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MEng Aerospace Engineering with Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Aircraft Aerodynamics

Unit code MACE31321
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Division (L5)
Available as a free choice unit? No


Aerodynamics is the study of the interaction of air and external surfaces of solid bodies moving through it. Aerodynamic knowledge is crucial for understanding flight and for the design of efficient flying configurations. This unit teaches the behaviour of 2D aerofoils, finite wings and aircraft in both low-speed and high-speed flows. It also teaches the fundamental knowledge and inviscid flow theories that enable engineering analysis of the generated forces and moments. The unit consists of twenty hours of lectures, four tutorial sessions and a two-hour wind tunnel lab session. The assessment is 80% exam and 20% assignment.


To impart in-depth understanding of the underlying physics for the aerodynamics of 2D aerofoils, finite wings and aircraft at subsonic, transonic and supersonic flight regimes.

To evaluate the forces and moments generated on 2D aerofoils, finite wings and aircraft for both subsonic and supersonic flows using classical aerodynamic theories and models.

To practise real aerodynamic measurements and complement understanding of the aerodynamic behaviours of a 2D aerofoil at subsonic speeds via wind tunnel experiments.


Part1: The basics of aerofoil aerodynamics: 5h Lec + 1 hr Tut

  • Aerofoil nomenclature
  • Aerodynamic characteristics and definitions
  • Aerofoil pressure distributions
  • Centre of pressure and aerodynamic centre
  • Aerodynamic forces and experimental measurement

Part 2: 2D incompressible flow over aerofoil: 7h Lec + 1hr Tut

  • Basic concepts and governing equations
  • Four elementary flows
  • Basics of flow over a circular cylinder
  • Kutta-Joukowski theorem
  • Kutta condition
  • Thin aerofoil theory
  • Aerofoil stall and High-lift systems

 Part3: Finite wing: 4h lec + 1 hr Tut

  • Lifting line theory
  • Finite wings with elliptical and general lift distribution
  • Aircraft aerodynamic models 

Part 4: Compressible flow over aerofoil and aircraft: 4h lec+ 1hr Tut

  • Linearised flow theory: subsonic & supersonic aerofoils
  • Transonic flow phenomenology
  • Supersonic aerodynamics of wings/aircraft

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 15%
Written exam 80%
Report 5%

3 x online quizzes - 5% each

Feedback methods

Exam - After the exam board meeting, individual student could request for viewing his/her exam paper with feedback provided by the lecturer.

Quiz - Marks available within a week of the quiz. 

Report - marks and feedback given at the end of each lab session 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Supervised time in studio/wksp 2
Tutorials 4
Independent study hours
Independent study 74

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mostafa Ahmed Nabawy Unit coordinator

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