Design Evolution of Aircraft Structures – Online Course (Starts March 19, 2024) 19 March - 18 April 2024 Online

Register Now


Instructed by Dr. Michael Mohaghegh, Boeing Technical Fellow: Advanced Materials and Structures

  • From March 19, 2023 – April 18, 2024 (5 weeks/20 Hours)
  • Every Tuesday and Thursday at 1300-1500 Eastern Time (all sessions will be recorded and available for replay; course notes will be available for download)
  • This applied introductory course covers the evolution of the most important fundamental and practical concepts of modern aircraft structures.
  • Course will also include illustrative application examples, practice exercise problems, and supplemental material to enhance the learning experience
  • At the conclusion of the course, students may choose to complete an optional design project to test what they’ve learned.
  • All students will receive an AIAA Certificate of Completion at the end of the course

The course starts with a proposed set of desired competencies for both design and analysis. The course then covers evolution of design philosophy; airframe configurations and load paths; trade studies; margin of safety concept; material selection, design values; failure theories; idealization, structural elements; selection of classical, empirical, and finite element analysis methods. This course also includes selected topics in design of structures under tensile, compressive, shear, and combined loads, and design of joints, fittings, and lugs. An introduction to design for fail-safety, durability, and damage tolerance is also presented. The course includes practice problems and an optional design project.

The course material has been reviewed and endorsed by the AIAA Structures Technical Committee.



  • Explain the design and analysis competencies of aircraft structures
  • Describe examples of airplane component configurations and load paths
  • Describe design criteria and its evolution
  • Explain the importance of trade studies for optimization
  • Explain the verification, validation and certification process
  • Identify design drivers for various components
  • Describe how to develop or select material for an airplane part or component
  • Be able to explain the simplification of the three-dimensional stresses and strains for structural elements including rods, beams, plates, and shells.
  • Describe selection of analytical, empirical or finite element methods
  • Recognize metals and composites strength and weaknesses for various applications
  • Explain failure theories under combined stresses
  • Describe the margin of safety concept
  • Describe design for durability, fail safety and damage tolerance


  • Structures Competencies
  • Configurations
  • Freebody Diagrams and Load Paths
  • Design Philosophy and Criteria
  • Verification, Validation, Qualification and Certification
  • Materials
  • Design Allowables and Values
  • Material Selection
  • Idealization and Analysis Methods
  • Joints, Lugs and Fittings
  • Fatigue and Fracture
  • Design Project
  • See detailed lecture-by-lecture outline below


  • Margin of Safety
  • Combined Stresses
  • Airframe Configuration
  • Design Criteria, Validation and Testing
  • Analysis Methods
  • Material Selection
  • Load Paths
  • Structural Elements
  • Joints, Lugs and Fittings
  • Fail safety, Fatigue and Fracture
  • Design Project

This course is for those industry and government engineers in airplane design, analysis, support, certification, as well as manufacturing or fleet support engineers. Aerospace, mechanical, civil and materials engineers would most benefit from this course.

It would also be of interest to students, practicing engineers working in the design, analysis or support functions, professors and those who wish to receive an exposure or deepen their understanding of aircraft structures engineering tools, processes, and methods.

COURSE FEES (Sign-In To Register)
AIAA Member Price: $995 USD
Non-Member Price: $1195 USD
AIAA Student Member Price: $595 USD

Classroom hours / CEUs: 20 classroom hours / 2.0 CEU/PDH

Cancellation Policy: A refund less a $50.00 cancellation fee will be assessed for all cancellations made in writing prior to 5 days before the start of the event. After that time, no refunds will be provided.

Contact: Please contact Lisa Le or Customer Service if you have questions about the course or group discounts (for 5+ participants).



Lecture 1 - Structures Competencies (March 19)

  • Introduction and background
  • Course schedule
  • Structures Engineer’s Competencies
    • Design competencies
    • Analysis competencies

Lecture 2 - Load Paths (March 21)

  • FBDs for components and elements
  • Method of sections for internal loads
  • Boundary conditions
  • Description of load paths for components and elements
  • Efficient load paths for light weight structures

Lecture 3 - Design Philosophy (March 28)

  • How the requirements affect design
  • Various agencies and regulations
  • The evolution of design requirements
  • The 10 major design requirements
  • Design drivers

Lecture 4 – Verification, Validation and Certification (March 30)

  • Verification
  • Validation
  • Building Block Approach
  • Smarter Testing
  • Aircraft Certification
  • Continued Airworthiness

Lecture 5 – Materials (April 2)

  • Metals
  • Composites
  • Design allowables and values
  • Material Selection

Lecture 6 - Idealization and Analysis Methods (April 4)

  • Structural elements
  • Classical empirical and FEA methods
  • Advantages and limitations of the methods
  • Examples of airplane structural analyses

Lecture 7 - Margin of Safety Concept (April 9)

  • Factor of safety (FOS) and margin of safety (MOS)
  • Process for finding the MOS
  • Relationship between FOS and MOS
  • Local vs far field stresses
  • Examples of MOS
  • Failure Criteria for metals and composites
  • Combined loading

Lecture 8 - Fasteners, Joints, Lugs and Fittings (April 11)

  • Types of fasteners
  • Types of joints
  • Design of joints
  • Design of lugs
  • Design of fittings

Lecture 9 - Durability, Fail Safety and Damage Tolerance (April 16)

  • Design for durability
  • Design for fail-safety
  • Design for damage tolerance

Design Project (Optional) – April 18


Course Delivery and Materials

  • The course lectures will be delivered via Zoom. You can test your connection here:
  • All sessions will be available on-demand within 1-2 days of the lecture. Once available, you can stream the replay video anytime, 24/7. All slides will be available for download after each lecture.
  • No part of these materials may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted, unless for course participants. All rights reserved.
  • Between lectures, the instructors will be available via email for technical questions and comments.


1. Broek, D., Elementary Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 4th Revised Edition, Springer India, 2012

2. Bruhn, E.F., Analysis and Design of Airplane Structures, Jacobs Publishing, 1973

3. Budynas, Richard G., Advanced Strength and Applied Stress Analysis, Second Edition, McGraw-Hill, 1998

4. Ertas, A. and Jones, J.C., The Engineering Design Process, John Wiley & Sons, 1996

5. Kuhn, P., Stresses in Aircraft and Shell Structures, McGraw-Hill, 1956

6. Peery, D. J., Aircraft Structures, Dover Books, 2011

7. Pilkey, W. D. and Pilkey, D. F., Peterson’s Stress Concentration Factors, John Wiley & Sons, 2008

8. Schijve, F. J., Fatigue of Structures and Materials, Second Edition, Springer, 2009

9. Smith, C. R., Tips on Fatigue, US Government Printing Office, 1963

10. Sun, C. T., Mechanics of Aircraft Structures, John Wiley & Sons, 2006

Michael Mohaghegh has worked for The Boeing Company for 50+ years on programs, core groups, product development, commercial and military aircrafts, and aircraft support groups. He is a Boeing Technical Fellow in aircraft structures and materials and presently the Chief Editor of The Boeing Company Design Principles Manuals. Mike the Director of Modern Aircraft Structures Certificate Program at the University of Washington. He graduated from the University of California (Berkeley) with a BS and MS and from University of Washington with a PhD in Civil Engineering with focus in Structures Engineering. He was also a post doc for 2 years doing research in Failure Analysis at the University of Washington. He has published numerous papers and developed and taught many courses in aircraft structures at Boeing, DoD, airlines, suppliers, and MROs. He was the lead author for the chapter on Subsonic Aircraft Materials in AIAA’s book on Aerospace Materials published in 2017.


AIAA Training Links