Aeronautical Engineer Mataaro Whakahaere Pūkaha Rererangi

Aeronautical engineers plan and supervise the design, development and modification of all types of flight vehicles. They also monitor and analyse in-service failures and faults.

Aeronautical engineers may do some or all of the following:

  • study aircraft issues and recommend changes
  • design equipment or tools to repair or maintain aircraft
  • discuss aircraft designs and data with colleagues, licensed aircraft maintenance engineers, aircraft manufacturers and airline owners
  • make detailed records of drawings, technical instructions, assessments and calculations
  • oversee the design of new aircraft or modifications to existing aircraft
  • give technical and regulatory advice to professionals in the aerospace industry.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for aeronautical engineers includes:

  • any work involving machinery, engines or vehicles
  • technical drawing
  • inventing mechanical or electronic devices or equipment.

Personal Qualities

Aeronautical engineers need to be:

  • confident
  • adaptable and creative
  • practical and accurate
  • analytical, and good at problem solving
  • strong communicators
  • able to work well under pressure.


Aeronautical engineers need to have:

  • knowledge of aircraft structures, electronic systems (including navigation, communication and electrical power), and hydraulic and propulsion systems 
  • a good understanding of aerodynamics (how aircraft fly), thermodynamics (the effects of heat on aircraft), stress and fatigue (structural degradation), and fluid dynamics 
  • knowledge of design techniques and engineering principles
  • an understanding of mechanical processes and the parts of aircraft, including metals and alloys and hydraulics
  • knowledge of civil aviation laws and regulations
  • the ability to explain complicated ideas in simple language for report writing or to express design plans to licensed aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians
  • the ability to use computer-aided design (CAD).


Aeronautical engineers:

  • usually work regular business hours, but are sometimes required to work weekends and evenings, and are often on call
  • work in offices, at airports, and aircraft workshops or hangars
  • may travel nationally and internationally to inspect aircraft and attend courses and conferences on aeronautical engineering.

Aeronautical Engineers can earn around $100K per year.

Pay for aeronautical engineers varies depending on skills and experience.

  • Aeronautical engineers usually earn an average of $100,000 a year.
  • Team leaders usually earn an average of $120,000 a year.
  • Aeronautical engineer managers can earn an average of $160,000 a year, or more.

Source: Engineering New Zealand, 'Remuneration Survey 2021 Snapshot', 2022.

Aeronautical engineers may move into supervisory or management roles within airlines, oversee a team of engineers, or become self-employed consultants working on a wide range of projects.

Some aeronautical engineers may specialise in particular types of aircraft such as:

  • helicopters
  • military aircraft
  • aerospace vehicles, such as rockets.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training required.

To become an aeronautical engineer you need to have a Bachelor of Engineering.

Aeronautical engineers should aim to become chartered professional engineers and Civil Aviation Authority design approval holders after five or more years of industry experience.

Aeronautical Engineer