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Monday, June 21, 2010

Career Option Aeronautical - Aerospace Engineering

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Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineering is one of the most challenging fields of engineering with a wide scope for growth. This field deals with the development of new technology in the field of aviation, space exploration and defence systems. It specialises 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 specialisations includes 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. Engineers may work in areas like design, development, maintenance as well as in the managerial and teaching posts in institutes. They find a very good demand in airlines, aircraft manufacturing units, air turbine production plants or design development programmes for the aviation industry. 

As an Engineer in Indian Air Force 
As an Engineer, you can soar into a rewarding and challenging career in the Indian Air Force. You can even join the Technical Branch in your final or pre-final year of engineering through the University Entry Scheme 

Flying Branch 
You are trained either as a Fighter pilot, or a Helicopter pilot, or a Transport pilot and are a part of various peace and wartime missions. 

As an engineer, you enter the Flying branch through the Air Force Academy. 
The following are the three modes of entry for engineers to join the Flying branch: 

Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) 
You can take the Combined Defence Services Examination (conducted by UPSC) to join the Flying branch of the Indian Air Force. Men can join the Air Force through this mode of entry and will be given a Permanent Commission.

Combined Defence Services Examination Pattern: 
It consists of three sections. It is of objective type with each section carrying 100 marks each. 

English- This section consists of questions based on synonms, antynoms, reading comprehension, spotting errors, ordering of sentences, ordering of words in sentences 

Elementary maths- This section consists of questions based on Algebra, Arithemetic, Geometry etc 

General Knowledge- This section tests the candidates knowledge in current affairs and General awareness 

National Cadet Corps 
As a senior division 'C' Certificate holder of the National Cadet Corps, you can apply to the Flying branch of the Indian Air Force. Men can join the Air Force through this mode of entry and will be given a Permanent Commission. Men & Women (Short Service Commission) with Term of Engagement of 14 Years with no extension 

Both men and women are eligible to apply for short service commission in the flying branch.” Short Service Commission in Flying branch is for 14 years with no extension. 

First Class ( min 60 % aggregate marks ) BE(Four years). 
Final Year students can also apply, provided they don’t have any backlog and min 60 % aggregate marks in the previous year/ semester. 

Advertisement Schedule :March and September Every Year 
Technical Branch 
As an officer in the Technical Branch, you would be in charge of some of the most sophisticated equipment in the world. 

You can apply for the Technical Branch via any of the two schemes listed below:

Direct Entry Scheme 
After you have completed your engineering, you can join the Technical Branch through the Direct Entry Scheme. Both men and women can use this mode of entry to apply to the Indian Air Force. 

Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics) 
Permanent / Short Service Commission 
As an Aeronautical Engineer in the Electronics stream, you will be responsible for the communication and signals required on the Air Force station. You will also be in charge of the execution of preventive maintenance and servicing of aircraft. With further in-service training, you could also move to the repair and overhaul divisions of the Indian Air Force. 

Eligibility criteria: BE / B.Tech in Electronics / Telecommunication / Electrical / Electrical Communication / Electronics & Communication / Instrumentation / Computer Science & Engineering or a combination of these subjects. Or B Tech in Radio Physics and Electronics / Optics and Opto Electronics 

Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) 
Permanent / Short Service Commission 
After you join the Indian Air Force as an Aeronautical Engineer in the Mechanical stream, you could be placed at a position that requires you to be involved with preventive maintenance and servicing of aircraft or of common user and specialist application vehicles. You could also be involved in the safety and maintenance of firearms and ammunition at an Air Force Base. 

Eligibility: BE / B.Tech in Aeronautical / Mechanical / Production / Industrial Production 
Entrance Test: If your have applied to the Technical Branch you will be required to appear the Engineering Knowledge Test (EKT). 

EKT: Engineering Knowledge Test is a common test aimed at testing basic Engineering knowledge of the candidates.EKT is an objective type test and has two parts. 

Part A: General Engineering: 40 Questions 
Part B: Specialist paper for each Engineering discipline.Questions will be based on their respective Core branch subjects. 

Duration: 1 Hour 
Ground Duty Branches 
Managing human and material resources, the Ground Duty Branch is the mechanism that steers the Indian Air Force. There are numerous opportunities for both men and women to build a challenging career. 

You can join as an officer in any of the following Ground Duty Branches: 
  • Administration Branch
  • Logistics Branch
  • Education
Administration Branch 
Permanent/Short Service Commission 
As an officer in the Administration Department, you will be responsible for the efficient management of both human and material resources. Some of the officers of the Administration Branch are selected to carry out the following duties also: 

  • Air Traffic Controller As Air Traffic Controller, your core responsibilities will involve maintaining an orderly flow of traffic and airspace management.
  • Fighter Controller As Fighter Controller, you will be posted to an Air Defence radar unit and will be responsible for close contact and supervision between the air and radar for effective airspace management.
Permanent/Short Service Commission 

As an officer in the logistics department, you will undertake material management of all Air Force resources. From clothing to aircraft equipment, you will ensure efficient supervision of inventories, and availability of necessary items to all operators and users. Eligibility: First class (Min 60%) Graduate or Second Class (Min 50%) Post Graduate in Arts / Science / Commerce / Management / Engineering or LLB . 

