Aviation Engineer

Flight Engineer, US Navy
Aviation, or aeronautical engineering as it is now more commonly known, is the branch of engineering that deals with the construction and science of aircraft design. Because of the complexity of modern airplanes, aeronautical engineering encompasses a variety of different technologies and scientific disciplines. Some of the technologies that are incorporated in modern aircraft include avionics, materials science, propulsion, and aerodynamics.

Owing to this complexity, modern aircraft are designed by a team of engineers who balance the demands of performance ability, design, and costs, among other factors. Aeronautical engineers study a wide variety of subjects at the undergraduate level, with those wishing to pursue an academic career typically obtaining a graduate degree or doctorate that includes research in in the field of aeronautical engineering. Subjects that are typically studied by an aeronautical engineer include engineering mechanics, calculus, electrotechnology, propulsion, avionics, control engineering, aircraft structures, avionics, and flight testing. It is important that the aeronautical engineer have an understanding of all of these subjects as the complexity of modern aircraft require that the aeronautical engineer understand not o­nly each of these areas but also how they interact to allow aircraft to operate efficiently and safely.

These and other subjects are studied at the university level in the pursuit of an undergraduate degree, which in most universities is a B.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering or a B.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering. There are many universities in the United States that have undergraduate programs in Aeronautical Engineering; some of the best include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institue of Technology, the United States Air Force Academy, and Wichita State University. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the professional society of aerospace and aeronautical engineers, and provides a forum for the discussion of aerospace topics and the furthering of innovation in the field.