Airworthiness Webinar - 15th December 2021 12:00 BST. To find out more about the programme, click here to register.
Airworthiness is at the forefront of aviation development. It is vital that staff have sufficient knowledge and skill to apply principles in design, manufacture, operation and maintenance of aircraft to both develop and maintain airworthiness. This part-time course has been developed to meet industry demand for qualified airworthiness specialists and addresses key aspects of aircraft design, construction, operation and maintenance.


  • Start dateSeptember, February
  • DurationTwo-three years part-time
  • DeliveryTaught component 50%, Individual research project 40%, Course portfolio 10%. PgDip: Taught component 83%, Course portfolio 17%. PgCert: Taught component 100%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typePart-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

The Airworthiness Master's course is highly flexible and designed to meet the needs of individuals who are balancing work commitments with study.  It is especially relevant to engineers and technologists working in the airworthiness field of aviation safety, either in a regulatory authority or in the industry. The format is especially suitable for those who wish to enhance and focus their knowledge in a structured but flexible part-time format while continuing to work.

The subject of your research project can be chosen to match the research needs of your employer and/or your own career ambitions.

Why this course?

This course provides an academically recognised high standard of qualification related to the wide spectrum of technologies met in aerospace. It offers a wide range of technical knowledge in the context of related regulatory and safety issues, a background that managers in today's aerospace industry need to possess. A detailed knowledge of airworthiness issues early in the product development stage helps the downstream business operation which must balance cost and safety. This will also help to optimise the aircraft design, modification and/or the repair process.

We appreciate that students will be balancing employment with study which is why we aim to minimise the number of visits required to Cranfield University and offer modules in one-week blocks. Students undertaking the full MSc programme would be expected to come to Cranfield ten times in the 2-3 year period. We are well located for part-time students from across the world and offer a range of support services for off-site students.

We welcome delegates from all over the world and this provides a unique learning environment for both students and delegates who benefit from the mix of experience and backgrounds. Attendance of our short courses is a popular entry route onto this course as delegates are able to carry their credits forward onto the Airworthiness programme which a choice of qualification levels available to choose from:

  • Master’s Degree (MSc) option of this course consists of a taught element (ten modules), an individual research project and course portfolio
  • Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) option of this course consists of only the taught element where students must complete six modules
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) option of this course consists of a taught element (ten modules) and course portfolio.

Informed by Industry

The Airworthiness MSc is directed by an Industrial Advisory Board comprising senior representatives from industry. The board acts in an advisory role, assessing the content of the course and its relevance to present industrial needs. Current members include representatives from:

  • Airbus
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Course details

There are seven mandatory modules which aim to provide you with a common basis of knowledge and skills on which the specialist options can build further. You are then free to choose three optional modules in line with your developing interests.

The course uses a range of assessment types. Students can expect to have written examinations, assignments and presentations as well as the group design and individual research projects. The range of assessment methods have been chosen to develop skills and be of relevance to the taught materials.

Course delivery

Taught component 50%, Individual research project 40%, Course portfolio 10%. PgDip: Taught component 83%, Course portfolio 17%. PgCert: Taught component 100%

Individual project

The individual research project is completed by students who wish to complete the MSc qualification of the Airworthiness course. The project is normally undertaken in the final year and brings together the learning from the taught components to consolidate learning. The subject of the project is normally chosen to reflect the needs of the sponsoring organisation and/or to match your career ambitions. Project topics represent the broad range of areas covered by the course.

Previous Individual Research Projects have included:

  • An assessment of the applicability of an ageing aircraft audit to the microlight aircraft type
  • The justification of ALARP by Ministry of Defence aircraft project team
  • Introduction of a service bulletin review process in the military environment.


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course.

Airworthiness Fundamentals

Module Leader
  • Cengiz Turkoglu
    To provide a fundamental knowledge of the requirements for airworthiness in aircraft design, production, operation and maintenance.
    • Introduction to Airworthiness
    • Air Law
    • Certification Process, including the safety assessment of aircraft systems
    • Airworthiness Lessons learned - Review of significant accidents
    • Production Organisation Approval (POA)
    • Maintenance and Operations Approvals
    • Continuing Airworthiness management
    • Engine certification
    • Application of Safety Management Systems in the field of airworthiness
    • Human Factors in maintenance
    • Incident reporting and Service Difficulty Reports (SDRs)
    • Engine failure modes
    • FAA certification of non-US products
    • Current airworthiness challenges.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe the legal basis which underpins airworthiness regulation in aircraft design, production, operation and maintenance.
2. Interpret the principles of airworthiness as applied to the process of aircraft and engine certification
3. Communicate the importance of airworthiness requirements as they relate to aircraft design, production, operation and maintenance.
4. Articulate the process for Continuing Airworthiness management for different types and sizes of operator.

