This unique course has been designed and developed to meet the needs of design and maintenance engineers in designing, analysing and maintaining aircraft

It presents the basic fundamentals of fatigue and fracture mechanics, as well as practical methods and case studies for meeting the durability and damage tolerance requirements.

The course consists of two main parts. Part 1 presents the basic theories of fatigue analysis and fracture mechanics, which is also suitable to automotive and civil engineers. Part 2 is designed to enhance the learning objectives offering specialist topics and case studies and exploring in greater depth. The course is focused largely on metallic aircraft structures rather than polymer composite aircraft.  A separate course on polymer composite aircraft structures is available - see "Design, Durability and Integrity of Composite Aircraft Structures".

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • DurationOne week
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£1,535 The course fee includes refreshments and lunch during the day. Accommodation is not included and must be booked separately. Concessions available

What you will learn

  • An overview of design philosophies and good design practice for structural durability and damage tolerance of civil and military aircraft
  • An understanding of the principles and techniques of fatigue and fracture mechanics analysis, strength and service durability predictions
  • Worked examples and hands-on experience of solution methods and procedures in structural fatigue, damage tolerance problems and airworthiness issues in aircraft structures
  • Awareness of problem areas and regulatory requirements for fatigue and damage tolerant design in aircraft

Core content

  • Fatigue design philosophies
  • Regulatory background on civil and military aircraft
  • Requirements for fatigue and damage tolerant design
  • Damage tolerance and material selection - the role of strength level and toughness
  • Inspection threshold and inspection intervals
  • Requirements for NDT capability
  • Fatigue analysis methods
  • Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics applied to static and fatigue failure
  • Calculation of fatigue crack growth lives
  • Computer based tools for life assessment - workshop session
  • Fatigue loading spectra
  • Fatigue and fracture analysis of commuter aircraft structures
  • Repair, Replacement and Regulations
  • Airworthiness lessons from Lusaka accident
  • Ageing aircraft structures - current regulatory position
  • Damage tolerance and widespread fatigue damage
  • Fatigue management strategies
  • Evolution of part 25 fatigue requirements
  • The course will incorporate a session on a retired Boeing 737 aircraft, viewing locations where fatigue cracks are known to develop in service

Who should attend

This course is suitable for:

  • Stress engineers, design engineers, and analysts
  • Research students and research engineers
  • Responsible senior managers and technical programme managers
  • Airworthiness and certification engineers
  • Maintenance and repair engineers.


As well as benefiting from the expertise of a number of Cranfield academics who are experts in their field, you will also benefit from the expertise of invited external speakers.

  • Professor John Bristow, Visiting Professor of Structural Integrity to Cranfield University; Co-founder of Airworthiness MSc programme. Formerly Head of the Structures and Materials Department of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). John has over 40 years of experience in the aircraft industry, in structural design and regulations, the De Havilland Division of H.S.A, and subsequently worked as a structural design surveyor covering both structural design and continued airworthiness aspects of all types of aircraft, metallic and composite, for the CAA.

  • Dr Wenli Liu, Key lecturer in the Aerospace Vehicle Design group of the Centre of Aeronautics at Cranfield University, leading research and teaching in F&DT of Aircraft Structures both for metal and composites. Wenli has gained broad knowledge and experience in aircraft design and structural analysis with the aircraft industry over the past 20 years and supported A400M and A350 wing design and analysis for Airbus and GKN.

  • Dr Alain Santgerma, Joined the Fatigue & Damage Tolerance department in Airbus in 1994 with a masters degree, and subsequently obtained his PhD from the French National Institute of Applied Sciences in 1997 (subject: Widespread Fatigue Damage). He worked on all life extension projects launched in Airbus, from A300 to A340. He has been involved in US and European Ageing Aircraft Working Groups for 15 years. As a Fatigue & Damage Tolerance expert, he advises on the design, certification and continued airworthiness of most Airbus products on topics such as major tests and analyses. Since 2007, he has been leading a transnational team dealing with stress policies & directives, fatigue spectra, and major test activities for all Airbus products. Today, he is involved in compliance demonstration to the Ageing Aircraft regulations.


20% discount for Cranfield Alumni. 
10% discount when registering 3 or more delegates, from the same organisation at the same time.  

Accommodation fees are not included in the discount scheme. Please ask about our discount scheme at time of booking.

Accommodation options and prices

We are pleased to offer an exclusive accommodation package at our Mitchell Hall hotel. Located on campus, all rooms are en-suite and available on a half-board basis from Sunday to Friday. The cost of this package is £560.

If you would like to book our accommodation package for this short course*, please indicate this on your registration form.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

*Subject to availability.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.