Aeronautical engineer


What they do

Aeronautical engineers perform and supervise engineering work concerned with the design, development, maintenance, manufacture and operation of flight vehicles. They focus on the form, arrangement and stability of structures and their movement through the air.

Aeronautical engineers assess mechanical systems, flight characteristics and aircraft performance to ensure that aircraft are airworthy. They design and maintain a variety of flight vehicles such as helicopters and civilian and military aeroplanes.

Aeronautical engineers working in aerospace can also work with missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and spacecraft.

Specialisations include: Aeronautical engineering officer (navy), Aerospace engineer officer - aeronautical (air force), Aerospace engineer officer - armament (air force), Aerospace engineer officer - electronics (air force), Avionics Systems Engineer, Weapons Aeronautical Engineering Officer (Navy)

Working conditions

Aeronautical engineers may work for regulatory authorities to ensure that aircraft are safe to fly in Australia. They can also work for the Defence Force, research organisations, repair and maintenance companies or design offices.

They may have to participate in test flights in a variety of weather conditions and during odd hours, such as at dawn or at night. They may also investigate aircraft accidents, and issue certifications or licences.

Tools and technologies

Aeronautical engineers use drawing and measuring instruments and materials, as well as computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software. They must also ensure design plans and materials meet a range of federal and international standards and codes so that any aircraft modification or repair complies with the law and the aircraft is safe to fly.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become an aeronautical engineer you usually need to complete a degree in engineering, with a major in aeronautical or aerospace engineering.

Edith Cowan University offers a three-year Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical). This is the only undergraduate degree specialising in aeronautical engineering in Western Australia.

Once you have completed the Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical), students with the appropriate elective units will need to complete a Master of Engineering to become a professional aeronautical engineer.

Contact the university for more information.