Careers in Aeronautical Engineering
Aeronautical or Aerospace Engineering deals with technology in the field of aviation, space exploration and defense systems. It specializes in the designing, construction, development, testing, operation and maintenance of both commercial and military aircraft, spacecrafts and their components as well as satellites and missiles. The main thrust in this area is on design and development, which extends to even space and satellite research. The job needs manual ,technical as well as mechanical aptitude. The specializations include in areas like structural design, navigational guidance and control systems, instrumentation and communication or production methods or it can be in a particular product such as military aircrafts, passenger planes, helicopters, satellites, rockets etc.The job apart from being highly specialized is very demanding on mental and physical faculty of the engineer.
Basically there are two types of courses in Aeronautical Engineering - one at the undergraduate and other at the Post-graduate level. The basic eligibility criteria for BE / B.Tech program in Aeronautical Engineering is 10+2 with Science ( Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) or equivalent examination with at least 60% of marks in aggregate. It is also mandatory to qualify in the Joint Entrance Examinations (J.E.E.) which is conducted by the IITs. Besides the IITs there are other institutes which also conduct their own separate entrance examinations for the admission of students. There are also many national and state level entrance exams for admission into this course. But most of the institutes conducting engineering courses in Aeronautics consider JEE score as the qualifying grade. Besides Diploma courses are also available in Aeronautical Engineering. The BE / B.Tech program is of four years duration while the Diploma program is of 2-3 years duration. For M.Tech or PhD program in aeronautical engineering one should have completed degree in (BE/BTech) aeronautical engineering or any other equivalent branches of engineering.
There is also the Associate Membership Examination of the Institute of Engineers (AMIE), which enables working people in the private and public sector, or diploma holders to acquire a Bachelor's engineering degree through distance education by studying the syllabus and appearing for the Associate membership examination of the Institute of Engineers (AMIE) conducted by ASI ('The Aeronautical Society of India'). This degree is equivalent to aeronautical engineering degree. Those with a degree in electronics, mathematics or physics can also find opportunities in this area.
Career Prospects In Aeronautical Engineering
Job opportunities for an Aeronautical Engineer in India, lies with various airlines like Air India, Indian Airlines, Helicopter Corporation of India and flying clubs, private airlines and government owned air service and aircraft manufacturers like the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) with its factories at Bangalore, Nashik, Koraput, Kanpur etc. Defense Research and Development Laboratories, National Aeronautical Lab (NAL), Aeronautical Development Establishment, Civil Aviation Department etc. The Defence services and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) also happen to be two major employers.
Initially, candidates begin to work as graduate engineer trainees or junior Engineers. Keeping in view their performance, academic background and aptitude, they are placed for training in the aircraft maintenance/overhaul or support section. On completion of training they are placed as assistant aircraft engineers or assistant technical officers. They have to clear departmental examinations for further promotions. They may advance to administrative or executive positions or become consultants. Aeronautical engineers are assisted by aircraft mechanics in maintenance of aircraft frame, engine, electrical system and other ancillary fittings.
Aeronautical Engineering is a remunerative and prestigious career option. Although salary of most of the Aeronautical Engineers depends on academic excellence and skill of the individual person, the average start up salary in this field ranges from 1.5 lakh to 3.0 lakh per annum. A highly skilled and experienced Aeronautical Engineer may get a salary of Rs 40,000-1.25 lakh per month. Generally the salary and perks are better in private sector than in government sector like various fringe benefits to their employees. The approximate starting salaries in the government /public sectors such as HAL, NAL, are Rs. 8,000 to Rs.10, 000. Those working in research organizations like ISRO and DRDO are getting Rs. 12000 to Rs 18000 per month. Engineering graduates with management degrees get a starting salary of Rs.10, 000 to Rs.40, 000 per month plus perks.
Colleges Offering Courses in Aeronautical Engineering
Aeronautical Engineering as a course is offered in many engineering colleges.Please click here for a list of colleges that offer courses in Aeronautical Engineering.