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The Difference between Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering

While talking about the aviation industry, the two areas of study called Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, and Aeronautical Engineering often come to our minds. Though being part of the same sector, some difference exists between the two. However, these aviation courses in India are offered by various institutes and colleges.

In this blog, we will study the concepts of aeronautical engineering, and aircraft maintenance engineering, as well as try to figure out the differences between them.

What is Aeronautical Engineering?

This is a specialized branch of engineering that specifically deals with the construction, and design of flight-capable machinery, and the techniques for operating aircraft, and airplanes. After completing 10+2 with an aggregate percentage of 70-75% in compulsory subjects like Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics, the candidates can take up this program. Moreover, candidates need to appear for exams like JEE Main, JEE Advanced, AMECET, IISAT, and others to continue with this program. These courses are, however, available in both online and offline modes.

What is Aircraft Maintenance Engineering?

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s licensed curriculum for aircraft maintenance engineering is identified as the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering course. The course is provided by a number of institutions and focuses mostly on the upkeep, improvements, and quality control of aircraft. However, successful completion of this licensed program can help you turn into a successful aircraft maintenance engineer. However, candidates need to complete the Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics (PCM) portion of the 10+2 board exam or equivalent, with at least a score of 45% in PCM, or an equivalent course. Moreover, applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 28. However, maximum colleges select candidates based on their scores on AME Entrance Examinations.

How can we distinguish Aircraft Maintenance Engineering from Aeronautical Engineering?

The study of Aeronautical Engineering successfully entails practical, as well as theoretical knowledge of materials, part assembly, testing, and aviation maintenance. This aviation course further enables students to attain knowledge of advanced technology that is used in aircraft traveling in outer space. As a whole, Aeronautical engineering mainly covers disciplines like aerodynamics, avionics, and propulsion among others. Multiple opportunities in NASA, government research institutions, aerospace manufacturing companies, and also at defense organizations are available to students pursuing this study area of engineering.

On the other hand, the study program in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering offers courses on maintaining the aircraft and making sure it is in properly flying-worthy condition. The aircraft maintenance engineering, however, consists of two major streams; ‘Mechanical’, which includes light and heavy aircraft, jet, and piston engines. And, ‘Avionics’, which generally encompasses electrical and instrument systems, as well as radio navigation. Moreover, this course needs to be pursued only at the institutes that are approved by DGCA, which is the legal Government body of India possessing the authority to regulate civil aviation in the country.

Syllabus of Aeronautical Engineering

As one of the popular aviation courses in India, the field of Aeronautical Engineering is structured to provide in-depth knowledge about the aviation industry, and the mandatory details associated with it. A conventional aeronautical engineering course mostly includes the following topics:

  • Engineering Physics
  • Computer Programming
  • Computer Practices Laboratory
  • Physics and Chemistry Laboratory
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Fluid Mechanics and Machinery
  • Elements of Aeronautics
  • Fluid Mechanics and Machinery Laboratory
  • CAM and Manufacturing Laboratory
  • Aerodynamics
  • Mechanics of Machines
  • Aircraft Structures Laboratory
  • Engineering Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering Graphics
  • Engineering Practices Laboratory
  • Transforms and Partial Differential Equations
  • Aero Engineering Thermodynamics
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Strength of Materials Laboratory
  • Thermodynamics Laboratory
  • Numerical Methods
  • Aircraft Systems and Instruments
  • Aircraft Structures
  • CAD and Aircraft Component Drawing
  • Propulsion
  • Flight Integration Systems and Control Laboratory
  • Aircraft Design Project
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Total Quality Management
  • Aircraft Design Project
  • Aircraft Materials and Processes
  • Vibrations and Elements of Aeroelasticity
  • Principles of Management
  • Aircraft Structures Laboratory
  • Control Engineering
  • Flight Dynamics
  • Wind Tunnel Techniques
  • Aerodynamics Laboratory
  • Aircraft Systems Laboratory
  • Experimental Stress Analysis
  • Avionics
  • Computer Aided Simulation
  • Aero Engine and Airframe
  • Composite Materials and Structures
  • Finite Element Methods
  • Communication and Soft Skills- Laboratory Based
  • Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Aircraft Structures

