What Is Aeronautics?

Aeronautics is the science that underlies the study, design, and manufacture of airplanes or other aviation vehicles. Aeronautics also includes research into methods for aircraft operation within the earth's atmosphere. Aeronautical engineers apply principles and concepts of engineering to create new aircraft containing the most current and sophisticated technologies. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Aeronautics Industry Overview

Airplanes, gliders and helicopters all stay midair thanks to the principles within the flight science called aeronautics. These include physics concepts like Newton's laws of motion; aerodynamics, the motion of air; and Bernoulli's principle of lift. Aeronautical engineering is the design and construction of airplanes and other aircraft that fly within the atmosphere. Aerospace engineering encompasses aeronautics as well as the design and construction of spacecraft. Aeronautical engineering and aerospace engineering degree programs typically contain many of the same courses. Principles and theories that are common to aeronautical engineering are also applied in the construction of buildings and evaluation of the performance of space vehicles within the earth's atmosphere.

Important Facts About Aeronautics Careers

Median Salary (September 2015)$79,385 (for all aeronautical engineers)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)-2% decline (for all aerospace engineers)
LicensureNot required but good for job advancement (for all aerospace engineers)
Work EnvironmentLaboratories, manufacturing facilities, offices

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale.com

Education and Careers

People who want a career in aeronautics typically enroll in a four-year institution to earn a bachelor's degree in aeronautics, aeronautical engineering, or aerospace engineering. Graduates of aeronautical engineering degree programs understand the scientific, technological, and engineering principles and concepts that keep planes flying. Students will learn the creative and practical skills required for working in teams to create newer vehicles for air travel, including airplanes, helicopters, gliders, satellites, and missile systems.


  • Analytical aeronautical engineers evaluate data that affect the air worthiness of an aircraft, including thermodynamics, aerodynamics, wind pressure, and strength.
  • Design aeronautical engineers are responsible for an aircraft's construction. They must strive to work within an established budget while adhering to a client's specifications.
  • Field service aeronautical engineers are trained to manage all aircraft maintenance and safety inspections. They must identify any potential problems and have them fixed before a vehicle takes off.
  • Flight research aeronautical engineers evaluate reports following a test flight to make sure everything is working according to specifications. Any changes to improve safety, performance, fuel efficiency, or mileage are made by them.

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