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TOPIC: How to be a flight test engineer?

How to be a flight test engineer? 1 week 6 days ago #999

  • jerint92
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As a young engineer, how can i be more involved in flight test? The flight test community seems to be very tight nit and to break into the community has been a struggle so far. Currently i have been working as a structural engineer at Pratt and Whitney, where i have been mostly doing structural analysis, covering ground and flight test and data analysis for components used in a jet engine. My goal has always been a flight test engineer, and for the last 2 years i have sent countless resume and talked to countless people and so far i haven't made any progress. I would really appreciate any advice that can get in regards to being an FTE or position that maybe available as an FTE. I have attached my resume with this post.
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How to be a flight test engineer? 1 week 5 days ago #1000

  • hunterbloch
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Hello Jerint,

Does P&W provide any continuing education resources? I have not had a chance to look at your Resume yet, but one thing I know from experience is that there are quite a few flight test courses across the nation that you could take to better fill out your education. Many companies provide some sort of financial assistance to attend education courses and once you complete them you will have some good practical education to use in your resume/interviews. A few of the courses I know of are through University of Kansas, Georgia Tech and Florida Institute of Technology. Also, It is often beneficial to look internal to your current company for flight test opportunities since they will have a good idea of your company worth right off the bat.

If you can work on the side to obtain a pilots license or A&P certificate it helps as well for trying to break into the FTE world. By obtaining these sorts of training you show a genuine interest in aviation along with knowledge of the reasons behind some of our testing.

Finally you could consider the military as an option. They have many FTE's in their ranks, both enlisted and civilian, but I don't have a lot of experience with how to access that path.

I will try to look at your Resume and see if I can give you any other inputs.

Feel free to ask me any other questions you like.

P.S. Just saw this other thread with similar information. check it out. www.sfte.org/members-only/community/sfte...ifications-education
- Hunter Bloch
Last edit: by hunterbloch. Reason: added information

How to be a flight test engineer? 1 week 5 days ago #1001

  • guygratton
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Hi Jerint,

I come at this as an greybeard ex-FTE, still active in Flight Test, albeit more as a researcher and test pilot.

Several things jump out at me in your CV

- You have no flying experience
- You are not a member of any organisation active in flight test, the most obvious being SFTE, but the RAeS or AIAA would be a reasonable second best / additional.
- The mismatch between your current job title, and what you say you do. Are you not helping yourself by trying too make it sound like your structural engineering job is actually a flight test job? FT department managers have well calibrated BS detectors, and it's best not to set them off.
- You apparently have no hobbies? Where are the couple of lines about the radio controlled model aeroplane you're currently developing? Hobby time, especially at your age, is available to build up employability - my student and early graduate years I was very active in model rocketry and amateur space programmes, and that definitely helped me get my first FT job at Boscombe Down. Plus most of us would rather work alongside human beings, not robots - we want to know that you have done something apart from work and study when we're hiring.

Basically then, I think...

- Get some flying lessons, preferably to the point of having a licence to fly something - anything as a qualified pilot, and put that on your CV.
- Use your leisure time to engage in airborne R&D type activities like model rocketry, hang-gliding, building a kitplane, helping restore a jet at the local aviation museum.
- Join SFTE, and either RAeS or AIAA.
- Don't BS! It gets spotted far too easily.

And of course once you are a member of the learned societies, attend appropriate meetings, gain knowledge that way, and NETWORK. If the folks who attend these know you exist, and have formed a favourable impression of your engagement at society events, then they tend to start making you aware of job opportunities.

Guy.G
Last edit: by guygratton.

How to be a flight test engineer? 1 week 5 days ago #1002

  • jerint92
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Hey, Guy

Thank you for your input, i really appreciate your time looking into it. I probably should re-word some things on my resume and I would really appreciate on revision

-I wanted to clarify a bit on my job title right now, though I work as a structures engineer, my job mostly is to validate the test data that we get from ground and flight test. Once the parts are built they are assembled, tested and that's where I come in, I basically look at the engine during test run and basically say " hey it's working or no its not working as intended", this means that i have to help with setting up the limits for these parts that are being tested, so i help with writing test cards that are intended to simulate that type of response that we hope to see.

- I agree with getting a privet pilots licence, and that's something that I'm currently working on.
-I'm part of a glider club, but i really wasn't sure if that was something i should add.
- I'm part of SFTE


All in all this was really insightful. I honestly, can say that I now have a list of tasks that I can now work on. Again, I really appreciate your time
Jerin

How to be a flight test engineer? 6 days 10 hours ago #1003

  • guygratton
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Hi Jerin,

Just building on that. Yes, absolutely, institution memberships and grades, flying qualifications, and within reason your hobby interests belong in your CV / Resume. A line on non-aviation hobby interests (so long as they're active and interesting: such as model aircraft building, or team sports) also absolutely have a place.

I've certainly rejected people simply because they came across as so boring I really did not see them as fitting in with a close-knit team of human beings, who often have to spend a lot of time close together.

Put yourself in the position of a hiring manager in an FT department - what do they want to see? Qualifications of course, professional engagement, an active interest in the technical aspects of aviation outside of work, and a human being who will fit in with their team: who to a man and woman will all have both a strong work ethic, and strong personalities and outside interests.

Incidentally, there's no real need to space stuff out and specify every narrow aspect of your job. Everybody likes brevity. Conversely, if you've got measurable achievements you can point out - point them out! Any projects you've led, publications achieved, and so-on.

How to be a flight test engineer? 2 days 1 hour ago #1005

  • Lesteringham
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