Aeronautical Engineer Mataaro Whakahaere Pūkaha Rererangi

Aeronautical engineers plan and supervise the design, development, manufacture, modification, and maintenance of all types of flight vehicles.

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 and engine systems
  • a good understanding of aerodynamics (how aircraft fly) and thermodynamics (the effects of heat on aircraft)
  • knowledge of design techniques and engineering principles
  • an understanding of mechanical processes and the metals and alloys used in aircraft
  • 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.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, maths, physics, and construction and mechanical technologies.

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.
  • Aeronautical engineer managers can earn an average of $160,000 or above.

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