EDA, Incorporated

Aeronautical Engineering

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Aeronautical Engineering includes occupations concerned with design and development of aircraft, space vehicles, surface effect vehicles, missiles, weapons, and related systems.  Accessory techniques needed are those found in electronic and electrical engineering, mechanical and electromechanical engineering, metallurgy, propulsion systems design, ordnance engineering, and human factors and test engineering.

The Work (Career Profile)

Engineering is a huge and diverse field that is central to all our lives. The aerospace industry has a world-class reputation, and is one of the most technically advanced areas of engineering.  It encapsulates skill, innovation and variety.

Aeronautical Engineers are concerned with applying the principles of science and technology to the research, design, manufacture and maintenance of aircraft, missiles and space satellites.

The majority of aeronautical engineers work for aircraft manufacturing companies, airlines, the Armed Forces or Research Groups.  They usually specialize in one of the following areas:

Aeronautical engineers tend to specialize in either Blue Sky Research or Applied Research.  Blue Sky Research involves an in-depth understanding of and an ability to develop and use fundamental physical processes and physics laws.  This process is usually carried out in a controlled environment, such as a university research center/laboratory.  Applied Research concerns the application of a specialist area of Blue Sky Research and is usually carried out in a design environment either in industry or at a university research center.

Design can range from producing a single component to a whole aircraft engine. The design of an aircraft, missile or space satellite is the product of a whole team effort. Companies may also work with other manufactures to draw on design expertise and knowledge.

This involves manufacturing, modifying and assembling the components that eventually all come together to produce an aircraft, missile, or satellite.  This process is sometimes called systems integration.  Maintenance Aircraft maintenance engineers ensure that an aircraft is safe and fully operational.  This involves regular inspection, maintenance and servicing of an aircraft.  All aircraft maintenance engineers are licensed to practice in the United Kingdom  by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and in the United States by the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA), the regulatory bodies.

Personal Qualities/Skills

Keen interest in aviation
Sound technical knowledge
Good problem solving and analytical skills
Ability to think innovatively
Excellent team working skills
Strong communication skills

Other Routes into AEROSPACE

A degree in Aeronautical Engineering may be the clear favorite but it’s by no means the only route into the aerospace industry.

Other possible routes include:

Space Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Electronic Engineering
Acoustical Engineering

It is easy to think that, once you have decided to apply to university and chosen your degree discipline, you are locked into a career in that specific area.  While it is, of course, a good idea to select a degree that is broadly connected to your intended career, many sectors of engineering have much in common and can offer a flexible career path after graduation.

Some students find, for example, that - after starting out with great enthusiasm and commitment towards a degree in aeronautical engineering - their early interests change and the opportunity arises to apply their knowledge in fields outside the aerospace industry.   This may well be in the automotive industry, where the product has become dependent on a range of expertise and in particular on aerodynamic design.  The majority of students entering a degree course in Aeronautical Engineering do carry on to work in the industry but some will go on to work in other engineering sectors.

At the present time, developments in aircraft technology are very exciting and this has resulted in a very high demand for places on aeronautically based courses.  To provide some perspective for some disciplines related to aeronautical engineering, a brief description of each is given.

One aspect to consider within Aerospace Engineering itself is that of Space Engineering.  In recent years, much of the glamour of the early manned space exploration projects has been lost and it is easy to overlook developments that are taking place now in unmanned space activity.  There has been a huge growth in both the volume and sophistication of satellite technology and space engineering to meet the increasing demand for communications, weather and oceanographic information.  All this results in career opportunities not only for Aerospace Engineers but those from other disciplines as well.

Mechanical engineers use the same basic principles as aeronautical engineers but use them to solve problems in different applications.  For example, an aeronautical engineer may be interested in the air flow over aircraft wings, whereas the mechanical engineer may need to know the effect of flow through gas turbine blades or over the body of a car.  Mechanical Engineering is an attractive alternative for the student who is interested in aeronautics but may wish to look at the wider application of engineering principles. It may equally appeal to the student who wishes to enter aerospace activities with an emphasis on engineering developments.

