A real machine!

You have a good idea of a day in the life of a mechanic . . . But a mechanical engineer, do you also picture him with his hands and jumpsuit black with grease? It does happen sometimes! But more often, you’ll find him in front of a computer, at his electronic drafting table, in a meeting with his colleagues, in the plant to supervise an installation, or in a test room. He seeks out the best innovations to apply in aerospace and designs efficient equipment (machinery, power generation, transport, manufacturing, etc.) to assemble and operate aircraft. He supervises testing and implementation, as well as making sure that the operation and maintenance of mechanical installations runs smoothly.

Mechanical engineers in aerospace work in close collaboration with other engineers (civil, electrical, computer, industrial, etc.). His communication skills, versatility and mobility are very important.

For Olivier Roy, an engineer on the Robotics and Automation team at Messier-Bugatti-Dowty in Mirabel, the future of aerospace mechanics involves a lot of change management. “Programming robots using computer software in the context of manufacturing aircraft parts is very new. You’ve got to be thoroughly familiar with the software and adapt the programming so that the code reflects the application in question as closely as possible. Involvement of people affected by this change at all levels is crucial, especially operators, who are the experts best qualified to assess whether the robots are doing a good job.” As he points out, “Nothing replaces the eyes and brain of a human!”

Schooling

Like all engineers, a bachelor’s degree and membership in the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec are a minimum. In fact, another diploma (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate) in a related discipline is a great advantage. Bilingualism, mastery of computer tools specific to mechanical engineering, utilities and even programming skills are also significant assets. This far beyond changing the tires and oil on your first car!

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