Aerospace engineering and operations technicians operate and maintain equipment used in testing new aircraft and spacecraft. Increasingly, these workers are being required to program and run computer simulations that test new designs. Their work is critical in preventing the failure of key parts of new aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. They also help in the quality assurance, testing, and operation of advanced technology equipment used in producing aircraft and the systems that go into the aircraft.
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians typically do the following:
Meet with aerospace engineers to discuss details and implications of test procedures
Build and maintain test facilities for aircraft systems
Make and install parts and systems to be tested in test equipment
Operate and calibrate computer systems so that they comply with test requirements
Ensure that test procedures are performed smoothly and safely
Record data from test parts and assemblies
Install instruments in aircraft and spacecraft
Monitor and ensure quality in producing systems that go into the aircraft
New aircraft designs undergo years of testing before they are put into service, because the failure of key parts during flight can be fatal. As part of the job, technicians often calibrate test equipment, such as wind tunnels, and determine the causes of equipment malfunctions. They also may program and run computer simulations that test the new designs.
Some aerospace engineering and operations technicians are beginning to specialize in three-dimensional printing, or additive manufacturing, as this technology becomes more common in the work they do.