About Aeronautical Engineering

A branch of aerospace engineering, Aeronautical Engineering is the study of how things fly in the Earth's atmosphere and the application of that knowledge to design and build aircraft and missiles.

Aeronautical engineering is that branch of engineering which deals with the research, design, development, construction, testing, science and technology of aircraft. The field also covers investigation into aerodynamic of aircraft.  Aeronautical engineers don’t necessarily fly aircrafts but without their help, flying any aircraft would be nearly impossible.

The broad range of Aeronautical engineering is interdisciplinary and incorporating elements of math, electronics, and physics. There are many different types of jobs available in this field, but most require advanced degrees. As an Aeronautical engineer, you could specialise in navigational guidance and control systems amongst others.

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Top Colleges

Amongst all the courses in engineering, aeronautical engineering is a niche field and is only available in a select few universities in each country. The course content is specialised; therefore the fee is slightly higher than other courses. Following are some of the countries which have the best universities for aeronautical engineering:

Aeronautical Engineering course details


Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Princeton University | California Institute of Technology | Georgia Institute of Technology | Oklahoma State University


University of Cambridge | University of Surrey | University of Bristol | University of Southampton | Queens University -Belfast


Monash University | University of New South Wales | University of Sydney | University of Queensland | University of Adelaide


IIT Mumbai | IIT Kharagpur | IIT Chennai | IIT Kanpur | Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology

Career Prospects

As an aeronautical engineer, you will be trained in many aspects of engineering like aerodynamics, aircraft structure and air traffic control. You could also choose to specialise in aeronautical products like commercial transport, military fighter jets, helicopters, spacecrafts, missiles or rockets. Alternatively, you could specialise on a particular product such as a war plane or space missile etc. If you are computer savvy, then you can learn to draw project plans using computer aided design (CAD) software. Aircraft maintenance is also another field which requires aeronautical engineers. You can join the ‘Air accidents Investigation Bureau’ which is responsible for finding out the cause of air mishaps.

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Jobs & Salary

Aeronautical engineers have a range of job options in the aviation, aeronautical and defence industries. There is a huge need for aeronautical engineers in airlines, aircraft manufacturing units, air turbine production plants or design development programmes for the aviation industry. In fact, there is no dearth of opportunities for those who wish to work abroad. A large number of engineers at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, United States) are Indians. The same is the case with other airline companies like Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, etc.

Aeronautical engineering has become a highly paid and prestigious career option. Although salary of most aeronautical engineers depends on their academic excellence and individual skills, but the average start-up pay in this field is much higher than other engineering fields.

Pros & Cons

Unlike a common perception, most aeronautical engineers work in office buildings or industrial plants. Others spend time outdoors at production sites, where they monitor or direct operations or solve onsite problems. Some engineers travel extensively to plants or worksites.

Following are some of the advantages of being an aeronautical engineer:

  • A highly paid and respectable job
  • The standard of living is high
  • Aircraft travel is free for the company that you work for
  • Both the government and the private sector give a lot of benefits to retain their skilled workforce. 

Following are the lesser known disadvantages of being an aeronautical engineer:

  • Though highly paid, the work is very demanding
  • Involves a great deal of travel specially for flight testing engineers

You always have to stay physically fit to take the kind of physical and emotional stress related to the job.

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