Youtube clip – Meet an Aerodynamist

For training options in South Africa – scroll down


What is an Aerodynamist?

Aerodynamics is the study of air motion, particularly when it interacts with a solid object. 

Aerodynamists usually work in the design department of aeroplanes, spacecraft, vehicles including racing cars, ships and sailing vessels. 

They can even assist urban planners.

They study:


  • By using shapes and curves to change air pressure so that ‘lift’ occurs.
    Wings of a plane, blades of a helicopter, sails of boat etc, are designed accordingly.


  • Is the force that tries to slow things down.  The narrower the item the less drag or resistance it gives.


  • Opposite to ‘drag’.  It is the ‘push’ that moves things forward.  Jet engines, propellers etc. are examples of this.

What does an Aerodynamist do?

  • does tests in wind-tunnels and adapts designs accordingly
  • researches various fluid flows (motion of air) for specific requirements
  • makes calculations and deductions
  • balances design manufacture  
  • designs wind-tunnel models
  • controls specifications and implementations
  • advises designers of improved modifications

Are you … ?

  • design orientated?
  • a problem solver?
  • mechanically and technically astute?
  • computer literate?
  • a person who thinks out-the-box?
  • scientific?
  • a researcher?  Do you like conducting experiments?
  • team player?

How do I become an Aerodynamist?

There is no specific course, diploma or degree in South Africa that specialises in aerodynamics, however, it is suggested or recommended that you start off with a background degree in aeronautical engineering. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Aeronautical Engineer or Aeronautical Technician

Is becoming an Aerodynamist the right career choice for me?