the future. This could bring about new forms of propulsion – such as electric, hybrid or solar powered planes – radical new airframe designs, as well as new techniques, like assisted take-offs or unpowered landings.
“In 20 years’ time we may see more fundamental changes in aviation technology, driven by the economic and environmental concerns of fossil fuels.,” says Josef Schweighart, Head of Aviation Germany, AGCS.
New materials and computer-aided aviation In the meantime, the aviation industry continues to innovate, most recently with the introduction of composite materials and the increasing use of digital technology and electronics.
“The new generation of airliners are very innovative, but it will take time – at least several years – to see how resistant the materials will be,” says Thomas Cahlik, Head of Mediterranean, Aviation, AGCS.
Many of the new technologies have helped improve safety, such as better cockpit instrumentation displays and fly-by-wire systems. However, technology has a potential for creating unanticipated consequences, according to Jon Downey, Head of Aviation – US, AGCS.
“Once, pilots relied on their ‘steam gauges’ and had very little live data at their fingertips. Now the information available can be overwhelming,” he says.
While ‘glass cockpit’ technology gives much better visual awareness it also raises issues, as was seen in the loss of the Air France Flight 447 in 2009 with 228 people on-board. Accident investigators concluded that the pilots became confused by the plane’s instrumentation and took inappropriate action when the Airbus 330 flew into turbulence during a tropical thunderstorm over the Atlantic Ocean.
Concerns over pilot’s reliance on automation in the cockpit were also raised by the Asiana crash in 2013.
“What we see now is an increasing reliance on technology, that pilots may not fully understand, that at some point this can diminish a pilot’s situational awareness and stick and rudder skills,” says Downey.