Undergraduate BEng (Hons)

Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies

School of Computing, Science & Engineering


With placement


Three year

Four year


September 2019

Next enrolment

In a nutshell

This unique course combine the practical and theoretical aspects of flying with the underlying principles of aircraft engineering. You'll look to improve flight performance as you develop flight assimilation and air navigation skills.

Salford is a leading UK centre for aeronautics. A gateway to professional status, our popular Aircraft Engineering course is accredited by professional institutions including Accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), so you'll be educated to the highest industry standards.

You will:
  • Study the essential elements of aircraft design.
  • Complete experiments and project work in specialised aeronautical laboratories.
  • Specialise in propulsion, computational fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, materials and structures.
  • Experience a flight test project at Cranfield University’s National Flying Laboratory Centre.
  • Follow a structured pilot training programme leading to the opportunity to gain a Private Pilot Licence.
  • Be able to take a placement year to increase your skills within the aerospace field.

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You have a keen interest in aircraft and desire a future career in engineering or as a pilot


You enjoyed mathematics or physics at college


You want a degree with professional status

Course details

All about the course

Our aircraft engineering with pilot studies course combines mathematics, science, computer-based methods, design and engineering to solve complex aircraft engineering problems.

Alongside gaining theoretical knowledge and developing creative thinking, you will study in laboratories to equip you with industry-ready practical skills. Our specialist aeronautics facilities include aerodynamics and mechanical labs, a Merlin MP520-T Flight Simulator and an Elite Flight Training System.

In year one, you'll learn the principles of engineering. As the course develops, you’ll explore specialist modules such as aircraft structures, flight systems, aerodynamics, flight simulation, route planning & navigation systems.

Prior to the final year, you will take a flight test course using Cranfield University’s specially instrumented Jetstream 31 aircraft. You also have the option to follow a structured pilot training programme to gain a Private Pilot Licence. A total of 45 flying hours are offered within the training programme at an additional cost.

Industrial Placement Option 

If you are studying full-time, you'll have the option to take an industrial placement year between years two and three. Although you will be responsible for securing your own placement, we will assign you a placement tutor to monitor your progress and assess your final placement report. By competing a placement year, you can add 'with professional experience' to your degree award.

Year one

Aviation Business Enterprise

This is your introduction to the history of air transport systems leading to the current state of the aviation business.

You will study topics such as the:

  • Evolution of surface transportation systems – roadways, railways and waterways
  • Beginnings of air transport – first generation airships and winged flying machines
  • Development of technologies relating to improvements in civilian and military aircraft designs
  • Passenger facility enhancements such as in-flight catering, conveniences and entertainment
  • Birth of the modern airliner leading to the demise of the airships and the ocean liners.

Engineering Materials and Electrical Systems

You will develop an understanding of the basic properties and applications of materials and of the principles of electronic and electrical engineering. This will include learning about the relationship between micro-structure and mechanical properties of materials, mechanisms of corrosion and corrosion protection, the principles of electronic and electrical engineering, and the response of electrical elements in circuits to AC or DC supplies.

Engineering Mathematics

You will build on the engineering mathematics module from your first year by developing advanced knowledge and skills in mathematical analysis. This will enable you to tackle more advanced engineering problems. Subjects covered include partial differentiation, determinants and matrices, vector analysis, Laplace transforms and functions of a complex variable.

Engineering Structures and Engineering Dynamics

This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of structural behaviour and the nature of stress and strain and provide you with a foundation in engineering dynamics, allowing you to tackle simple engineering problems, and preparing you for subsequent modules.

Project Management Aerofluid Mechanics

This module will introduce you to project management techniques, particularly in the areas of project planning, organisation and control. You will develop an understanding of project timings and resource allocation and a broad understanding of quantitative methods used for decision-making in industry. You will gain an understanding of the basic engineering principles that underpin the design of propulsion systems for the aerospace industry and have an introduction to the principles of gas turbine theory and jet engines. The module also covers the principles of aerodynamics for a range of flight conditions and consolidates a good understanding of flight manoeuvres and design aspects with case studies.

