Aeronautical engineering is a career field that is little understood by the general public. These types of engineers are concerned with the design of aircraft, the management of the stresses on the vehicles, as well as propulsion systems and aerodynamics. Additionally, when things go wrong they are the professionals that solve the problem, redesign the craft, or recommend termination of a product line.
Difference Between Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering
Often, in college programs the term aeronautical engineering is used synonymously with aerospace engineering. There are many schools that offer this course of study. Among those who graduated with degrees in aeronautical engineering, most stated that they had a strong background in math and science. Since aeronautical engineers deal with most integral aspects of the creation of aircraft, this background in math and science is a must.
Those thinking of pursuing a degree in aeronautical engineering may consider if a distinction is offered, of pursuing the aerospace engineering degree. This is due to the fact that those studying aerospace have far greater opportunities for employment as they are the type of engineers that work on space shuttles, missiles, rockets, interplanetary satellites or probes, just to name a few. Aeronautical engineers deal specifically with aircraft.
Focus of Aeronautical Engineering
Aeronautical engineers focus basically on two main areas within the aero industry. Aerodynamics, or the study of the relationships between air and solid materials, is one such area. Aeronautical engineers working in this area focus on the design of the wings and the other outside components of the airplane or aerospace product.
Propulsion, or the force that allows the aircraft or spacecraft to remain in flight, is the other area of focus for aeronautical engineers. Those engineers specializing in propulsion design, test, and troubleshoot aircraft engines. It is the combined efforts of both types of aeronautical engineers that allow for new technologies to develop and for older technologies to be renovated.
What Are Aeronautical Engineers Like?
Most aeronautical engineers have more than a basic engineering degree. A Master's degree or even a Doctorate is not uncommon. Aeronautical engineers work in groups or teams of people all contributing some part toward the design, implementation, production and efficacy of an aircraft. Most report high job satisfaction and believe that for those who have always enjoyed the challenge of science and mathematics, that aeronautical engineering is one of the best careers one could choose.