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This article discusses the use of expert systems in the engineering environment. An examination of typical computational requirements for engineering software is used as a means of assessing the suitability of expert system shells for a given application. It is suggested that where the greatest flexibility is required an artificial intelligence language, or tools based on such languages, should be used for the development of large expert systems. An example is given of the development of an expert system for monitoring the condition of helicopter rotors using the artificial intelligence language Prolog.