Published: 07th February 2018
When others fly into the skies, you have to make sure they are safe
Flight Engineers, among other things, check flight systems before, during and after the flight. They make sure that all parts of the plane are functional and handle any mechanical issues
We all know that in India, the aviation and tourism sectors are booming and it could well be the largest aviation market in the world by 2030. All this expansion is a result of having a number of low-cost carriers, modern airports and foreign direct investments in the sector. This will lead to a need for skilled manpower in the near future. By 2020, we’ll be number three in the world in this sector and by 2030, we should be number one. So, I am sure that aircraft engineering will be a stand-out career in the future.
We expect that Indian companies will buy more than 2,000 planes worth more than $300 billion. And with the support from the government and Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the scope is going to be huge. The demand for a skilled workforce will come from all quarters including MRO, ground handling, research and development, design and so on. Also, India is attempting to design their own line of passenger planes for the very first time in history. So, as far as career prospects are concerned, the sky’s the limit. You may have observed that foreign companies are shifting their base to Indian cities — this would create a large number of employment opportunities in the aerospace industry. To make sure that we produce a highly-skilled workforce, we will have to make some changes. We will need to revise our curriculum so that we are up-to-date with technology and practices that are prevalent everywhere.
Important part: Flight engineers are integral to the functioning of a plane
The number of airports and the aircrafts will increase exponentially in the years to come and a lot of engineers will be needed to handle the complex task of keeping them safe and running on time. Also, with government support and the advent of the Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) industry, a huge demand will be created for highly-skilled manpower and engineers. Now that a lot of private players are entering the market, the MRO will be conducted domestically rather than sending our aircrafts to other countries. This is how things will evolve.
Students will have to be prepared to take up challenges to learn new things after their education. Company training will be the key to acquire real knowledge and skills to enhance or add to their learning at the university. They must do a lot of value-added courses while studying to be more industry-ready. Today, the working environment is multi-disciplinary so a clear understanding of how aerospace engineering relates to other engineering disciplines is essential.
Flight engineers are experts in the mechanical instrumentation of a plane, including fuel gauges and landing gear. Their expertise is required both on ground and in-flight. Added perks include free travel
Good language skills and an ability to work in a team is crucial. Because the private sector needs employees with a plethora of skills — like the ability to respond creatively to complex problems, effective communication, teamwork and the use of technology to create knowledge — it would be wise for them to concentrate on these aspects going forward.
The universities will have to keep up with industry standards. So far, we haven’t designed any plan of our own, but as the maintenance side is picking up and is a big business in itself, the students are trained in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. All these things are going to be done in the country, which will automatically create a demand for people.
(Dr Anand Jacob Verghese is the Director and CEO of Hindustan Group of Institutions, based in Chennai. He is the member of Helicopter Association International (HAI), Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI), Aeronautical Society of India, Royal Aeronautical Society, United Kingdom (MRAes) and other such prestigious boards. He obtained his graduation in B S Engineering Management from the American International University, London in 1993. In the subsequent year, he pursued his MBA at Huron University, London. Recognising his contribution to research and development, he was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by the Dongguk University, Seoul, South Korea. Dr Anand Jacob Verghese is actively involved in the overall administration and development activities of the Hindustan Group of Institution for over 20 years and took over the reins in 2006.)