The enormous growth of the global aerospace and aviation sector will see a need by 2035 for 127,000 maintenance technicians, half a million pilotsIT Carlow and more than 25,000 aircraft costing over US$5trillion.

That’s according to a group of avionics and electronics experts from Microelectronic Design Association of Ireland (MIDAS) which this week held its regional conference at Institute of Technology Carlow.

MIDAS is an industry-led cluster of industry, educational, research and government agencies, working together to assist in the development of the micro and nano-electronics based systems sector in Ireland. It is a member of Silicon Europe, the alliance of Europe’s leading micro and nano-electronics clusters.

“Aerospace and the Irish Electronics Industry” was the theme of the conference which explored industrial and academic work in the sector. Up to 40 attendees from companies such as ARM, Analog Devices, Xilinx, Microsemi, Qualcomm and Cadence heard about the explosive growth forecast that will see a global requirement by 2035 for 127,000 maintenance technicians, half a million pilots and more than 25,000 aircraft costing over US$5trillion.

Keynote speakers included David Lucey, the senior aerospace development advisor at Enterprise Ireland, who provided an overview of the Irish aerospace and aviation sector. Leo McHugh from Analog Devices spoke of the market trends in avionics and space and their impact on suppliers. David Buckley, chief architect at Curtiss Wright, provided an insight into electronics in harsh environments, with particular emphasis on aerospace instrumentation.

Brian McQuaid, head of the engineering faculty at Institute of Technology Carlow, gave an overview of its electronic and aerospace activities. The Institute’s €5.5million aerospace facility – the Centre for Aerospace Engineering –comprising an avionics workshop and a fleet of aircraft inside its own hangar, has positioned IT Carlow as the leading aerospace education facility in the country. Last year Institute of Technology Carlow was awarded the Aviation Academic Education Award at the prestigious Irish Aviation Industry Awards.

“IT Carlow provides a suite of programmes in Aircraft Systems Engineering, Aerospace Engineering and Pilot Studies. We are uniquely positioned to supply graduates to all sectors of the growing global aerospace industry. IT Carlow is an Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) approved Part 147 Maintenance Training Organisation and our students have the opportunity to undertake the requisite training to achieve an aircraft maintenance license as part of their studies”, commented Mr. McQuaid.

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