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 MSc in Airworthiness offered by Cranfield University 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 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.

Discover the range of facilities available to you as a student on the MSc in Airworthiness: My subject | Cranfield University Virtual Experience

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

    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
    • 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.

Aircraft Fatigue and Damage Tolerance

    To familiarise students with fatigue and damage tolerance analysis techniques and their application to aircraft structural design by instruction, investigation and example.
    • Design awareness: philosophies of design against fatigue and design for damage tolerance: i.e. safe-life, fail-safe and damage tolerance.
    • Fatigue analysis: traditional S-N curve approach: calculation of crack initiation life; mean stress effect, notch effect; Miner’s cumulative damage rule for variable amplitude loads.
    • Aircraft fatigue loads: typical aircraft load spectra for use in the laboratory and computer simulation.
    • Fracture Mechanics: basic Theory of Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM): Stress Intensity Factor, fracture toughness, strain energy release rate; plane stress and plane strain, crack tip plastic zone; residual strength; prediction of fatigue crack growth.
    • Damage Tolerance: damage tolerant design methods. Fatigue monitoring in flight/service. Inspection methods. CAA and FAA Regulations and their relationship to Airworthiness Certification Material selection, aging aircraft structures, repair to damage tolerant aircraft.
    • Classroom exercise will be assigned during this module to further enhance the learning objectives. Completed work will be collected in by the tutors at the end of the module.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Recognise the importance of design against fatigue, especially for aircraft structures.
  2. Explain the concept of the damage tolerance design and failsafe design.
  3. Apply the theory of Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics to estimate residual strength and crack propagation life of a structure.
  4. Solve fatigue analysis problems using both crack initiation and crack propagation approaches.
  5. Interpret the regulatory authority requirements for airworthiness and damage tolerance.

Safety Assessment of Aircraft Systems


    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 you 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.

Gas Turbine Fundamentals


    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. Identify and assess the major performance parameters according to engine application based on key thermodynamic principles. 
  2. Evaluate the impact on design and performance of the joint constraints of mechanical and thermal issues and the need for adequate off-design performance.
  3. Discuss the statutory design requirements and the extent of testing and analysis required for aero-engine certification.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of and be able to appraise the design issues that can affect airworthiness.

Air Transport Engineering - Maintenance Operations

    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 you will 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.

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 successful completion of this module you will be able to:  

  • Describe the fundamental concepts behind Safety Management Systems (SMS), as defined by ICAO and other regulatory bodies; 
  • 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

    To expand the your knowledge of airframe systems, their role, design and integration. In particular, to provide you with an appreciation of the considerations necessary and methods used 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 icing and ice protection 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 you should be able to:
1. Identify the main airframe systems and explain their purposes and principles of operation; including Secondary Power Systems (Pneumatic, Hydraulic and Electric), Environmental Control Systems, Ice Protection Systems, Flight Control Power Systems and Fuel Systems.
2. Formulate the requirements that drive the design of the main airframe systems.
3. For each of the main airframe systems: differentiate the various architectures and reasons behind the differences; identify types of equipment and major components used and assess their principles of operation; and perform basic sizing analysis for systems and major components.
4. Appraise the effects of airframe systems power provision on aircraft power plants and analyse fuel penalties resulting from a given system’s presence on an aircraft by carrying out basic calculations.
5. Examine the reasons for, and propose possible types of changes, that may occur in airframe systems in the near future.

Airworthiness Dossier

    The aim of the module is to allow each student to demonstrate their independent learning ability and interest in advancing their knowledge through the pursuit of independent research and/or development work in an industrially relevant area and communicate their ideas, analysis and conclusions in written format.  
    Another purpose of the module is for the student to demonstrate their understanding of the relationships between the technology and the regulations. 


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

    1. Gain an in-depth knowledge of airworthiness regulations and guidance material. 
    2. Critically evaluate the literature relevant to each module to support discussions about the technological developments and the regulatory requirements from an airworthiness perspective.
    3. Demonstrate an overall knowledge of the technology of the modules taken.
    4. Demonstrate information organisational and presentational skills.  
Intended learning outcomes The dossier is to provide a summary of the whole course (the nine modules that a student attends) with a focus on airworthiness and technology issues.  

Individual Research Project - MSc only

    To allow each student to demonstrate their independent learning ability and interest in advancing their knowledge through the pursuit of independent research and/or development work in an industrially relevant area and communicate their ideas, analysis and conclusions in written and oral formats.

    The subject of the thesis is agreed between the student and the supervisor and will normally be based around part of the taught material and/or a company problem. 

Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Undertake a substantial independent research project. 
  2. Critically review literature. 
  3. Design and undertake experiments and/or collect data to enhance knowledge. 
  4. Critically analyse results to enhance understanding. 
  5. Develop defendable conclusions. 
  6. Communicate the results of their work both in written form and orally.

Elective modules
One of the modules from the following list needs to be taken as part of this course

Mechanical Integrity of Gas Turbines


    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.

Practical Reliability


    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 assessment of components  and systems.
    • Requirements for safety and reliability assessment 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. Illustrate the concepts of reliability from both design and operations viewpoints, including maintenance.
  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


    This course is based around a case study approach to aircraft accident investigation. You will have the opportunity to experience important elements of aircraft accident investigation from initial notification of an event through to generating and communicating investigative findings. 

