What Do Aeronautical Drafters Do?

Aeronautical drafters use computer programs and hand drawing techniques to produce technical plans for everything from the layout of airplane furniture to models of experimental aircraft. Read on to learn more about job duties and education requirements in this field. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Using data gathered or produced by the engineers with whom you work as an aeronautical drafter, you create the blueprints for airplanes, missiles, and other aeronautical equipment. Blueprints must specify materials, sizes of components, and assembly procedures in accordance with industry standards. You will likely work with computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) programs to create electronic drawings instead of hand-drafting hardcopies.

In your work, you must show the different angles and views of an intended structure so the manufacturers know exactly how to build the aircraft or component. You will also use a code of letters and numbers to label diagrams for assemblage instructions. To correct design issues and revise the drawings, you must have an understanding of engineering principles.

Important Facts About Aeronautical Drafters

Professional Certification Not required, but available from the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA)
Key Skills Excellent mathematical foundation, attention to detail, critical thinking, technical ability, clear communication, time management
Work Environment Manufacturing industry; architectural and engineering firms
Similar Occupations Civil engineering technicians, architects, industrial designers, mechanical engineers, surveyors, electromechanical technicians

Training

Training to become an aeronautical drafter can come from a certificate, an associate's, or a bachelor's program in technical drafting, mechanical drafting, or engineering technology. These programs teach you the language and principles involved in hand-drafting techniques and the properties and applications of common manufacturing materials. You may learn the mathematics used to create formulas, as well as how to use computer-aided drafting (CAD) software. Programs may also cover the tensile and compressive strengths, thermal statistics, and performance-under-stress information of the materials used in aeronautical manufacturing.

Courses you may take include the following:

  • Geometry
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Physics
  • Drafting
  • CAD, AutoCAD, and CADD

Job Outlook and Salary Info

The introduction of updated CADD programs and an increase in job outsourcing, balanced with the continuous progress in manufacturing and the development of new and improved aircraft, will make for a tough job market for aeronautical drafters. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reflects this with an expected decrease of about seven percent in the number of mechanical drafters employed during the 2014-2024 decade. The BLS additionally reported as recently as May 2014 that the median annual salary earned by mechanical drafters is $52,200. Those employed by aerospace product and parts manufacturing companies earned an average of $74,660 a year in 2014, per the BLS.

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