Principles of Air Navigation and Meteorology for Aviation

In this module you will gain proficiency and knowledge in the planning of multiple leg flight plans and build awareness and experience of aviation meteorology. On completion you should have developed skills including practical knowledge of operational procedures; requirements for safe and adequate flight planning; understanding requirements for time planning; the principles of aviation meteorology; and be able to make rational assessments for flight safety by interpreting synoptic weather forecasts.

Year two

Engineering Mathematics (year 2)

Develop more advanced knowledge and skills in mathematical analysis relevant to engineering applications. Gain the confidence to apply your skills to tackle advanced engineering challenges.

Safety Assessment in Aviation and Human Factors and Crew Resource Management

The aims of this module is for you to, develop an in depth knowledge of aviation safety issues, use and evaluate analysis so you can anticipate and alleviate safety risks in aviation and to develop an understanding of Human Factors and CRM to optimise capability to operate in a safe and efficient aviation environment.

Flight Systems (Year 2)

You'll learn the basic principles and theory of statics and dynamics as related to the static and dynamic behaviour of an aircraft and the theory of flight control as related to the dynamic behaviour of an aircraft.

Route Planning and Navigation Systems

This module will introduce the theory of business economics in route planning. You will learn the techniques and methodologies used for navigating an aircraft using modern navigation aids.

Aircraft Structures

On completion of this module you will be able to establish the integrity of typical basic structural aircraft components and explain the process of material selection for the structural items of an aircraft.

Aerodynamics (year 2)

Topics and concepts covered in this module include fluid mechanics, boundary layer theory, sources of drag in particular aircraft drag, thin aerofoil theory, lifting line theory as it applies to the aerodynamic analysis of unswept wings in low speed flow. In addition to the apparatus used and techniques employed in wind tunnel testing.

Year three

Aerodynamics (year 3)

This module is concerned with the analysis of gas turbine engines as used in aircraft propulsion and high speed aerodynamics. Emphasis is placed on the aerodynamic and thermodynamic aspects which influence the performance of a given engine design. Wherever possible, data for actual aircraft engines is used to support the analysis.

Final Year Project

The final year project is your opportunity to demonstrate your understanding and application of the knowledge you have acquired on the course. The project topic chosen will be on an agreed subject related to audio or acoustics and you have the option to work within a group or as an individual with regular supervision.

Flight Systems (Year 2)

You'll learn the basic principles and theory of statics and dynamics as related to the static and dynamic behaviour of an aircraft and the theory of flight control as related to the dynamic behaviour of an aircraft.

Industrial Management and Project Preparation

This module has two main components. Industrial management in which you will be introduced to the commercial issues which must be addressed by engineering businesses, and the principles of quality management systems; and project preparation which will develop your ability to work independently, become competent in analysing and assessing the value of information, and develop effective communication skills both written and orally.


This module will give you an in depth knowledge of avionic systems currently fitted to modern aircraft, including communication, flight instruments, flight management, automatic flight, warning and recording and passenger systems.

Aircraft Systems Design

In this module you will learn about aircraft design, including detailed refinement of component design and major interactions that have a crucial influence on the overall effectiveness of the design. You will study the interactive nature of aircraft design, including business and commercial influences, and be able to report outcomes effectively.  On completion you should also have an appreciation of market requirements in the design process.            

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


You will develop your knowledge and skills through a blend of theoretical, collaborative and practical methods:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Practical activities


You will be assessed through a combination of formats:

  • Lab exercises
  • Examinations
  • Reports

The School of Computing, Science and Engineering

The School of Computing, Science and Engineering (CSE) seeks to improve lives through proactive collaboration with industry and society. Our stimulating, industry-accredited courses and research programmes explore engineering, physics, acoustics, computing, mathematics and robotics. Through our award-winning lecturers, world-class facilities and research-led teaching, CSE produces highly employable graduates ready for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Our facilities

Mechanical Lab – This lab is used to understand material behaviour under different loading conditions and contains a tensile test machine and static loading experiments. Typical laboratory sessions would include tensile testing of materials and investigation into the bending and buckling behaviour of beams.

