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Advancing in composites

Advancing in composites

Advancing in composites

Dear all!
I have worked with composites 4 years in MRO.
I perform aluminum honeycomb structure repair procedures, repair procedures for wet lay-up materials and
repair procedures for preimpregnated materials (carbon/aramid/glass fiber).
These procedures I use for repair engine cowls, TR sleeves, flaps, slats and many other aircraft parts.
Of course I work with aircraft documentation - AMM, SRM (Structure identification, allowable damage..)
Now I have a problem. I want to change my position, build up my skill and get new level.
But, i don't know what exactly to do for this.
What do you think: Where can I use my experience and what the next step can be?

RE: Advancing in composites

Have you asked your management?

RE: Advancing in composites

What position do you wish to change to?

Frankly, based on your description of the type of work you are currently performing, I'd say you are already in a pretty good position. You have job skills that are in high demand in a field that is growing rapidly. Go have lunch with some of the reps from companies that supply the materials and equipment you use in your job and ask them what type of skills their other customers are looking for. Then go learn these skills. Sales and technical reps are one of the best industry connections you can have.

RE: Advancing in composites

Look at some of the smaller aircraft companies making complete aircraft from composites: Cirrus, Cessna, and European imports.
There is a strong demand for Technicians who have the skills to take these repairs through from beginning to end. There are people out there who do this, but a lot do not have the depth of knowledge required for the more complicated repairs.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Advancing in composites

I have not asked my management, I'm contractor.

tbuelna (Aerospace)
My position is composite technician. So 90% of my worktime I use my hands.
But I want use my head:)
Good idea to have contact with reps, they really know what is going with composites.

berkshire (Aeronautics).
Small aircrafts ,for example bussines aviation, have not many flight hours and using in a sparing mode in contrast with Boeing, Airbus..
Usually, there are not too much work, as I know. So find good place is not too easy.
Actually I think about small manufacturing of composite parts.

Guys, sorry for my poor English, now I'm in learning process)

RE: Advancing in composites

Can you narrow down the direction you want to go? Lots of jobs require you to use your head, many of them good jobs.
To become a designer would require knowledge of engineering and CAD (we are particularly biased in this direction, on this forum!)
You might also want to consider materials testing, or materials science.

Or perhaps the small aviation repair business isn't to your liking any more (as I gather from your last reply) but there are facilities that supply composite parts to aircraft manufacturers that may be seeing a steadier business. Again, contacts with technical sales representatives could give you indications where to bring your abilities. You might even want to stay a contractor so that you aren't committed to one company at a time.

I also gather that fabricating aerospace composites is VERY different from non-aerospace composites.


RE: Advancing in composites

if you want to use your head, not your hands, that means to me designing the structure, not "just" making it, then I think your first step needs to be getting a university engineering degree. You might be able to get somewhere with a college dipolma, that might get you to a designer position (who would prepare the drawings of the structure) but probably not an engineering design position (who is more involved the the "head" work).

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Advancing in composites

Quote (Dymek)

tbuelna (Aerospace) - My position is composite technician. So 90% of my worktime I use my hands. But I want use my head:)

If you want stay in the aircraft composite structures repair field but move to a position where you can "use your head" more, there are a couple types of training I can suggest short of a university engineering degree.
- Getting certified to operate various types of equipment used for QA processes at your MRO facility, such as CMMs, laser scanners, ultrasonic inspection, or mechanical test machines.
- Learning programming of CNC machines used at your facility, such as multi-axis mills for cutting tools/molds/fixtues, tape laying machines, router/water jet/laser trimming machines, or cutting machines used to prepare pre-preg fabric plies.
- Learning the CAD applications used to define the composite laminate characteristics required for manufacturing and model the tooling/fixtures required to produce them.

The last option of learning CAD applications like CATIA V5 and FiberSim will require quite a bit of time, and most companies prefer to hire experienced people. But once you gain some experience using these tools, there is high demand and excellent pay for the work.

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