An aeronautical engineer specialises in the design and development of aircraft which would operate solely within the earth’s atmosphere. This is as opposed to an aerospace engineer, who would design both aircraft and spacecraft to be used in and out of the earth’s atmosphere.
Aeronautical engineering is very technical, requiring a high level of knowledge and attention to detail. You must be able to understand and analyse technical plans. If there is a problem, you must be able to solve it using your expertise.
You will also need excellent numeracy, communication and IT skills.
To become an aeronautical engineer, you will need a degree in engineering or aerospace engineering. You’ll also usually be expected to have an A level in Maths. Your degree will usually take around 3 to 4 years to complete. Students can usually choose to complete an additional 12 month work placement as part of the course.
To start an aeronautical engineering degree, you usually need three A levels, including Maths and Physics. You may also be required to have five A-C grade GCSEs, including Maths, English and Science. Exact requirements will vary between universities.
An aeronautical engineering degree will cover a range of fundamental topics such as aerodynamics, aircraft performance, flight dynamics, avionics, aircraft systems, aircraft structures, aircraft design and propulsion systems.
Once qualified, an aeronautical engineer will have great career prospects; jobs can be acquired within various airlines, the RAF, Corporate Research Companies, the Ministry of Defence, and various other aviation companies.