Composite Structural Engineering Technology (CSET) Course

Online and Hands on Training


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New Start Date: Oct. 17, 2016

Nov. 8-9, 2016 (Optional Hands-on Training)


Sponsored by:
Wichita State University Office Workforce, Professional & Community Education and National Institute of Aviation Research (NIAR) 

Course Description

This course covers the essential topics pertaining to composites engineering. Its contents provide students with composites engineering process framework through course materials and practical applications through online discussions. Topics include engineering, manufacturing, maintenance, and certification of composite materials associated with civil aircraft structures. The course is organized in accordance with FAA AC 20-107B (Composite Aircraft Structure) and emphasizes various safety issues related to composite materials and structures

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This course was developed through the collaboration of Wichita State University, industry subject matter experts and the FAA. The course is taught online, includes all teaching materials and features real-world discussions facilitated by subject matter experts and FAA representatives. Depending on prior knowledge and experience, students will spend up to ten hours per week reviewing materials, participating in online discussions and testing their knowledge. A two-day hands-on lab is provided in Wichita, Kansas.

After finishing a one-week period of self-study of fundamental composites and successfully completing an examination, students proceed to more advanced topics through an on-line, interactive learning experience via Blackboard. Teaching methodology includes online discussions facilitated by subject matter experts, relevant documentation, and audio/visual aids. The course will include a two-day hands-on laboratory, which is optional but recommended.

Course Objectives

  • Students will describe engineering principles for substantiating composite airframe structures during all stages of aircraft product certification.
  • Students will understand the essential safety awareness issues associated with composite aircraft structural engineering technologies and their application.

Who Should Attend?

  • All professionals responsible for the engineering of composites, including individuals with a wide range of background in composites technology prior to taking this course.
  • FAA Directorate/ACO engineers, international civil aviation authorities, and industry designees who participate in the certification of composite structures.
  • Engineers at aerospace companies who are involved in designing and analyzing composite structures.

Syllabus Summary

1. Prerequisite
Basic knowledge of composite materials and structures technology.  Independent study materials are provided.  This may require 5-10 hours of study.

2. On-line Content Outline (Red annotations indicate approximate course content)
• Introduction  (summary of current composite technologies for aircraft certification applications, key technical issues, FAA safety and certification initiatives, and course objectives) 2%     
• Challenges of Composite Applications (technical, economic and other challenges facing the application of composite material to aircraft structural components, design and process options, lack of standardization and trained workforce, and evolving technologies) 3%
• Design, Material and Fabrication Development (including product development teams, material and process control, structural design and analysis, environmental issues, bonded and bolted joints, protection of composite structure, flutter/crash/fire/lightning strike considerations, manufacturing and maintenance interfaces, and statistical methods for generation of allowables) 45%
• Proof of Structure (including regulations and guidance, key concepts, compliance approaches, considerations for manufacturing defects and in-service damage, repeated load reliability and load enhancement factors, building block approach to testing and analysis, full-scale testing, and in-service inspection plans) 31%
• Quality Control of Composite Manufacturing Processes  (including quality control requirements related to composite manufacturing, the application of differing quality control methods, conformity issues, typical defect dispositions and change approval) 3%        
• Maintenance Interface Issues (including regulations/guidance, source documents (SRMs etc.), maintenance teamwork, damage detection and assessment, allowable damage limits,  repair processing, and allowable damage and repair substantiation) 6%
• Additional Considerations (including flutter and other aeroelastic issues, crashworthiness, fire and fuel tank safety, and lighting strike issues) 10%

3. Laboratory
The laboratory will illustrate course principals and consequences of process deviations, such as common composite fabrication tasks, damage, repair, inspection and coupon test methods.  Laboratory sessions will be held in Nov. 8-9, 2016, in Wichita, Kansas.


Start Date Oct. 17, 2016 (online component- at least 6 hours per week)
Nov. 8 & 9, 2016 (optional hands-on training, onsite component)

Onsite Time: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Day 1
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Day 2

Onsite Location:

National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT)
4004 N Webb Rd.
Wichita, KS 67226

Parking: No parking permit is needed.

Sample Slides

PDF of the Slide

Powerpoint with Author notes

Registration Fee:      

The cost to participants is $2,500.00 each and covers both the online and on-site training regardless of whether an individual chooses to attend the optional onsite training.  Registration is limited to 22 individuals and will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.  Registration includes course materials at the onsite training.  You may register and pay on-line here.  Space is limited so register quickly to reserve your spot.  If the class fills prior to your registering you will be placed on a waiting list for possible future classes. *FAA staff please call for a special rate.

Cancellations and Refunds: 

All cancellations must be made in writing.  A 15% administrative fee will be assessed on all cancellations (this includes purchase orders).  There will be no refunds after Aug 29, 2016. WSU reserves the right to cancel the program due to lack of enrollment.  In that event, WSU will refund any pre-paid course fees but will not be responsible for any incidental or consequential damages.