Aeronautical Engineering

Aeronautical and aerospace engineering is a career option where you can truly fly high. Some of the institutes that conduct the course and also make arrangements for practical training are:

  • School of Aeronautics, WZ-173, Palam, New Delhi - 110 045
  • Institute of Aviation Technology, 1265, Sector 6, Bahadurgarh- 124507, Haryana
  • Delhi Institute of Aeronautical Studies, 551-A, 3rd Floor, Chirag Delhi, New Delhi - 110 017
  • Indian Institute of Aeronautical Engineering, 215/1 Kalidas Road, Dehra Dun- 248 001

Flight facilitators

While the proper functioning of the systems during flight is the responsibility of flight engineers, aeronautical engineers respond to reports from air crew of any difficulties experienced during flights, repairing and making corrections. Due to the high sophistication in modern aviation, the need for flight engineers on a flight is rarely felt. The pilot, co-pilot and the cockpit assistants perform the flight engineer's job during the flight. Nevertheless, flight engineers do have their share of work to do before and after the flight.


Rocket route

While the main thrust of aeronautical engineering lies in the design, development, maintenance and teaching of aeronautics, aircraft engineers in civil aviation normally specialise in aeronautical mechanical or electronic engineering. Aeronautical engineers are also involved in other non-conventional fields such as air turbine production plants or design development programmes for the aviation industry. Aeronautical engineers can also join the Navy or Air Force for operating and maintaining sophisticated aircraft, aero-engine and armament equipment in use by the services. The Air Force recruits aeronautical engineers as Flight Test Engineers to conduct test flights. Here, they are required to complete the flight measurement operation with desired precaution and follow it up with analysis and interpretation.

Aerospace engineering is another challenging field for engineers of this discipline. The design and manufacture of aircraft and spacecraft for commercial or military use is a highly technical field and requires highly trained engineers, scientists and technicians specialising in areas such as aerospace, aeronautics, electronics, computer science, robotics, meteorology, chemistry and physics. Aerospace engineers may be required to work on the designing of complete aircraft or may specialise in areas such as missile guidance systems, propulsion, and guidance control systems.

Selection schedule

If you are one of those drawn to the challenges of space, you need to take up aeronautical engineering after plus two (PCM) or it can be pursued at the postgraduate level, after a degree in mechanical engineering or electronics. One can also opt for a diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, and work as a technician. Diploma holders can also acquire degrees on clearing the exams of the Aeronautical Society of India.

Several engineering colleges offer aeronautical engineering---the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, Mumbai, Kanpur and Kharagpur and also the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh ( Kalpana Chawla's alma mater). Admission is through the Joint Entrance Examn (JEE) conducted in January and May every year along with the entrance for other streams. Punjab Engineering College too conducts an entrance test for students of plus two with PCM.

Aeronautical engineering can also be studied through correspondence with the Aeronautical Society of India. The Associate Membership of this society has been recognised by the Ministry of Education, on par with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from an Indian university.

Airline avenues

Airline companies such as Air-India, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Sahara, Pawan Hans, Helicopter Corporation of India and flying clubs, private airlines and government-owned air services take on aeronautical engineers. Besides airlines, they can also get jobs in organisations such as HAL which designs and builds aircraft for defence purposes, research and development organisations such as Defence Research and Development Laboratories, NAL, Aeronautical Development Establishment and the Civil Aviation Department, also take on trained engineers.