1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Aerospace Engineering job roles?

  1. Sep 4, 2017 #21

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Almost every Boeing air-frame can be converted from civilian to military use. That is part of the reason that they are still in the military aircraft business,. Lets lay out the three air framers in the US, we already talked about Boeing. Lockheed is the fighter house along with some transport (C-130 which isn't being produced now). Northrup Grumman is the bomber supplier along with drones, that is not to say they have a lock on the market, both Boeing and Lockheed have a foot in the door, maybe not as much. You can say that Boeing builds the F-18, but in reality, that was awarded prior to Boeing purchasing McDonnell-Douglas.

    Yes he does....

    Look above. The fact of the matter is that any civilian aircraft can be upgraded for military use, the converse isn't usually true.
     
  2. Sep 4, 2017 #22

    FactChecker

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes, and every telephone can be also used by the military. That doesn't say so much. Most modern US bombers, fighters, attack planes, gunships, cargo planes, tankers, and reconnaissance planes have been new developments. Several of the planes converted from commercial designs have primarily been used by other (not US) countries.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  3. Sep 4, 2017 #23

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Off the top of my head, I can think of two Boeing products that were converted for military use, the 737 for the P8 already mentioned and the 767 for the air force tanker. Both existed prior to the conversion, that is why they were picked, a major part of the non-recurring engineering was already done and written off. Clean sheeting an aircraft is very expensive, that is why civilian versions are converted. The P8 wasn't sold outside the US until it had been fielded, the tanker was initially sold to other countries and those sales counted for risk reduction for the US market.
     
  4. Sep 4, 2017 #24

    FactChecker

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The 767 was picked because of fraud and the US contract was cancelled. It was developed largely from Boeing funds and is being operated by some foreign air forces. The P8 is one example that I will admit. But those are the exceptions rather than the rule.
     
  5. Sep 4, 2017 #25

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    And there is the problem. The OP works on the 737, happily knowing it's a civilian airplane, and he's not doing defense work. Then one day the Navy buys a bunch.

    Perhaps so. Boeing certainly has paid a lot of fines. But the KC-46 is in production, and will be delivered next year.

    There are also small USAF-operated transports based on Gulfstream and Learjet aircraft.
     
  6. Sep 4, 2017 #26

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If the OP works for Boeing, the chances that anything they work on will be used for military purposes is pretty high. If they don't like the paycheck, they are more than welcome to leave and find another employer.

    Working in aerospace in the US has nearly a 100% chance it will be converted or used in some way shape or form for military use.
     
  7. Sep 4, 2017 #27

    FactChecker

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I can see modifications of commercial planes for cargo and tanker use, but I can't imagine it for anything that has very demanding military-only requirements. The tanker requirements will probably begin to include stealth that will not allow conversions of commercial planes. Not sure about cargo. There is too much requirement these days for speed, stealth, maneuverability, survivability, carrier operations, short runways, etc. that would force a new design.

    If the OP wants his efforts to not be usable by the military, then he has a problem with almost anything he does. Because of the unique military airplane requirements, airplanes may be one of the better choices.
     
  8. Sep 5, 2017 #28
    Thanks for all your replies. Do you's think its a bad idea to do an aero eng undergrad degree in uni even though I prob won't be an aerospace engineer? because here in the UK the aero and mech eng programmes have exactly the same core modules as each other and the 'applied' modules for aero are based on air & spacecraft, and for mech they're just applied to machinery in general. So the two programmes are very similar so some employers don't see a distinction. I know learning aerodynamics, propulsion etc can be useful in areas other than aero, so what do you guys think?
     
  9. Sep 5, 2017 #29

    FactChecker

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I would recommend getting the degree that best matches your job goal.
     
  10. Sep 5, 2017 #30
    I am aware of only one case were an aerospace engineer got put into a different field (There is bound to be plenty more). He focused his consecration around heat dissipation surfaces and thermodynamics. He now works on cooling systems for Caterpillar. Yeah, there is a fair bit of overlapping between ME and AE but as @FactChecker said, get a degree in what you want to do. Even if you end up not doing AE you can still study it out of interest, no one is going to come to your house and take all you books from you. :smile:

    Only other option is to start your own AE company and keep all your IP private.
     
  11. Sep 5, 2017 #31
    The only other organisation I can think of that is not government funded and has not sold any of its IP to the Defence sector is Bigelow Aerospace, but that doesn't mean they won't. Then again its an American company so getting an ITAR certification is very hard and even then you might be restricted, so companies don't bother with it unless you're an expert in some critical field.

    Edit: I think they are also heavily affiliated with NASA so I am sceptical of how there projects are actually funded.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted