Aviation Academy

Master Flight Performance Engineering @ TU Delft


Levien is studying for the Master's degree in Flight Performance Engineering at TU Delft after graduating from the Aviation Academy.

To seek the underlying mathematics and physics of the art of flying and beyond.

Levien Stevense - Alumni 2021 - track Aviation Flight Operations Engineering

Why did you choose this study?

The university is very well-known for its profound level of engineering and teaching to young engineers. Furthermore, it provides a whole package of what I was so eager to learn after the AUAS: it taught further mathematics and physics in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Advanced Aerodynamic Aircraft Design, Aerodynamics, wind-tunnel testing and Engineering Optimisation Techniques to name a few.

I started this journey with applying for the Bachelor thesis position at the AUAS at the simulator lab. I started there with a group of five wonderful persons who became my friends for life and we all proceeded to do the master degree which we are still doing at this very moment.

Could you progress directly from the Aviation Academy or did you need a pre-master's degree, for example?

I had to apply for a bridging programme (pre-master) which included many basic topics of mathematics and applied physics in aerospace (e.g. Calculus, Linear Algebra, Flight Dynamics, Control Theory, Aerodynamics, Structural Analysis). When I applied, a mathematical degree up to VWO-level and a minimum of C1 English was mandatory. I acquired the licenses at the Open University for mathematics and the IELTS office in Amsterdam for English. This transition from an HBO-level degree to a university-level degree was quite tough, as the workload is quite significant, the analytical mindset and academic reasoning needs a great boost and you are very much reliant on your ability to study a lot on your own. A study week of approx. 40+ hours is more than normal a few weeks before the start of the exams. Furthermore, the level of reading through books, papers and doing homework is not comparable to that of the AUAS. All of these factors made it tough, but nonetheless I would not have changed a thing regarding my decision. It does take great effort and determination in order to complete such a program, but the personal and engineering reward you gain from this program is enormous. It made me realise that this program is exactly what I missed at the AUAS and I noticed that the field of aviation engineering is even more broad than I thought of when I was a student at the AUAS.

To know more about the Bridging Programme, how to apply, what the admission regulations are and what to expect (except from the above): https://www.tudelft.nl/studenten/faculteiten/lr-studentenportal/onderwijs/education/bridging-programme

Are there any points that you can focus on while studying at the Aviation Academy that would be in favour of further study?

Focus on the mathematics and physics behind everything you are doing. Why is the lift equation as it is presented during class? Why do we need to consider stress analysis when designing aircraft structures and how do we process system signalling withing an aircraft (or in any situation)? Try to dive deeper than just doing homework and ask question if you are more interested.

You can, if possible, focus your minor on mathematics and physics (as I did, abroad) and anticipate on what you are faced with while doing the master’s degree. Also, it helps very much if you know you want to do this or that you know that you are so much more drawn to the mathematics and physics behind every engineering topic you are studying. This makes the reward even higher when you are actually doing the master’s degree.

Why would you recommend this study?

If you are looking for something beyond the Aviation Academy in terms of the underlying physics of not only flying, but also aerodynamics in general, control theory, designing engines or aircraft/space structures, you should definitely consider applying for a degree in university. Have you always been keen on the how’s and why’s of physics and want to go that step further than just learning the lift equation while not knowing where it comes from? Aren’t you afraid of some extra formulas and mathematical derivations in order to discover the truth of engineering, then the TU Delft might be a place for you. The art of flying is much more interesting then you actually think…

What, if anything, would you do differently?

Nothing, this was the best choice I have made in my educational career. Starting at the AUAS in order to have practical knowledge about aircraft and after that study the underlying theory of everything I though of being true, but is actually so much more.

Are there any critical points on your further study?

The transition between AUAS and TU Delft can not be underestimated, it is very tough and you are mentally challenged to a great extend (stress, planning, study capability, doing 3 hour exams which is sometimes not enough). But with perseverance, good planning and a pro-active mindset you will get accustomed very soon to the academic way and succeed.

More info about the study: https://www.tudelft.nl/onderwijs/opleidingen/masters/ae/msc-aerospace-engineering/master-tracks/flight-performance-and-propulsion )