North West University Aeronautical Engineering School

By | April 12, 2020

North West University Aeronautical Engineering School

The aircraft development group focusses on aerodynamic and structural research that could improve the performance and safety of sailplanes and light aircraft. The technology gained from the research is then directly implemented in new designs which have great commercial value. The group also focusses on new technologies for manufacturing of these aircraft in order to improve quality and to reduce manufacturing costs. These sailplanes are sought-after by some of the best pilots around the world in order to compete internationally in gliding championships.


Final year engineering students as well as post graduate students working in the group, experience a high technology, commercialized environment which further prepares them for a career in the industry. The group’s industry partners are Jonker Sailplanes and On Track Technologies.

Projects are:

  • JA-1 FAI 18-meter sailplane development
  • JS-1 Jet sustainer system
  • JS-1 FAI Open class 21-meter sailplane
  • JS-2 Self-launch sailplane (2016)


  • First flight of the JS1 prototype – December 2006
  • SABS DISA design excellence chairman’s award, 2007
  • South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) Type Certificate for the JS1 sailplane, 2010
  • Unveiling of the open class version of the JS1 in Uvalde, Texas, during the world gliding championships in 2012
  • Bronze medal from the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) in London. This is the first time ever South African organization to receive such a prestigious award from the RSeS since the establishment in 1866
  • Numerous first places in National gliding championships all over the world by pilots flying JS1 sailplane

Industrial engineers optimise systems by creatively designing solutions that integrate people, processes and technology. They enable people, technology, information, materials, methods and money to work together productively and effectively. Industrial engineering originated more than a century ago during the industrial revolution when industries started to search for the best, cheapest and fastest way to manufacture products. However, today it is imperative to employ industrial engineers in various industries due to advancements in technology and the current demand of the market place.

Industrial engineering is among the top 10 scarce skills in South Africa. In order to study Industrial Engineering, the following admission requirements are needed:

  • 70% for Mathematics
  • 60% for Physical Sciences
  • 60% for Home Language (English or Afrikaans)
  • APS of 31
  • Click here for more info.

The curriculum at the NWU for Industrial Engineering is as follows:

First Year

Second Year

Third YearFourth Year

As an NWU​ Industrial Engineer you may register with the following professional Bodies:

Industrial engineers may work in the following industries:

  • Manufacturing, mining and energy
  • Food industry
  • IT and telecommunications
  • Logistics and supply chain
  • Aerospace and aviation
  • Healthcare
  • Banking and finance
  • Aerospace and aviation
  • Agriculture
  • Service and consulting

Contact details:

Postal address:
North-West University
Private Bag X1290

Physical address:

The Office of the Registrar

Building F111 Hoffman Street

Potchefst room 2351

(+27 18) 299-1111
(+27 18) 299-2222

(+27 18) 299-4910