Aerodynamics Lab – Contains low speed and supersonic wind tunnels. Typical laboratory experiments would include determining the aerodynamic properties of an aerofoil section and influence of wing sweep on the lift and drag characteristics of a tapered wing section.

Composite Material Lab – This lab contains wet lay-up and pre-preg facilities for fabrication of composite material test sections. The facility is particularly utilised for final year project work.

Control and Dynamics Lab – Contains flight simulators and programmable control experiments. Typical laboratory sessions will include studying the effects of damping and short period oscillation analysis, forced vibration due to rotating imbalance, and understanding the design and performance of proportional and integral controllers.


Merlin MP520-T Engineering Flight Simulator

This simulator supports the engineering design modules involving aerodynamics and control systems, by giving a more practical experience of aircraft design. You'll design and input your own aircraft parameters into the simulator before then assessing the flight characteristics.

The simulator is a fully-enclosed single seat capsule mounted on a moving 2-degree of freedom platform which incorporates cockpit controls, integrated main head-up display and two secondary instrumentation display panels.

An external instructor console accompanies the simulator and is equipped with a comprehensive set of displays, override facilities and a two-way voice link to the pilot.

Elite Flight Training System

The Elite is a fixed base Piper PA-34 Seneca III aircraft simulator used for flight operations training and is certified by the CAA as a FNPT II-MCC Multi-Crew Cockpit training environment. It has two seats, each with a full set of instrumentation and controls, and European Visuals, so you see a projection of the terrain that you're flying through, based on real geographic models of general terrain and specific airports in Europe.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

The UK aerospace industry is one of the biggest in the country. It currently employs over 120,000 people in a multitude of specialist roles and, with predictions that around 41,000 new planes will be produced in the next 20 years to serve the growing air travel market, this figure is only expected to increase. 

A degree in Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies can unlock a number of fascinating career pathways; from Air Traffic Control Safety Engineer and Airworthiness Engineer to Pilot. Graduates from this course have secured employment with National Air Traffic Services (NATS), CTC Aviation and Goodrich.

We offer a range of specialism postgraduate study paths to help you take your career even further. We offer a fee discount to our graduates and alumni.

  • MEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering
  • MEng (Hons) Robotics and Automation
  • MEng (Hons) Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies

A taste of what you could become

An air traffic controller

A pilot

An aircraft engineer

A safety consultant

And more...

Career Links

As the course meets the exemplifying academic benchmark for registration as Incorporated Engineer (IEng) requirement in full, you will enhance your career prospects through professional registration and institution memberships.


What you need to know

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant Profile

This course is suited to students that have strong numerate skills, demonstrated by good A Levels in relevant subject areas, who are interested in pursuing a career in the field of aircraft engineering.

You may be keen to become a pilot, but want the academic engineering background as well to help give you a wider range of career options on graduation.

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have formal entry qualifications are required to sit a written assessment which is designed for this purpose. Support in preparing for the written assessment is available from the University. 

Standard entry


English language and maths at grade C/grade 4 or above.

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

UCAS tariff points

112 - 120 points

GCE A level

112 - 120 points with C in maths and numerate science. A pass in the Practical Element of science A levels must be achieved.

BTEC National Diploma

DMM engineering or science - must include distinctions in maths modules.

Scottish Highers

112 - 120 points; Advanced Higher mathematics at grade C and numerate science at grade C; Higher mathematics at grade B, numerate science at grade B or design at grade B.

Irish Leaving Certificate

112 points including A2 in Higher Level mathematics and numerate science.

International Baccalaureate

28 points with grade 5 or above in Higher Level maths and numerate science.

Access to HE

A minimum of 45 credits at level 3, 60 credits overall. Pass with 112 to 120 UCAS points achieved. Distinctions in numerate modules required.

Alternative entry

Salford Alternative Entry System (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2019 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2019 £14,400per year
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2019

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID H490

Institution S03