    You will be presented with a simulated accident scenario during which you will be exposed to all elements of the investigation such as evidence collection, interviewing, analysis and the generation of safety recommendations. 

    • Accident investigation approaches and response.  
    • On-site appraisal and preservation of evidence. 
    • Human factors in investigations. 
    • Witnesses and interviewing. 
    • Preparing and managing recommendations. 
    • Communication of investigation findings. 
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to: 

  • Describe the accident investigation process as applied to aviation. 
  • Identify roles and responsibilities within the accident investigation process. 
  • Critically assess analysis techniques used in accident investigation. 
  • To develop interview skills and recognise the limitations of interview based data. 

Fundamentals of Aircraft Engine Control

    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. Describe and distinguish the objectives of the control philosophies of the available systems.
  3. Assess jet engine control systems design as applied to different forms of aircraft propulsion.
  4. Evaluate the different mechanisms and components that allow the safe and efficient operation of a jet engine.
  5. Describe and discuss the regulatory requirements relevant to engine controls and fuel systems.



    This module provides you with a general understanding of a range of issues associated with aircraft manufacturing. The module covers mostly technical, but with some management topics related to manufacturing processes and technologies. Topics include material and manufacturing process selection, modern manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing and composite manufacture.

    • Key manufacturing concepts and processes.
    • Manufacturing systems.
    • Materials and manufacturing process selection.
    • Joining technologies.
    • Composite manufacture.
    • Automation technologies.
    • Lifecycle analysis in manufacturing.
    • Manufacturing cost engineering.
    • Quality engineering.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Critically evaluate and analyse manufacturing systems and their sustainability.
2. Distinguish key drivers for manufacturing process selection and applying basic principles to the solution of shape/property/cost problems.
3. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships between design, manufacturing, assembly, and validation.
4. Evaluate the capabilities and limitations of commonly used manufacturing processes.
5. Debate issues related to aerospace product realization effectively in Integrated Product Development Teams.

Flight Experimental Methods (Airworthiness)


    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
    • Cruise performance - Specific Air Range and Specific Endurance.
    • Static equilibrium and trim.
    • Longitudinal static stability, trim, pitching moment equation, static margins.
    • Manoeuvrability: steady pull-up manoeuvre, pitching moment in manoeuvre, longitudinal manoeuvre stability and manoeuvre margins.
    • Lateral-directional trim and static stability
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
• describe the concepts of equilibrium, trim, static, manoeuvre and dynamic stability;
• evaluate the cruise performance and the aerodynamic and stability characteristics of a conventional aircraft;
• apply the principles of flight test analysis and assessment;
• compile and present a technical report in written form;
• work effectively in a group environment.

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 you 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. 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.
  5. 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


    To provide a comprehensive overview of avionics systems and infrastructures.


    • Historical overview of the development of avionics hardware.

    • The evolution of the cockpit.

    • Modern Human-machine interface and interaction.

    • Automation – evolution, the modern fly-by-wire autopilot and the flight management system.

    • Display technologies – HDD, HUD, HMD.

    • Airborne sensor systems.

    • Fundamentals of radio communication.

    • Navigation and communications systems – terrestrial and satellite-based systems, autonomous navigation systems, digital data links.

    • Radar – principle of operation, operational modes, radar cross section. 

    • Avionics databases – fundamental architectures; ARINC 429, 629, 664; MIL-1553.

    • Traffic and terrain surveillance and situational awareness systems – transponder, TCAS and EGPWS. 

    • Principles of 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 you should be able to:

  • Explain the layout of, and role of the flight crew in, the modern cockpit.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of operation, basic functions and properties of avionics systems.
  • Identify the design and development strategies of avionics systems.

Introduction to Aircraft Structural Crashworthiness

    The aim of this module is to provide you 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 
      - Objectives and Approach
      - Regulations
       - Human Tolerance
    • Crash Energy Management

    • Structural Collapse

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

    • Introduction to methods for crash analysis

       - Hand calculations
       - Hybrid analysis methods
       - Detailed analysis methods
    • Role and capability of testing and simulation in the crashworthiness field
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Examine relevant crashworthiness regulations.
  • Analyse the key issues of structural crashworthiness.
  • Examine the collapse of thick and thin-walled sections.
  • Evaluate the global collapse of structures.
  • Critically evaluate the crashworthiness of structures.

Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance

    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 you should be able to: 

  1. Analyse the regulatory framework 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 human factors, aircraft maintenance and safety.
  4. Analyse ways in which maintenance errors can be reduced at the design stage.


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.

Cranfield’s Career Service is dedicated to helping you meet your career aspirations. You will have access to career coaching and advice, CV development, interview practice, access to hundreds of available jobs via our Symplicity platform and opportunities to meet recruiting employers at our careers fairs. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers. Support continues after graduation and as a Cranfield alumnus, you have free life-long access to a range of career resources to help you continue your education and enhance your career.

How to apply

Click on the ‘Apply now’ button below to start your online application.

See our Application guide for information on our application process and entry requirements.