Safety Assessment of Aircraft Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Leigh Dunn

    To familiarise course members with the various approaches to the problems of assessing the safety of increasingly complex aircraft systems.

    Introduction and background

    Outline of relevant accidents and system design philosophy.  Discussion of acceptable accident rates and recent advances in systems.  Introduction to probability methods.

    Regulatory background 

    The development of requirements for safety assessment, FAR / EASA CS25—1309.

    Methods and techniques

    Introduction to the more common safety analysis techniques. Influence of human factors.  Common mode failures, traps and pitfalls of using safety assessment and examples of mechanical systems and power plants.

    Use of safety assessment techniques

    Determination of correct architecture of safety critical systems.  Fault Tree Analysis, Dependence Diagrams and Boolean algebra for quantification of system reliability.  Zonal safety analysis (ZSA), Particular Risk Analysis (PRA) and Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) of aircraft systems.

    Practical examples of the application of safety assessment techniques

    Minimum Equipment Lists (MEL), Safety and Certification of digital systems and safety critical software.  Application of Aerospace Recommended Practice (ARP) 4761.  Typical safety assessment for a stall warning and identification system.

    Current and future issues

    Integrated and modular systems and their certification.  Certification maintenance requirements.  Flight-deck ergonomics.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the regulatory background behind the Safety Assessment of Aircraft Systems. 
  • Evaluate and apply the technique(s) which is most appropriate for the system under consideration. 
  • Explain the theory behind each technique, including the strengths and weaknesses of each one, and be aware of possible pitfalls. 
  • Appreciate the role of safety assessment in the overall context of aircraft certification. 
  • Illustrate the issues to be faced for the certification of new systems and aircraft.

Air Transport Engineering - Maintenance Operations

Module Leader
  • Cengiz Turkoglu
    To provide students with the fundamentals of the disciplines associated with the management of aircraft maintenance and engineering.

    • Maintenance Programme Development – balancing of technical requirements and operational priorities; Maintenance Steering Group 3 process.
    • Optimisation of maintenance - Outsourcing/In House Maintenance; Application of Lean principles to Maintenance operations; Maintenance planning; Maintenance costs.
    • Human Factors in Aircraft Maintenance - Error types; Classification systems; Maintenance Error Management System; Maintenance Error Decision Aid (MEDA) & other resources.
    • Logistics and supply chain management.
    • Linkages between manufacturer, operator and maintenance organisation.
    • Continuing airworthiness management and Regulatory aspects (EASA Part M).
    • Health and usage monitoring, engine condition monitoring etc.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe the principles of reliability with direct relation to aircraft availability.
2. Outline a maintenance management programme, including the interface with operations, supply chain and cost issues.
3. Critically appraise the various aircraft maintenance philosophies used for in-service aircraft.
4. Develop a process for achieving continuing airworthiness management with the appropriate regulatory approval.

Aircraft Fatigue and Damage Tolerance

Module Leader
  • Dr Wenli Liu
    To familiarise students with fatigue and damage tolerance analysis techniques and their application to aircraft structural design by instruction, investigation and example.
    Introduction to Fatigue Design Philosophies
    Outline of the fatigue failure process; Approaches to design against fatigue; safe-life, fail-safe, and damage tolerance; Fatigue life calculation requirements

    Regulatory background
    Requirements for fatigue and damage tolerant design for civil & military aircraft; Chronology of accidents in relation to aircraft design approach; Evolution of requirements; Focus on Large Aeroplanes and Rotorcraft

    Fatigue Analysis
    S-N curve approach: the traditional fatigue analysis approach; e-N curve approach for low cycle fatigue; mean stress effect; Palmgren-Miner’s cumulative damage model.
    Crack Initiation Life Prediction: Notch effect; Neuber’s approach; calculation of crack initiation life at notch root and fastener holes; Worked examples of techniques.
    Aircraft fatigue loading spectrum: atmospheric turbulence, manoeuvre, landing and ground loads; determination of cumulative frequency load distribution. Cycle counting methods.

    Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics
    Basic theory of Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics; crack tip stress intensity factor; strain energy release rate; fracture toughness; R-curve; fracture criterion; plane stress and plane strain conditions; plastic zone at crack tip; calculation of residual strength.
    Crack growth under cyclic loading; crack closure effect; overload retardation effect; load sequence effects; predicting crack growth life; Worked examples.