Syllabus of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering

The DGCA-Approved Aircraft Maintenance Engineer course is mostly a combination of 17 modules, which are further classified into related topics. Out of these modules, candidates need to clear the ones, depending upon the chosen stream. Moreover, in a country like India, Modules 1 and 2 are not applicable, as the candidates already need to complete 10+2, or an equivalent course in mathematics and physics. Here’s a list of the modules: 

  • Module 1:- Mathematics
  • Module 2:- Physics
  • Module 3:- Electrical Fundamentals
  • Module 4:- Electronic Fundamentals
  • Module 5:- Digital Techniques Electronic Instrument System
  • Module 6:- Materials and Hardware
  • Module 7:- Maintenance Practices
  • Module 8:- Basic Aerodynamics
  • Module 9:- Human Factors
  • Module 10:- Aviation Legislation
  • Module 11A:- Turbine Airplane Aerodynamics, Structures, and Systems
  • Module 11B:- Piston Airplane Aerodynamics, Systems, and Structures
  • Module 12:- Helicopter Aerodynamics, Structures, and System
  • Module 13:- Aircraft Aerodynamics, Structures, and System
  • Module 14:- Propulsion
  • Module 15:- Gas Turbine Engine
  • Module 16:- Piston Engine
  • Module 17:- Propeller

As per the syllabus of these two aviation courses in India, it can be observed that the study of aircraft maintenance engineering focuses on providing maintenance training. But, aeronautical or aerospace engineering is mainly concerned with developing and constructing airplanes.

Know about the popular Aircraft Engineering College in India

There are various Aircraft Maintenance Engineering colleges in India, and one among them is the Indian Institute of Aircraft Engineering, which is located in New Delhi. The institute offers a licensing course for category B1.1, which is known as the Mechanical stream, and for category B2, called the Avionics stream. The college further divides this four-year program into two parts:

  • Approved academic program under CAR-147(Basic)- for 2 years
  • Practical maintenance experience requirements on flying aircraft: for 2 years

Since its inception, the primary goal of the Indian Institute of Aircraft Engineering (IIAE) has been to offer a thorough education that will educate students for successful careers and civic engagement, with a focus on the need for aviation aerospace engineering and similar topics. For admission-related queries, please visit their official website.


Taking into account the topics included in both the aviation courses in India, it can be seen that aeronautical engineers are specifically associated with the designing and manufacturing of aircraft, while the role of aircraft maintenance engineers is to take care of the maintenance of aircraft. And, the aviation sector cannot run successfully without the valuable contributions of aeronautical, as well as aircraft engineers.

And, the Indian Institute of Aircraft Engineering (IIAE) in New Delhi can provide you with the best Aircraft Maintenance Engineering courses in India.


  1. Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, or Aeronautical Engineering- which is better?

Well, these two courses provide different knowledge of the aviation industry, so the superiority usually depends on the interests of candidates. But, recently there is more scope for AME in India, compared to Aeronautical Engineering.

  1. What is the average salary of an aircraft maintenance engineer?

The average yearly income for an aircraft maintenance engineer in India is around 8.0 Lakhs, with salaries ranging from 0.6 Lakhs to 30.0 Lakhs (approximately).

  1. Does the Indian Institute of Aircraft Engineering need applicants to take an entrance exam?

Yes, admission is only given after a rigorous screening process that includes an All India AME Entrance Examination (AIAEE), which is only open to candidates who have registered with this institute.

  1. What is the skill set required for making a career in the aviation industry?

Alertness and presence of mind, physical fitness, good height, a strong sense of responsibility, and normal color vision are some of the skills that each candidate willing to pursue aviation courses in India should have.

  1. Is there any age limit to pursue an aircraft maintenance engineering course in India?

In general, applicants between the ages of 16 and 28 are admitted to this program, but each college may have a different age restriction.



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