Entrance Test: For non tech ground duty branches, you would require to appear for a Common Entrance Test (CET) 

CET: Common entrance test is a tool to access the Proficiency of the candidate in English and General Awareness,for selection in ground duties Branches.CET is of objective type and has two parts. 

Part A:English(Grammar and Usuage) And General Awareness: 30 questions:20 minutes Part B: Descriptive test in English 

  • Reading Comprehension: 5 questions
  • Letter Writing
  • Paragraph writing
Duration: 30 minutes 
Advertisement Schedule: March and September Every Year 

Selection Process: 
The selection process for all the above Branches is similar. It consists of 4 stages. 
Step 1 – Scrutiny of Applications: After initial scruning of applications based on the requirements the shortlisted candidates will be called for the respective Written test based on the brach they select. 

Step 2 – Testing Officer Like Qualities 
If you have successfully cleared Step 1, you will receive a call letter to report to any one of the Air Force Selection Boards located at Dehradun, Varanasi and Mysore. At the Air Force Selection Boards, you undergo a number of psychological tests, an interview and group activities, which are collectively called the Officer Like Qualities (OLQ) Tests. 

These tests are designed to gauge your potential and suitability as an officer in the Armed Forces. 

  • The Psychological Tests are written tests that are conducted by a Psychologist.
  • The Group Tests are interactive indoor and outdoor tests.
  • The Interview involves a personal conversation with our Interviewing Officer.
These tests will be explained to you in detail before they are conducted at the Selection Board. 

The following is the schedule for OLQ Tests: 

ScheduleFlying BranchTechnical BranchGround Duty Branch
Day 1Pilot Aptitude Battery 
Test* (Phase I)**
Intelligence Tests/ 
Psychological Tests
(Phase I)**
Intelligence Tests/
Psychological Tests
(Phase I)**
Day 2Phase I & Psychological
Group testsGroup tests
Day 3Group testsGroup testsGroup tests
Day 4Group testsInterviewInterview
Day 5InterviewConferenceConference
Day 6Conference

* Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) is a unique test. It is aimed at assessing a candidate’s aptitude to be trained as a pilot. PABT is being used as an independent selection device to induct potential officers into Flying Branch of Indian Air Force. PABT comprises three tests viz Instrument Battery Test (INSB), Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA) and Control Velocity Test (CVT). Instrument Battery Test (INSB) is a paper pencil test and other two are machine tests. The Instruments Battery Test (INSB) comprises two parts. This test assesses assimilation of the briefing and the ability of an individual to read and interpret the dials of an instrument panel of an aircraft. The candidates who score the minimum laid down criteria are subjected to the machine test. The machine test includes Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA) and Control Velocity Test (CVT). These tests measure the psychomotor co-ordination skill of the individual. These tests are conducted on a single day and administered only once in life time. 

** Phase I of testing gets over on 1st day for all type of entries except NDA/CDSE/NCC/Direct entry for which it gets over on second day. Only those candidates who qualify in Phase I shall be retained at AFSB for further testing of Phase II. NDA/CDSE candidates who do not qualify the PABT will still be tested for their second/third choice. 

At the conference held on the last day, all the assessors i.e. the Psychologist, Ground Testing Officer and the Interviewing Officer, discuss your personality and decide on recommending you or not. Those recommended by the AFSBs will require to fill up certain documents at the Boards and subsequently move to the next step. 

Step 3 – Conducting of Medical Examinations 
Step 4 – Preparing All India Merit List 
An All India Merit List is compiled on the basis of your performance at the AFSB and subject to being medically fit. Based on the vacancies available, Air HQ would issue joining instructions to join Air Force Academy for the training. 

Job Prospects & Career Options 
Aeronautical Engineers work with one of the most technologically advanced branches of engineering. The main thrust in this area is on design and development of aircrafts to space and satellite research. Jobs are available with the national, international, public and private Airline Services as well as aircraft-manufacturing units. 

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 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. 

Engineers in government organisations, are paid official scales while those in the private sector are paid according to the scales decided by the management of the company. 

The approximate starting salaries in the government /public sectors such as HAL, NAL are Rs. 8,000 to Rs.10,000 (excluding other allowances). In the private sector, the scales are decided by the management of the company and are approximately Rs.8,000 to Rs.15,000 per month plus perks. Engineering graduates with management degrees get a starting salary of Rs.10,000 to Rs.40,000 per month plus perks. Entrepreneurs can earn above Rs.20,000/- per month. Airline professionals get fringe benefits of free travel for self and family also, apart from numerous other perks

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