    Computer tools for life assessment – workshop session using the AFGROW package for crack growth prediction

    Residual strength calculation of stiffened panels
    Short crack growth and the limitations of fracture mechanics

    Material selection
    Role of strength level and toughness; effect of corrosion on fatigue;
    Comparison of response behaviour of Composites and Metals to cyclic loading.


    Inspection considerations.
    Methods to establish thresholds; Requirements for NDT capability;
    Probability of detection versus crack length
    Fatigue & fracture analysis of commuter aircraft structures
    Review of round robin exercise applying analysis techniques to actual aircraft structural components

    Ageing aircraft structures
    Multiple-site damage phenomenon; Effect of ageing; Effect of MSD on lead crack residual strength; Equivalent initial quality flaw size; Real examples demonstrated on several aircraft types; Onset of widespread fatigue damage; Inspection frequency for each Principle Structural Element; Limit of Validity, Current regulatory approach for in-service aircraft.

    Repair to damage tolerant aircraft
    Techniques for the design of damage tolerant repairs;
    Examples of in service repairs and regulatory lessons learned;
    Use of cold expansion for life enhancement

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Explain the concepts of fatigue design and analysis methods.

2. Describe damage tolerant design and the application of fracture mechanics to aircraft structures.

3. Undertake fatigue analysis, residual strength and crack growth calculation for basic structural configurations.

4. Relate the design principles involved to structural safety considerations in the appropriate regulatory context, both for new designs and in service aircraft.

Gas Turbine Fundamentals

Module Leader
  • Professor Vassilios Pachidis

    To provide an opportunity to acquire a good general understanding of the principles of gas turbine design and performance appropriate to both manufacturing and user industries


    • Gas turbine fundamentals
    o Fundamental fluid mechanics applied to the gas turbine engine.
    o Properties of gases including entropy and viscosity.
    o Reynolds number effect and qualitative treatment of boundary layer behaviour.
    o Adiabatic and isentropic flow, static and stagnation conditions. Mass flow functions and choking.

    • Gas turbine performance
    o An introduction to ideal cycles.
    o Component and cycle efficiencies and their relationship with specific consumption and air miles per gallon.
    o Design-point analysis of turbojet, turboprop and turbofan (bypass) cycles.
    o Influence of pressure ratio, peak temperature, by-pass ratio and flight conditions on specific thrust and fuel consumption.
    o Use of non-dimensional groupings.

    • Gas turbine applications
    o Comparison of behaviour of different engine types; choice of engine parameters for given duty.

    • Axial compressor design and performance
    o Overall problems of diffusing airflows.
    o The overall compressor characteristic, real and ideal, stall and choke, the surge line, running line, effect of changes in inlet pressure and temperature.
    o Off-Design performance, use of variable IGV's, air bleed, multi-spooling.
    o Choice of annulus geometry, tip speed, etc.

    • Axial turbine design and performance.
    o Overall problems of expanding airflows. The importance of passage shape. Choice of blade profile shape, prescribed velocity distribution. The axial turbine stage, velocity triangles, reaction, stage loading and flow coefficients; Limiting values. Design for maximum power, effect of Mach number, effect of choking and changes of inlet temperature and pressure. Factors affecting efficiency, efficiency correlations. Choice of design point according to application.

    • Combustion systems
    o The following topics are treated at an introductory level:
    o Burning velocity; effects of pressure, temperature and turbulence.
    o Performance criteria of combustion chambers; combustion efficiency, stability and ignition performance, temperature traverse quality.
    o Fuel injection methods; spray injection, vaporising tubes, airblast atomisers.
    o Gaseous pollutants, mechanism of production of CO, Nox, UHC and aldehydes. Carbon formation and exhaust smoke, use of alternative and residual fuels in gas turbines.
    o Combustor cooling.

    • Fuels Technology
    o Hydrocarbon fuel molecular structure and behaviour.
    o Conventional petroleum fuel types and preparation.
    o Laboratory test methods and results.
    o Significance of test results in fuel handling and combustion performance.
    o Aviation fuel specifications, and reasons for recent amendments.
    o Current problems: thermal stability, linear temperature, smoke formation, etc.
    o Expected changes in fuel quality.
    o Alternative fuels for use in the short and long term.

    • Mechanical integrity
    o Origin of loads on gas-turbine components.
    o Factors and strength criteria for proof, ultimate, creep, fracture and fatigue cases.
    o Integrity of specific components such as discs, blades, shafts, combustion chambers, casings, flanges, etc.
    o Cumulative creep.
    o Fatigue and Fracture Mechanics -. Effects of cyclic loading.
    o Paris Law, mean stress effects.
    o Types of vibration encountered in the gas turbine.
    o Blade modes of vibration, including centrifugal and thermal effects.
    o Methods of determining natural frequencies.
    o Production of frequency diagram and methods of overcoming vibration problems.
    o Critical speeds of shafts and alleviation by means of squeeze-film damper bearings.

