Course Title: Aerospace Design and Optimisation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Aerospace Design and Optimisation

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 1 2016,


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Cees Bil

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6176

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Basic knowledge of aircraft design process is assumed. MATLAB programming experience is preferred, but not required. 

Course Description

This course aims to advance your skills as an aerospace professional engineer in the area of aircraft design. The course builds on the main principles underlying aircraft design, including the different design phases and the impact of specifications and relevant standards and regulations in the design process. The use of Systems Engineering principles will be covered as a complementary tool to provide a thorough understanding of all the development stages of an aircraft, from cradle to grave.
Based on the design requirements set for an aerospace vehicle or component, you will learn how to use sizing methods to develop adequate conceptual designs and utilise both analytical and numerical tools to address key areas in the detail design of an aircraft (such as aerodynamics, structures, propulsion, performance, stability and systems). You will also be introduced to multidisciplinary systems design optimisation tools to develop complex engineering solutions benefiting from the best trade-off between performance and efficiency.   
This course is primarily project based and you will work in design teams mimicking the working environment of a design organisation, which will foster your skills on project planning/management, communication and leadership.       

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes: (PLOs) 

1. Needs, Context and Systems
• Describe, investigate and analyse complex engineering systems and associated issues (using systems thinking and modelling techniques)

2. Problem Solving and Design
•  Anticipate the consequences of intended action or inaction and understand how the consequences are managed collectively by your organisation, project or team

3. Analysis
• Comprehend and apply advanced theory-based understanding of engineering fundamentals and specialist bodies of knowledge in the selected discipline area to predict the effect of engineering activities

4. Professional Practice
• Apply systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects
• Demonstrate effective team membership and team leadership
• Demonstrate orderly management of self and professional conduct.

5. Research
• Develop creative and innovative solutions to engineering challenges
• Acknowledge (clearly) your own contributions and the contributions from others and distinguish contributions you may have made as a result of discussions or collaboration with other people

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs):

Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:
1. Apply different design methodologies according with the specificity of the distinct aircraft design phases;
2. Use relevant standards and applicable regulations in the aircraft design process, understanding their impact on the definition of the design requirements;
3. Understand and apply systems engineering principles to the development of a complex system considering its complete life cycle;
4. Generate, using creative techniques, credible design concepts for aerospace systems based on a set of engineering requirements;
5. Use analytical and numerical tools to perform multidisciplinary analysis, including the estimation of performance parameters and aircraft sizing in key areas (structure, propulsion, aerodynamics, stability and systems);
6. Apply and understand the relevance of optimisation techniques to meet predefined design requirements;
7. Demonstrate effective team working, communication and project management skills in an aerospace design project;

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities can include lectures and class discussions, tutorials, quizzes, and team projects.

Overview of Learning Resources

Course-related resources will be provided on the course Blackboard, which is accessed through myRMIT. This can include lecture material, tutorials and references. You are also encouraged to consult various resources available in the library, primarily recommended design textbooks, NASA reports, EDSU datasheets, Jane’s All the World Aircraft, and scientific journals. Software and computational facilities are available for computer aided design (CAD), finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

Overview of Assessment

X This course has no hurdle requirements.
☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).

Assessment tasks

Early Assessment Task:  Assignment 1
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs: 1 - 3

Assessment Task 2:  Assignment 2
Weighting 30%
This assessment task supports CLOs: 4 - 6

Assessment Task 3: Assignment 3
Weighting 50%
This assessment task supports CLO: 4 - 7