About this online course


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Discover the science behind flying by investigating aeronautics, aerodynamics and flight mechanics.

Have you ever flown in an airplane and are you curious about how flying works? Are you interested in the fundamental concepts behind flying? How does a wing generate lift? And how can we fly as optimally as possible?

This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of aeronautics, using a tour through the history of flight, starting with ballooning and continuing on to airplanes and helicopters.

Experts from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of Delft University of Technology will help you explore and discover the fundamentals of flight, in three blocks. First, you will explore the history of flight including ballooning and obtain a basic understanding of aircraft and the earth's atmosphere. Topics include stability, navigation, propulsion and the structure of aircraft. Block two examines the principles of aerodynamics. You will learn for instance how the shape of an airfoil or wing impacts the amount of lift generated. Block three covers flight mechanics, including various flight phases, such as descending, climbing or cruise, and the most optimal flying conditions for each phase.

What you'll learn

  • The impact of the history of flight on aircraft today.
  • How the earth's atmosphere can be modelled and how we can use this for aircraft design.
  • Stability, structures, navigation and propulsion of aircraft.
  • The fundamental aerodynamic concepts for flying an aircraft.
  • How airfoils and wings generate lift.
  • Flight mechanics of aircraft.
  • How aircraft can optimally climb, descend and cruise.

Start the course anytime, and complete it at your own pace!

Read more about short online courses for professionals in the field of Aerospace of TU Delft.


Course review by Dan Flath, mathematician at Macalester College in Minnesota:

"There must be very few products in the world that people can get for free but they beg to pay anyway! So I would say, this aeronautical engineering MOOC must be quite a good product! And that matches my experience so far. I can hardly believe how much I am enjoying this course. If I am not careful, this course could interfere with my work! Rather than asking for a verified certificate for this course, I would rather ask for a follow-up course next year. Congratulations and thanks to the course developers!"


Unless otherwise specified, the Course Materials of this course are Copyright Delft University of Technology and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.



This is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that runs on edX. High school level of mathematics and physics is recommended.

  • Starts: Anytime (Self-Paced)
  • Free | Earn certificate for $139
  • Group fee: contact us
  • Length: Self-Paced
  • Effort: 10 - 12 hours per week / 7 weeks

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