    • Design substantiation and Certification
    o Current regulatory requirements [European and USA] for aerospace.
    o Nature and extent of substantiation and validation testing.
    o The role of analysis.
    o Examples of typical design pitfalls.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Make a reasoned selection of the major performance parameters according to engine application.
2. Understand the impact on design and performance of the joint constraints of mechanical and thermal issues and the need for adequate off- design performance.
3. Understand the statutory design requirements and the extent of testing and analysis required for aero-engine certification.
4. Demonstrate knowledge of the design issues that can effect airworthiness.

Aviation Safety Management


    To provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills required to manage operational safety within the aviation industry.

    • The fundamentals of a Safety Management System, and introduction to associated guidance material provided by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and other State safety regulatory bodies
    • Safety data, safety information and analyses, including reporting systems, investigation and Flight Data Monitoring (FDM)
    • Hazard identification and risk management, including an introduction to Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)
    • Safety performance and safety health, including guidance on audits and safety promotion
    • Safety organisations, including guidance on effective management of safety teams
Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this module the student will be able to:

  • Describe the fundamental concepts behind Safety Management Systems (SMS), as defined by ICAO, UK CAA, CASA and Transport Canada
  • Select and implement techniques for the identification, quantification and management of hazards and risks
  • Critically assess strategies for developing and enhancing safety culture including the role of leadership, structure and reporting systems
  • Identify techniques for measuring safety performance.

Design of Airframe Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Craig Lawson
    To expand the students’ knowledge of airframe systems, their role, design and integration. In particular, to provide students with an appreciation of the considerations necessary when selecting aircraft power systems and the effect of systems on the aircraft as a whole.
    • Introduction to airframe systems
    • Systems design philosophy and safety
    • Aircraft secondary power systems
    • Aircraft pneumatics power systems
    • Aircraft hydraulics power systems
    • Aircraft electrical power systems
    • Flight control power systems
    • Aircraft environmental control
    • Aircraft oxygen systems
    • Aircraft icing and ice protection systems
    • Aircraft emergency systems
    • Aviation fuels and aircraft fuel systems
    • Engine off-take effects
    • Fuel penalties of systems
    • Advanced and possible future airframe systems
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Identify the main airframe systems in civil and military aircraft and explain their purposes and principles of operation.
2. Cite the sources of systems power and explain their architecture, generation and distribution methods.
3. Discuss the requirements for; identify types of equipment and systems used for; and perform basic analysis of environmental control and oxygen systems in aircraft.
4. Cite and explain the problems resulting from icing on aircraft and systems available to provide protection.
5. Identify and explain the major considerations to be made in the design of aircraft fuel systems and the major components and sub-systems, including aviation fuels.
6. Appraise the effects of airframe systems power provision on aircraft power plants.
7. Analyse fuel penalties resulting from a given system’s presence on an aircraft by carrying out basic calculations.
8. Recognise and interpret the reasons for, and possible types of changes, that may occur in airframe systems in the near future.

Elective modules
A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Mechanical Integrity of Gas Turbines

Module Leader
  • Professor Panagiotis Laskaridis

    To familiarise course members with the common problems associated with the mechanical design and lifting of the gas turbine engine and its components


    Loads / forces / stresses in gas turbine engines
    The origin of loads / forces / stresses in a gas turbine engine such as loads associated with: rotational inertia, flight, precession of shafts, pressure gradient, torsion, seizure, blade release, engine mountings within the airframe and bearings. Discussion of major loadings associated with the rotating components and those within the pressure casing including components subject to heating.

    Failure criteria
    Monotonic failure criteria: proof, ultimate strength of materials. Theories of failure applied to bi-axial loads. Other failure mechanisms associated with gas turbine engines including creep and fatigue. Fatigue properties including SN and RM diagrams, the effect of stress concentration, mean stress etc. The double Goodman diagram technique applied to fatigue life calculations of gas turbine components. Cumulative fatigue, multi-axial fatigue, strain based methods for the calculation of low cycle fatigue life. The rainflow cycle counting technique and its application to the calculation of fatigue life. Methods of calculating creep life using the the Larson- Miller Time-Temperature parameter. Lifing philosophies applied to gas turbine critical components. Introduction to fracture mechanics and its application to the Damage Tolerance Lifing Philosophy.

