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Federal Aviation Engineering Position Description
General In formation: The FAA, as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense employs engineers of all specialties to work on research and development problems in aviation, such as V/ STOL (very short takeoff and landing) aircraft, aircraft sound, the sonic boom, hypersonic aircraft, and new equipment and devices to increase aviation safety. Engineers also provide guidance in airport design, construction, operation and maintenance.
The facilities, devices and machines needed by the Federal Aviation Administration to carry on its work require the services of a number of engineering specialists.
The Aerospace (Aeronautical) Engineers develop, interpret, and administer safety regulations relating to airworthiness of aircraft and their accessories. They analyze and evaluate manufacturers' designs, set up test procedures, observe tests, and furnish engineering advice to manufacturers. They deal with such problems as vibration, flutter, stability, control, weight, and balance, aerodynamic characteristics, etc.
The Electrical Engineers deal with power sup ply, distribution and standby power generation required for the operation of air navigational aids. They are also involved in the design and evaluation of airport and runway lighting and electrical equipment aboard aircraft.
The Electronic Engineers are concerned with designing improved electronic navigational aids and communications systems. They may design, develop, modify, or oversee installation, calibration and maintenance of ground and airborne electronic equipment. They recommend location of aids. The Mechanical Engineers are concerned with the design of gasoline and diesel power plants for standby power generation in case of emergencies. They are also concerned with heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment at FAA installations. Some mechanical engineers check out such things as the performance of new types of aircraft engines, fuel systems, and fire detection devices. The Civil Engineer involved in the airports program deals with a broad range of airport design, construction, and maintenance matters. FAA involvement in these matters is in the area of providing advice and guidance to civil airport developers with particular emphasis on airports developed with Federal grants-in-aid.
An interesting alternative to working in the private sector is a career in government. Many highly responsible aviation positions are to be found in the FAA and other Federal agencies. In addition, state and local government agencies are involved in aviation.
Among its many functions in aviation, the FAA is responsible for controlling the movement of aircraft throughout the nation, establishing and maintaining electronic navigation aids, licensing pilots and aircraft mechanics, and certifying the airworthiness of aircraft.
A major source of aviation careers lies in jobs with federal, state and local government agencies.
Civil aviation careers in the Federal Government for men and women are found within the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration; the Civil Aeronautics Board; and a growing number of other Federal departments and agencies. All of these aviation jobs come under the Federal Civil Service, and wage scales are determined by Congress, which, from time to time, adjusts the pay levels to bring them in line with comparable jobs in private business and industry. Salaries for Federal Civil Service employees are established into two chief categories: General Schedule (for those employees who perform administrative, managerial, technical, clerical and professional jobs and who are paid on an annual basis) and the Federal Wage System (for those employees who perform jobs associated with the trades and crafts and who are paid wages on an hourly basis).
Most Federal Civil Service employees in the aviation field are covered by the General Schedule and their salaries vary according to their grade level (GS-1 through GS-18). Within each of the grades provided in the General Schedule, provision is made for periodic pay increases based on an acceptable level of performance. With an acceptable level of competence, the waiting period of advancement to steps two, three and four is one year, steps five, six and seven is two years, steps eight, nine and ten is three years.
Forty hours constitutes a normal work-week. Additional payment (called premium pay) is made for shift work involving duty between 6 o'clock p.m. and 6 o'clock a.m. and for work during Sundays and holidays. Merit promotions are awarded under provisions of a Civil Service approved merit promotion plan.
Most federal employees under Civil Service participate in a liberal retirement plan. Employees earn from 13 to 26 days of paid annual vacation, depending upon the length of service, and 13 days of paid sick leave each year. Health insurance, low-cost group life insurance, credit union service, and compensation and medical care for injury on the job are other benefits offered.
The largest number of aviation jobs found within the Federal Government (outside the Department of Defense) is with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the Department of Transportation. The FAA, with a total of approximately 47,000 employees, is charged with the administration and enforcement of all federal air regulations to insure the safety of air transportation. The FAA also promotes, guides and assists the development of a national system of civil airports. The FAA provides pilots with flight information and air traffic control services from flight planning to landing.
The engineer works at a desk in an engineering laboratory or outdoors conducting or observing tests of equipment during a forty-hour week. Travel may be required as the engineer consults with aircraft and engine manufacturers and with suppliers of all kinds of equipment related to the engineering specialty. Engineers may travel to consult with state and city officials who need Federal funds for building or improving airports and to military bases where equipment is tested.
Typical Requirements and/or Experience
A Bachelor of Science degree in engineering is required, or four years of technical engineering experience and training that provides technical knowledge equal to that possessed by a graduate engineer. None to three additional years of experience are required depending upon entry grade level.
A Bachelor of Science degree in engineering is required, or four years of technical engineering experience and training that provides technical knowledge equal to that possessed by a graduate engineer.
Married and unmarried men and women, with or without children are eligible. Persons who are widowed or divorced, also are eligible.
It is the policy of most aviation companies to provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Most aviation companies are strongly committed to this policy, and believe in the concept and spirit of the United States law.
Most aviation companies are committed to assuring that:
All recruiting, hiring, training, promotion, compensation, and other employment related programs are provided fairly to all persons on an equal opportunity basis without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law;
Employment decisions are based on the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action;
All personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, training, and participation in social and recreational programs are administered without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law, and;
Employees and applicants will not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination because they have exercised any right protected by law.
Most aviation companies believe in and practice equal opportunity and affirmative action. All employees are responsible for supporting the concept of equal opportunity and affirmative action and assisting the company in meeting its objectives.
Most aviation companies maintain Affirmative Action Plans for minorities, women, disabled persons and veterans.
EEOC has jurisdiction of the prohibitions against employment discrimination codified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) enforce the prohibitions against federal employment discrimination codified in the CSRA. The OSC will defer those bases of discrimination under EEOC's jurisdiction to the respective federal agency and its EEO process. The CSRA also prohibits employment discrimination in the federal government based on marital status, political affiliation and conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee, none of which are within EEOC's jurisdiction. Moreover, the law defines ten other prohibited personnel practices in the federal government, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the OSC and the MSPB. See Prohibited Personnel Practices at http://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm.
Additional information may also be found on the the EEOC web site located at http://www.eeoc.gov/
Wages and Benefits
Most Federal Civil Service employees in the aviation field are covered by the General Schedule and their salaries vary according to their grade level (GS-1 through GS-18). Within each of the grades provided in the General Schedule, provision is made for periodic pay increases based on an acceptable level of performance. With an acceptable level of competence, the waiting period of advancement to steps two, three and four is one year, steps five, six and seven is two years, steps eight, nine and ten is three years. Trainees are paid while learning their jobs.
GS-5 to GS-14 are beginning salaries, depending upon previous experience and educational background.
Salaries and benefits can vary. For an updated look at salaries in the aviation industry, view the Avjobs.com Salary Report.
Where the jobs are and who hires
Engineering jobs are located at FAA Headquarters, district, and regional offices, at NASA Headquarters and centers, and at certain military bases scattered throughout the nation.
Opportunities for Advancement
Promotion is normally from within.
Outlook for the Future
The aviation industry has gone through periods of tremendous success and innovation, and periods of intense challenges. Today, aviation plays a critical role in our economy and the future of aviation will depend on business and personal travel, aviation fuel costs, and government subsidy and intervention.
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Engineering training may be obtained from colleges offering courses in the specialized engineering field.
To locate educational facilities with programs related to this position, search Avjobs Aviation School Directory. The Avjobs Aviation School Directory makes researching and finding an aviation college, university, flight school or professional training facility simple.