Airmanship Programs

The Science of Flight

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Aeronautical Engineering Program

The U.S. Air Force's Aeronautical Engineering program is consistently ranked among the best undergraduate programs in the nation.

Our students get to perform hands-on, real-world experiments to test their own designs -- one cadet calls it, "science fiction come to life.

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I chose aeronautical engineering because I feel passionate about designing. As a kid in elementary school, I drew planes. I just would some sketch paper, think of it design, and I would just draw it.

The aeronautical engineering program here at the Academy is ranked number two in the nation for undergraduate aero programs. In order to do relevant research, you need state of the art facilities. So we have some of the best facilities here that you'll see across any undergraduate program throughout the country.

My favorite part about being an aeronautical engineer is just the testing that we get to do as well as applying theory to a design. That experience that you're getting is immeasurable.

Here at the aeronautics laboratory, we can do experiments in the wind tunnel. We also can do computer modeling of that. So the cadets will do computational experiments on a computer model. And then back that up with the wind tunnel. And bring it together and that will really give you a true representation of what's going on around that aircraft.

For example, the wind tunnel behind me is set up with what's called HIV or particle image velocimetry. What we'll do is we will spray particles down the tunnel. And the cameras will pick up those particles and then track them and figure out how the flow is going past the aircraft as it goes over the tunnel.

We deal with improving real world concepts. And so you get a lot of hands on experience. And you have teachers who are more than willing to help you.

The biggest reward I can get while I'm here is to commission one of the cadets. So when they graduate here, they also get commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. Those cadets can choose who they want to pin on their rank for the first time. So if a cadet comes to you and says, will you commission me, will you pin on my second lieutenant bars? That means that I've been a mentor and I made a difference in their life.

There's no experience that you can't have here. It's like science fiction come to life.

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