    The design of discs and blades. Illustration of the magnitude of stresses in conventional axial flow blades by means of a simple desk-top method to include the effect of leaning the blade. The stressing of axial flow discs by means of a discretised hand calculation which illustrates the distribution and relative magnitude of the working stresses within a disc. The design of flanges and bolted structures. Criteria for leakage through a flanged joint and failure of the joint from fatigue.

    Blade vibration

    Introduction to vibration and vibration measurement. Resonances. Sources of blade excitation including stationary flow disturbance, rotating stall and flutter. Vibration of bladed assemblies. Derivation of the Campbell diagram from which troublesome resonances may be identified. Methods for dealing with resonances. Vibration monitoring.

    Turbomachine rotordynamics

    Shaft dynamics and bearings. Critical speeds / mode shapes and their relevance to gas turbine engines. The effect of bearing / support stiffness on critical speed.

    Regulatory requirements

    European airworthiness standards related to engine and component integrity. Testing, validation and certification issues. Case studies.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the design requirements of gas turbine turbomachinery components.
2. Perform straightforward calculations involving bi-axial monotonic loads on gas turbine rotating components and to apply appropriate failure criteria.
3. Estimate the life of a gas turbine blade or shaft subject to two cyclic amplitudes of fatigue loading.
4. Perform hand calculations to estimate the stresses in turbomachine blades and discs
5. Calculate the low order natural frequencies of turbomachine blades and use them in conjunction with Campbell diagrams to suggest solutions to problems with dangerous resonances in the running range of the engine.
6. Design a flanged joint making allowances for leakage and fatigue failure.
7. Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant regulatory requirements and the means of substantiation for aerospace gas turbine component integrity.

Practical Reliability

Module Leader
  • Dr Simon Place

    To familiarise Course Members with the reliability analysis of data from tests and service records, and methods of evaluating system reliability as part of design

    • Outline of the various means of performing the reliability analysis of components and systems.
    • Requirements for safety and reliability analysis as part of Regulatory Approval process.
    • Analysis of Failure Data - Negative exponential and Weibull probability distributions; Data analysis and ranking methods; Confidence intervals; Normal, log-normal distributions.
    • Systems - Conventional representation; Series-parallel methods; Decomposition techniques; Path and cut sets; Reliability of maintained systems; Failure mode effect and criticality analysis; Fault Tree Analysis; Markov methods.
    • Applications - Reliability prediction during project design and development; In-service reliability and service policy development
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Understand and illustrate the concepts of reliability analysis.
2. Distinguish between the different methods for analysing the reliability of components and systems.
3. Use the most appropriate analysis technique when presented with failure data based on component and/or system in-service information.
4. Outline a quantitative and qualitative analysis of different component and system designs.

Aircraft Accident Investigation and Response

Module Leader
  • Dr Leigh Dunn

    The process of accident investigation will be considered as a whole from notification and disaster response through evidence collection and analysis to the preparation of a final report and recommendations for change. Different approaches will be considered including ‘no-blame’, criminal and coronial investigations with particular emphasis on the role that human factors practitioners can play in the investigation and in dealing with the consequences of an accident and its associated recommendations.

    Accident investigation approaches and response,
    investigation as it relates to safety management systems,
    disaster response and emergency planning,
    on site appraisal and preservation of evidence,
    human factors in investigations,
    witnesses and interviewing,
    cross-cultural issues in accident investigation,
    preparing and managing recommendations. 

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

describe the accident investigation process as used in a number of industries,
identify roles and responsibilities within the accident investigation process,
critically assess analysis techniques used in accident investigation,
evaluate common causal factors.

Fundamentals of Aircraft Engine Control

Module Leader
  • Dr Ioannis Goulos
    This module aims to introduce aircraft engine control and to explain the philosophy of jet engine control requirements and systems to gas turbine engineers.


    Compressor performance
    The difficulty of compressing air; the overall compressor characteristic and its graphical presentation. Running line and surge line. Performance limitations at low rotational speed and low airflow. Design for surge alleviation. The use of variable inlet guide vanes, variable stators, air bleed, multi-spooling.

    Axial turbine performance
    Physics of expanding gas flows and choking. Performance at maximum flow. Effect of changes in inlet temperature and pressure. The turbine overall performance characteristic and turbine efficiency.

    Gas turbine control

    Needs and Implementation. The gas turbine is a very complex mechanism that has to operate within many constraints including aerodynamic, mechanical and handling issues. At the same time it also needs to be responsive and operate safely. An explanation will be given on these constraints and how different features such as variable stators, bleed valves and variable area nozzles can be used to implement safe and responsive engine handling. An explanation on component matching and the influence of each control feature on the operation of the engine.

