Flight test engineer prepares for an F-18 flight. (NASA Photo). The Operations Engineers' responsibilities include aircraft technical and configuration management; ensuring vehicle airworthiness; performing systems design and integration; supporting system safety analysis; coordinating flight readiness; and providing real-time flight support.
The Operations Engineers from the Science/UAV, Exploration, and Aeronautics Groups identify, assign, and coordinate the tasks necessary to get a vehicle ready to conduct its mission. Operations Engineer responsibility requires in-depth knowledge of the organization, skills, and science required to make aircraft ground and flight operations safe and successful. The Operations Engineers' responsibilities include aircraft technical management; vehicle airworthiness; systems development and integration; system safety; flight readiness; flight support; and peripheral activities such as review committees, incident investigation boards, and research reporting. Operations Engineers are assigned members of program or project teams, and serve as the Flight Operations Directorate representative. Together with the Project Managers and Chief Engineers, the Operations Engineers make determinations regarding the path of a program or project.
OE is staffed with mechanical, electrical, and aerospace engineers, and specialists for drafting and configuration management. Individuals have specialized training in aircraft systems, flight test planning and execution, as Mission Controllers and Flight Test Engineers, in design and analysis, drafting, and documentation.
Operations Engineers from the Aero-Mechanical Design Group primarily provide design of flight and non-flight hardware. They take component designs through all steps of the process from concept through installation, working closely with the Structural Fabrication Branch and Drawing Control office to bring designs to fruition.
The Configuration Management Office provides administrative control of the documentation for the physical and functional characteristics of configuration items, and any changes or discrepancies of those configuration items. This office facilitates project Configuration Control Board (CCB) meetings and is responsible for maintaining and archiving the configuration control documentation. The purpose of configuration management is to avoid unknown or unauthorized changes that may increase the risk of causing accidents or failures.
The Drawing Control Office provides project support in the form of drafting services, drawing version management, and drawing archival. The office provides drafting services through creation of new drawings and sketches, or integration of red-lines. They maintain physical and electronic storage of flight vehicle drawings, and archive all sketches for the DFRC community. This office is the controlling organization for all Dryden drawing formats and maintains the drawing numbering system for flight vehicle projects.