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What Does An Airfield Engineer Do?

15 February 2023

What Does An Airfield Engineer Do?

The second of our 'What Goes On' blog series will today look at the two groups of people who make sure every patch of tarmac is fixed and every blinking warning light is looked at and resolved: the engineers.

Airport and aeroplane engineers are the unsung heroes of the aviation industry in our opinion. We all know that those in air traffic control have a highly stressful job and the pressure is always on them to maintain every plane that navigates its way around the airfield – either while it's on the ground or the air, but it's the engineers, quietly going about their business, that makes sure these things can fly!

They are responsible for designing, building, maintaining, and repairing aircraft and airport infrastructure, playing a crucial role in ensuring that planes and airports are safe, efficient and reliable.

Airport engineers might work on designing and building new airport facilities, such as runways, taxiways, and terminals. They also work on improving existing infrastructure, such as air traffic control systems.

Recently, there was an engineer at Heathrow who went viral for documenting what it is truly like on an airstrip, pointing out how the tarmac slopes off either side from the middle to avoid water pooling, as well as the white lines painted either side being there for targeting purposes for the pilots. His videos took off with many getting millions of views, each one giving an insight into his role at Heathrow.

On the other hand, there are the aeroplane engineers. They all focus on the aircraft's design, construction, and any repair work that is required. They work tirelessly, going over every nook and cranny of an aircraft to ensure that it is safe before it gets up in the air.

These brains on the ground are also astute at making innovative changes to planes which improve their efficiency. Many of the most famous people in aviation were originally engineers and always classed themselves as that as well.

Neill Armstrong describes himself as an aerospace engineer despite generally being seen as just an astronaut. Then there is Elsie MacGill, the first female aeronautical engineer, who oversaw the production of more than 1,400 Hurricanes during World War II.

While you have the engineers in the design room, working on the next big thing to propel us to the future, there are also the engineers on the airstrip whose job it is to fix the planes as they come and go.

With the pressure that comes with both of these jobs, we think we will stick to just sitting back and enjoying our flights, knowing all is in safe hands.

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