    Introduction to fuel systems and fuel pumps

    To include the role of the fuel system; fuel properties; typical fuel flows, temperatures, and pressures in the system, descriptions of low pressure first stage pump, high pressure second stage pumps; typical modern control systems.

    Airframe Fuel Systems

    Low Pressure Engine Fuel Systems. To include typical LP system architecture, fuel pump inlet pressure requirements, the concept of Net Positive Suction Pressure (NPSP), establishing the low pressure pump design points; low pressure first stage pump types; fundamentals of LP pump design.

    High pressure engine fuel pumps
    Difference between positive displacement and rotodynamic pumps, types of positive displacement pumps; selecting the optimum drive speed; sizing a positive displacement pump; the effect of leakage on pump size and heat rejection; mechanical design considerations; journal bearing design; pointing design and minimizing cavitation erosion damage.

    Hydro-mechanical fuel metering

    Brief history of fuel control architectures leading to FADEC systems; Functions required by modern FADEC based fuel controls; impact of reliability requirements on modern fuel control architecture; modern fuel control architecture; basic principles of fuel flow; fuel metering; electrical interface devices used on modern fuel controls; engine actuation; demonstration of modern fuel control hardware; fitness for purpose, future trends in fuel control.

    Electronic engine control
    To include circuit design, mechanical design, software.

    Staged Combustion
    To include Aircraft emissions, emissions legislation, controlling emissions, fuel control requirements, fuel control, control laws.

    Fuel controls for ‘more/all’ electric engines

    To include impact of the More/All electric engine on fuel control, positive displacement pump based systems, centrifugal pump based systems, technical challenges.

    Airworthiness considerations
    European and USA regulatory requirements relevant to certification and substation of engine controls and fuel systems including their installation. Service history, occurrences and case studies

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Analyse the control needs and operational issues associated with gas turbines used for aircraft propulsion.
2. Distinguish the objectives of control philosophies systems.
3. Assess jet engine control systems design.
4. Evaluate the different mechanisms that allow the safe and efficient operation of a jet engine.
5. Relate the technology involved to the regulatory framework.

Fundamentals of Aerodynamics

Module Leader
  • Professor Kevin Garry

    To give a basic knowledge of aerodynamic principles and familiarity with the fundamental characteristics of fluid flow.

    • Fluid Properties and Basic Flow Equations.
    • Dimensional Analysis and Aerodynamic force.
    • Viscosity the Boundary Layer and Skin Friction.
    • Vortex Flow and Aerofoil Circulation.
    • Finite Low Speed Wings.
    • Aerofoil and Wing High Lift Devices.
    • Flying Controls.
    • Supersonic Flow Characteristics.
    • Supersonic Aerofoil Sections.
    • Finite Supersonic Wings.
    • Transonic Flow Characteristics.
    • Theoretical Aerodynamics: Navier Stokes Equations, Vector form of Navier Stokes equations.
    • Mathematical properties of PDE’s.
    • Solution methodology for initial boundary value problems.
    • Other Reduced forms of the Navier Stokes Equations.
    • Equation of Continuity: Viscous Stresses - shear and normal.
    • Navier-Stokes equations. The viscous flow energy equation.
    • Similarity parameters.
    • The 2D boundary layer equations - continuity, x and y momentum and energy.
    • Analyse experimental aerodynamic data using XFOIL software
    • Conduct virtual experiment using lab view
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Summarise the principles of incompressible flows including vortices and viscous effects, boundary layers and basic wing and aerofoil section characteristics.
2. Describe the implications of compressibility effects; shock waves, supersonic and transonic flow.
3. Analyse results from basic low speed and high speed wind tunnel experiments.
4. Relate the technology studied to the regulatory requirements for airworthiness

Manufacturing for Airworthiness


    The aim is to provide students with a basic understanding of a broad range of issues associated with aircraft manufacture. The module will cover technical and management topics ranging from strategy and factory planning to composite manufacture.

    • Key manufacturing concepts and processes
    • Composite manufacture
    • Manufacturing planning and control issues
    • Lean and cellular manufacturing principles
    • Quality management
    • Manufacturing systems analysis using factory physics
    • Modelling and simulation of manufacturing systems
    • Manufacturing cost engineering
    • Sustainable manufacturing
    • Product introduction and product use/service.
Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students will:

  • Have a critical awareness of manufacturing systems concepts that will enable them to contribute to the cost-effective manufacture of future aircraft
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships between different manufacturing disciplines and how these can contribute to meeting the special challenges of aircraft manufacture
  • Be able to apply their acquired knowledge to contribute effectively to Integrated Product Teams representing or taking into account the manufacturing issues related to aerospace product realisation.

