About Aeronautical Engineering

Aeronautical Engineering is a branch of engineering which is concerned with developing aircraft or space vehicles. It studies different aspects of Earth’s atmosphere, mechanics and other general aspects of engineering and applies them all to developing aircrafts.

When NASA launches any of its satellites or when you watch planes zooming in the sky, you must have wondered how those flying vehicles are built and who builds them. To put it simply, these vehicles are built by Aeronautical Engineers. Aeronautical Engineering involves research, design, development, construction and finally the testing of all air or space vehicles. If you want to build a flying vehicle, there are many elements you need to know about. That include Math, Earth and its atmosphere, electronics, Physics etc. Aeronautical Engineers are trained in all these fields generally, after which they can specialise in any particular field. For example, as an Aeronautical engineer, you could specialise in navigational guidance and control systems amongst others. 

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Top Colleges

Among all the major engineering courses, 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 in India

In India, you can pursue Aeronautical Engineering at the undergraduate level and also at the post graduate level. The basic eligibility criteria for the undergraduate level programme in aeronautical engineering is 10+2 with science subjects, (Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics), or equivalent examination. You should secure at least 60% marks in aggregate. It is also mandatory to qualify in the IIT Joint Entrance Examinations (IIT - JEE). Although there are other institutes which conduct their respective entrance examinations for offering admission to students. But most colleges which offer engineering courses in aeronautics consider JEE score as the qualifying grade. Diploma courses are also available in aeronautical engineering. Besides the ones mentioned above, some of the other colleges which offer Aeronautical engineering courses in India include PEC University of Technology, Manipal Institute of Technology,Sathyabama University, Acharya Institute of Technology and M.V.J. College of Engineering.

Career Prospects

There can be no doubt about how exciting a career as an aeronautical engineer will be. You will be trained in many aspects of engineering like aerodynamics, aircraft structure and air traffic control. You can also 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

As air travel and space exploration is increasing on a massive scale, job opportunities for aeronautical engineering is also on rise. Aeronautical engineers usually work 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.

The Indian aeronautical industry is also growing rapidly. You could work in one of the prestigious government owned enterprises like:

ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation)
DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation)
HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.)
NAL (National Aeronautics Labs)

Alternatively, you could also work for private airlines like:

Air India
Indian Airlines
Jet Airways
Indigo airlines

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.

Salary and perks are better in the private sector than in the government sector. The approximate starting salaries in the government/public sectors, such as HAL and NAL, are Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000 per month. Those working in research organisations, like ISRO and DRDO, get paid a monthly remuneration of Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 45,000. Engineering graduates with management degrees are absorbed at starting salaries of around Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 per month plus perks. The salaries increase based on their performance.

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.

  • A highly paid and respectable job
  • High standard of living
  • 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
  • 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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