About us

Aeronautics was first taught at Imperial College in 1909, with the first chair established in 1920. Since then we have had many notable staff and alumni, including;

  • John H. Argyris - one of the inventors of Finite Element Analysis which revolutionized engineering sciences.
  • Harold Roxbee Cox - contributed to aircraft safety with studies on wing flutter and structural stability.
  • Sir Richard Tetley Glazebrook - first Professor of Aviation at Imperial College.
  • Sir Arnold Hill - led the team investigating the Comet airliner disasters.
  • Andreas Mogensen - selected for the European Space Agency astronaut corps.
  • Kirsty Moore - first female Red Arrows pilot.

The Department currently has over 300 undergraduates, approximately 70 MSc students, and over 70 research students and research associates. It is organised into two sections - Aerodynamics and Aerostructures - which assists the management and organisation of both teaching and research. Our research covers a very broad spectrum of topics, with a strong partnership between computation and experiment, and strong links with industry.

Teaching excellence

Our teaching programmes continue to attract the best students from all over the world - our minimum admission criteria in 2015/16 have been A*A*A and we are responding to calls from industry and opportunities to offer specialisms in exciting growth areas.

This has led us to launch two new undergraduate programmes: a MEng with a Year in Industry allowing students to gain credit during year-long internships between their third and fourth year at Imperial; and a MEng in Aeronautics with Spacecraft Design available from 2016/17. This year we have also had our first graduates from our new MSc degree in Advanced Aeronautics, which specializes on the green technologies that are at the core of today's aerospace engineering.

Research highlights

Imperial Aeronautics has played a central role in two major UK events in aerodynamics and fluid mechanics in the past two years: one of only two EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training in the UK in the broad area of Fluid Mechanics has been awarded to Imperial and The National Wind Tunnel Facility was inaugurated in early 2014. Both are led by the Department of Aeronautics and both involve collaborations with many industrial partners.

The Department is also leading an EPSRC platform grant on Underpinning Technologies for Finite Element Simulations which started in November 2013. Our staff have been successful in securing RAEng and EPSRC Fellowships and two large individual European Research Council Grants. As an indicator of a promising future, four of our new young lecturers have been awarded EPSRC First Grants in the past year only.

A new £1.25 million arena for flying the next generation of aerial robots will be constructed at Imperial College London, thanks to a generous donation. The Brahmal Vasudevan Aerial Robotics Lab will showcase Imperial’s outstanding abilities and inspire future aeronautical engineers. Mr Brahmal Vasudevan graduated from the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London in 1990, where he gained a Bachelor of Engineering degree.

More information on our teaching and research is available throughout this site. Please contact us to find out more.