Design, Durability and Integrity of Composite Aircraft Structures


    The course seeks to provide engineers with knowledge of polymer composite properties and behaviour relevant to their in-service performance durability and maintenance in aircraft structures


    Basic principles
    Introduction to composite materials comparison of relevant mechanical and service properties to those of metals; manufacturing process and relation of process and constituents to service performance.

    Regulatory background

    Requirements for fatigue and damage tolerant design in civil and military aircraft as implemented for polymer composite structures. Requirements for rotorcraft and for large fixed wing aircraft.

    Structural analysis

    Brief summary of methods and techniques for stress analysis and aircraft design using polymer composite materials.

    Fatigue analysis

    In-plane fatigue and failure processes; stiffness and strength changes under fatigue loading; fatigue notch effects in polymer composite laminates; cycle counting techniques and variable amplitude loading in metallic and polymer composite materials; life assessment and calculation procedures for design against in-plane fatigue.

    Delamination crack growth and fracture mechanics

    Basic theory of linear elastic fracture mechanics; strain energy release rate; applications to delamination crack growth in polymer composite laminates; delamination crack growth testing under static and fatigue loading; laboratory testing to measure Mode I and Mode II interlaminar fracture toughness (GIC and GIIC); comparison with stress intensity approaches in metallic materials; calculation of delamination behaviour of small samples and of aircraft structures. Damage tolerance issues in composites.

    Service degradation processes

    Impact damage in polymer composite laminates
    Response of polymer composites to out-of-plane impact loading; laboratory testing, effects of velocity, mass and impacting body shape on damage produced; damage morphologies, barely visible impact damage (BVID) concepts; effects of laminate constituents on damage resistance; effects of in-plane loading on impact damage growth and laminate strength; compression and fatigue after impact; design against impact damage.

    Service environment issues

    Including response to temperature and humidity; bird strike; in- service damage detection in composite structures; repairs; operator experience with polymer composite aircraft structures. Structural test requirements to prove airworthiness.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe the properties and manufacture techniques of polymer composite materials, and of the basic approaches to design with them.
2. Categorise the aircraft service degradation processes of polymer composite laminates involving fatigue, impact loading, temperature and humidity fluctuations.
3. Evaluate the effect aircraft service degradation processes have on strength and durability of the composite.
4. Undertake simple calculations of damage tolerance based on laboratory test data.
5. Formulate structural and coupon sample test requirements to demonstrate the adequacy of the static and fatigue strength and damage tolerance of a composite aircraft structure.
6. Critically appraise the design principles and relate them to structural safety considerations in the appropriate regulatory context, for both new designs and in- service aircraft.

Introduction to Avionics

Module Leader
  • Dr David Zammit-Mangion

    To provide a comprehensive overview of avionics systems and infrastructures.

    • Introduction to avionics systems.
    • Airborne sensor systems.
    • Navigation and communications systems – terrestrial and satellite-based systems, autonomous navigation systems, digital data links.
    • Radar – principle of operation, operational modes, radar cross section.
    • Displays – head down, head up and helmet mounted displays.
    • Avionics systems architectures and integration, databases.
    • Flight management and situational awareness systems, air traffic management.
    • Military applications – electronic warfare and countermeasures.
    • Product design considerations – design standards, fault tolerance and product life cycle.
    • Case study – a complete avionics installation.

    This module has an additional tutorial inside the cockpit of the large aircraft flight simulator. Students will be able to appreciate the cockpit layout design, understand information displayed to the pilot, and have the opportunity of flying the simulator. This tutorial is intended to enhance the learning process and the knowledge gained.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of operation, basic functions and properties of avionics systems.
2. Identify the design and development strategies of avionics systems.
3. Be capable of developing avionics installation requirements in aircraft.

Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance

Module Leader
  • Cengiz Turkoglu

    The module aims to provide a broad overview of the nature and management of human error in the aviation maintenance domain. Key theories and frameworks for investigating maintenance human error, contributing factors and effects on operations are introduced. The challenges associated with practical application of currently available safety tools are examined together with the latest strategies to enhance understanding and management of maintenance error. This module does not require previous background in aviation maintenance and engineering.

    The nature of the maintenance environment:This includes both civil and military environments. 