An area currently desperately under-subscribed is Electrical Engineering.  Because of many innovative developments in the field and the increase in legislation on the interference between electrical and electronic systems, it is one sector of engineering that offers very good employment prospects.  In the aerospace field, electrical power applications have seen considerable growth.  In early aircraft the control of flying surfaces was entirely by cable and pulley systems.  As aircraft became bigger, many of the cable systems gave way to hydraulic systems, which were capable of providing greater control forces.  With the drive towards lighter, more efficient aircraft and higher payloads, many of the hydraulic systems became replaced by electrical systems using electromechanical actuators. In space engineering, the collection of energy from solar panels to power satellites is electrically very intensive. Not only do electrical power systems have to be used to deploy the panels but they also have to be orientated to maximize the solar gain.

A further step along this route is the development of avionics and the requirement for Electronic Engineers.  Many of the routine functions of flight are now carried out by onboard computers.  While the initial instructions may be generated within the computer in a digital form, at some stage they have to be converted into an analogue form which can be used by the electrical power system to operate, for example, fuel control valves in the engines.  The actual position of the valves is measured and compared to the required value by a control system either locally or centrally based.  In many sensor applications, the intelligence is held within the sensors - these are known as ‘smart sensors’.  A smart sensor takes its own decisions locally and only sends information to the main computer when it considers that the computer should know.

Another aspect of aircraft operation is that of noise pollution.  There is great public pressure to reduce noise from engines during take-off and there are commercial advantages to aircraft with quiet interiors.  For the passenger within an aircraft, the typical sources of noise are the engines, boundary layer noise on the outside of the fuselage and noise within the air-conditioning.  For a student wishing to specialize in this aspect of aviation there are a number of courses available.  An Acoustical Engineering course enables students to specialize in this area while also qualifying as a Degreed Mechanical Engineer.   In many universities there are Mechanical Engineering degrees offering options to specialize in acoustics, noise, vibration and so on.

It is hoped that the above discussion has demonstrated that there are no rigid boundaries between the different specializations in engineering practice and it is quite possible to work as a Mechanical, Aeronautical or Electrical engineer in a variety of different industries.

Career Profile

# of people in profession: 45,100
% male: 85
% female: 15
average hours per week: 44
average starting salary: $ 39,000
average salary after 5 years: $ 70,000
average salary after 10 to 15 years: $ 90,000
Professionals Read: Aerospace America, NASA Technical Briefs, Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Aviation Week and Space Technology
Book, Films and TV Shows Featuring the Profession: Apollo 13, The Right Stuff, Capricorn One

Major Employers:
Aerospace Corporation
2350 East El Segundo Boulevard
El Segundo, CA 90245
Tel: 310-336-5000
Boeing Company
P.O. Box 3707
Seattle, WA 98124-2207
Tel: 206-655-1131
Fax: 206-544-3111
Contact: Employment Center
You'll Associate With: Avionics Technicians, Computer Programmers, Electrical Engineers, Government Officials

Major Associations:
Air Force Association
1501 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22209
Tel: 703-247-5800
Fax: 703-247-5853
Contact: Cathy Snodgrass
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
1801 Alexander Bell Drive
Suite 500
Reston, VA 20191
Tel: 703-264-7500
Fax: 703-264-7551
Contact: Patrick Gouhin

Reference: Parts taken from Review.com

Junior Engineering Technical Society
1420 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: 703-548-5387
Fax: 703-548-0769
Contact: Cathy McGowen

For free calculations go to the Calculator page.  The calculators should be used with caution.  Many of these calculators are not verified and are only intended to provide for a starting point in performing a design calculations.  All final design calculations should  be performed using verified and validated programs or calculators that have documented evidence of the verification and validation.

The following links have been reviewed and approved to be the best aeronautical engineering information available on the internet, so please enjoy and if you have a better link of aeronautical engineering information, email it to SiteManager@i-edainc.com .


Aviation Links


Aviation Safety

Government and General Aviation

Aviation Company Research

Government and Aviation Infrastructure
Air Traffic Control
Information relating to US and international air traffic control.  

  • Air Traffic Control: Primer
    From ATA, addresses ATC Facilities, Central Flow Control, Tracking Systems, Communications, Flight, Controller Training, Airport and Airway Trust Fund, Delays, Modernization, "Corporatization."
  • Air Traffic Control Training Program
    Minneapolis Community and Technical college offers program qualifying graduates for assignment to enroute centers, in lieu of attending the FAA Academy. Site presents full information on program, qualifications, admission, etc.
  • Country Codes
    Official ICAO two-letter designator codes for countries worldwide.  Listed alphabetically by country name and by code.
  • Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers
    GATCO is the UK ATC controllers' union. Site has Guild history, members section, and index to quarterly publication Transmit.