    Maintenance management: Organisation, line and base maintenance, planning, maintenance control, error management systems, shift handover, blame cycle, communication in the workplace, workplace environment, work/job design. Regulatory framework: Legal requirements. EASA/Part 145 Maintenance Human Factors.
    • Designing for human factors: What can be done by the designer to reduce and mitigate human error. Design philosophies and human-centred design.
    • Human error management in maintenance: The benefits and challenges associated with the use and application of reporting systems and safety tools.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. describe the regulatory background and the environment within which aviation maintenance takes place Describe the regulatory background and the environment within which aviation maintenance takes place
2. evaluate current methods for maintenance error management (reactive, proactive and predictive)
3. appraise the links between aircraft maintenance and safety
4. analyse ways in which maintenance errors can be reduced at the design stage.

Flight Experimental Methods (Group Flight Test Report)


    The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the performance, stability and control characteristics of a conventional aircraft.

    • Air data systems, Standard atmosphere and pressure error measurement.
    • Basic aircraft aerodynamics: lift and drag.
    • Cruise and climb performance.
    • Static equilibrium and trim.
    • Longitudinal static stability, trim, pitching moment equation, static margins and manoeuvre margins.
    • Lateral-directional trim and static stability.
    • Introduction to dynamic stability and modal analysis

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe the concepts of equilibrium, trim, static, manoeuvre and dynamic stability;
2. Evaluate the cruise and climb performance and the aerodynamic and stability characteristics of a conventional aircraft;
3. Apply the principles of flight test analysis and assessment;
4. Compile and present a technical report in written and verbal form;
5. Work effectively in a group environment.

Detail Stressing

Module Leader
  • Dr Ioannis Giannopoulos
    To introduce students to the techniques of detail stressing as practised in the aerospace industry.
    • The structural function of aircraft components. Definition of Limit, Proof and Ultimate loads and Factors for Civil and Military aircraft
    • Basic formulas for stress analysis. Stress strain curves for metallic materials. Material equivalents. Concept of Reserve Factors (RF) and Margins of Safety (MS)
    • Material data. Design guidelines for mechanically fastened joints. Lugs. Strength of bolted/riveted joints. Usage of approved aerospace components
    • Structures under bending and compression. Euler buckling, flange buckling, inter-rivet buckling. Buckling of struts and plates. Shear buckling of webs
    • Generalized stress strain curves
    • Plastic bending and form factors
    • Rivet and bolt group analysis
    • Analysis of thin walled structures
    • Preparation of a detailed Stressing Report and Reserve Factor summary tables for a classroom exercise to be completed during this module.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Apply the principals and techniques in stress analysis and airworthiness requirements to size basic aircraft structural components
  • Evaluate the strength of a component and determine its ability to support an applied load
  • Compare, propose and select metallic materials suitable for use in aircraft structures
  • Acquire transferable skills to allow effective communication with company stress engineers.

Introduction to Aircraft Structural Crashworthiness

Module Leader
  • Dr Hessam Ghasemnejad
    The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the design of crashworthy aircraft structures and the considerations necessary when designing safe and crashworthy aircraft. The main purpose of crashworthy design is to eliminate injuries and fatalities in mild impacts and minimise them in severe but survivable impacts.
    • Overview of Aircraft Crashworthiness 
      o Objectives and Approach
      o Regulations
      o Human Tolerance

    • Crash Energy Management

    • Structural Collapse

      o Collapse of metallic and composite structural components
      o Component collapse vs. structural collapse

    • Introduction to methods for crash analysis

      o Hand calculations
      o Hybrid analysis methods
      o Detailed analysis methods

    • Role and capability of testing and simulation in the crashworthiness field

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Outline the main priorities and fundamentals of crashworthiness in aircraft in the context of protection in crash events
  • Define the requirements for structural components used for impact energy absorption and structural collapse in aircraft
  • Describe crashworthiness requirements on major equipment and systems
  • Identify relevant regulations for aircraft crashworthy design
  • Discuss human tolerance in the context of crashworthiness
  • Identify the main experimental and analytical techniques used in design for crashworthiness
  • Apply the systems approach in impact energy management to aircraft design
  • Use simple approximate calculations on the performance of energy absorption components and structures to assess the crashworthiness of an aircraft structure.


The Airworthiness MSc is accredited by:

  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
  • Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS)

on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for further learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng). Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to show that they have satisfied the educational base for CEng registration. Please note accreditation applies to the MSc award. PgDip and PgCert (if offered) do not meet in full the further learning requirements for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

Your career

Many of our students are already in employment with aerospace/defence companies and choose to pursue an internationally recognised qualification with Cranfield University to enhance their career. Graduates are able to use this qualification to obtain secure permanent positions abroad.

Destinations of our students vary as many remain with their sponsoring company, often being promoted upon completion of the course. Some companies have used the Airworthiness programme as pre-employment training.

How to apply

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.