Airfield codes and generic info, plus descriptions/ data on individual fields.

  • Airfields and Pavements Div.
    (US Army Geotechnical Lab) The Division is the DoD's lead pavements research facility for permanent and contingency airfields, roadways, and railroads. It's located at the Waterways Experimentation Station in Vicksburg, MS. This site has only a mission statement, contacts, and an introductory capabilities brief from March '98. 

General Aeronautical Links

Gundy-Burlet, Karen
Find out how this aeronautical engineer pursued her career and research interests at NASA. Includes archived Web chats.


Irimajiri, Shoichiro - Cyber Elite
Read about the aeronautical engineer who is president of Sega Entertainment and view a photo.


Sikorsky, Igor Ivanovich - Encarta Online Concise
Learn about the accomplishments of this aeronautical engineer from Ukraine.


Achtung Wurger!
Dedication to the pilots of the Fw190/Ta152 series of aircraft provides a history of Focke Wulf and its chief aeronautical engineer, Kurt Tank.


Menendez, Jose M
Get acquainted with this aeronautical engineer working in Madrid, Spain. Includes a Spanish translation.


Gibson, Robert L. - NASA Astronaut Biographies
Presents a biographical profile of the aeronautical engineer born in Cooperstown, New York, including personal and professional details


Yap, Rick
Find a considerable paucity of content on Rick's homepage, bar the most perfunctory of personal details. He is however an Aeronautical Engineer.


AAAE - Aerospace
Compiles research from Aeronautical engineers, inventors and academics. Search through other related links.


MSN Encarta - Wind Tunnel
Describes a tool used by aeronautical engineers in assessing the airworthiness of different designs.


Combat Flight Simulator
Free network game, developed by Microsoft and a team of aeronautical engineers, offers visitors the chance to play, download a demo, or order.

Aeronautical Engineer
Aeronautical Engineer [ Introduction | Salary by Major | Salary by Occupation | Help | Comments ] Aeronautical Engineer A description of the the work done by "Aeronautical Engineer" can be found in the occupational outlook handbook . 


Real Science! Episode #308: Rad CAD | Aeronautical Engineer
Real Science! Episode #308: Rad CAD | Aeronautical Engineer "Computers let us look at all the calculations we have made on our new aircraft designs; they help us verify all our information before we build an actual aircraft model for testing.


Aeronautical Engineer
Aeronautical Engineer A Career in Aerospace Engineering by Josh T. 5..4..3..2..l, blast off! An aerospace engineer might hear that a lot in his/her line of work. Although the requirements to become a aerospace engineer are very high.


KiwiCareers - Aeronautical Engineer / Further Information
Further information about this job, including relevant contacts, related jobs and industry overviews


Aeronautical Engineer
Aeronautical Engineer Aeronautical Engineer The Work Engineering is a huge and diverse field that is central to all our lives. The aerospace industry has a world-class reputation, and is one of the most technically advanced areas of engineering. 


Aeronautical Engineer
Aeronautical Engineer Aeronautical Engineer Emailed to me by a friend (Thanks, Herman) Forwarded from Boo's Joke List. To subscribe to Boo's List, send email to: UpNCumming-subscribe@makelist.com Bernie, a young Jewish boy, decided he wanted t

Company Profile

EDA, Incorporated provides quality-engineering services on time, on schedule and within budget.  EDA, Inc. is able to do this by performing the work correctly the first time. We accept the most challenging problems and look forward to working with the client as a team member.  EDA believes that the client should be an active participant in the work process to ensure that the product is commensurate with client expectations and is delivered within schedule and budget constraints.

EDA, Inc. belongs to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), the Society of Instrument Control Engineers, Society of Professional Engineers (ISA) and the American Nuclear Society (ANS).

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For more information on EDA, Incorporated services, please contact Client Service Manager at:

Client Service Manager

EDA, Inc.

6397 True Lane

Springfield, VA 22150


or email  the Client Service Manager at SiteManager@i-edainc.com .

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Contact Information

Virginia Office (703) 313-9138
Postal address
6397 True Lane
          Springfield, Va 22150
Electronic mail
General Information:  Site Manager@i-edainc.com