Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Aerospace A day in the life of an Aerospace Engineer

  1. Aug 19, 2009 #1
    A thread\blog of some aerospace stuff I get to do on a day to day basis.

    These photos are from the AUVSI convention I went to last week. I will be attending a CFD training session\conference in early September out in California. I'll post and pictures from that if I take any, though I doubt it considering it's more of a technical session. I'll see about posting videos later (maybe). This event was closed to the public, so enjoy:

    Fire scout UAV. It's a converted Schweizer 333 helicopter. They have already done a few ship board landings with it, which is quite impressive.

    http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305779768_5736845_45426159_108605_n.jpg [Broken]​

    (You can tell my background is in rotorcraft. Only we would take pictures of the hub...

    http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305769788_5736845_45426157_7147453_n.jpg [Broken]​

    or the tail rotor....

    http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305600128_5736845_45426126_4302197_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305834658_5736845_45426169_6761065_n.jpg [Broken]

    X-47 UAV. This UAV is massive. It has a jet engine of an F-16
    http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305505318_5736845_45426107_359576_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305515298_5736845_45426109_5475635_n.jpg [Broken]
    a lot bigger than the model....
    http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305620088_5736845_45426130_3871232_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305630068_5736845_45426131_3360877_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305679968_5736845_45426141_3830115_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305645038_5736845_45426134_3220089_n.jpg [Broken]

    big landing gear

    http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305699928_5736845_45426144_5019714_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305674978_5736845_45426140_1898539_n.jpg [Broken]​

    I'll post more later, this takes time.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2009 #2
    This is a landing grid used for ship board landing. A hook is lowered from the vehicle and caught onto the grid. Then the line is reeled in to secure the aircraft to the deck of the ship. Currently, only NATO ships have this grid installed. The US fleet will need to have these retrofitted.

    http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305664998_5736845_45426138_1116650_n.jpg [Broken]​

    This UAV operates out of the airport I fly at (with a person in it)

    http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305704918_5736845_45426145_1339252_n.jpg [Broken]​

    Vortex generators on the wing to keep the flow attached.
    http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305714898_5736845_45426147_29809_n.jpg [Broken]​

    White props are typically made out of wood. This one is made in Germany. The wood has lower polar moments of inertia and reduces vibration. Also, because it's wood, it has infinite fatigue life.
    http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305729868_5736845_45426149_6913120_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305739848_5736845_45426151_5683987_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305749828_5736845_45426153_4833461_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305759808_5736845_45426155_6528092_n.jpg [Broken]​

    This UAV is a prototype by BAE. Its currently being designed in England. The two turboshaft engines come from (I think) Rolls Royce and are on the Sikorski S76 helicopter.
    http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305864598_5736845_45426175_3310973_n.jpg [Broken]​

    http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs150.snc1/5575_791305874578_5736845_45426177_7024866_n.jpg [Broken]​

    http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305889548_5736845_45426179_5762762_n.jpg [Broken]​

    The front. Though it looks like room for a cockpit, it's not. The hoops to certify the aircraft for manned flight means it will always be unmanned. This is typical for many UAVs.
    http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305854618_5736845_45426173_5064959_n.jpg [Broken]

    http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs130.snc1/5575_791305849628_5736845_45426172_8099149_n.jpg [Broken]​

    More later.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Aug 25, 2009 #3
    Nice pictures! I hope to be an AE someday.
  5. Aug 25, 2009 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Nice pics; very interesting. Our company has made a couple of man-rated engines back in the day, and what our old-timers say, it was a major PITA.
  6. Aug 25, 2009 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Apparently you AE's go to airshows all day :tongue2:

    Man rated engines are a pain. However, they make the day interesting. Plus, I get to do some really cool tests because of them that you don't usually do for qualification programs.
  7. Aug 25, 2009 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Turbine blade containment anyone?
  8. Aug 25, 2009 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    That's not the half of it. All of the testing for man rated engines is tough. From a design standpoint, I think some of the toughest are the LCF and HCF requirements for lifing a turbine rotor.

    Fan containment tests are by far my favorite. It's not often you get to see an entire engine eat itself.
  9. Aug 25, 2009 #8
    I wanted to send you a PM about which company you work for, but I said you don't take PMs.
  10. Aug 27, 2009 #9
    Piccolo Anti Ice

    I was attending a webinar conference call today on CFD. One of the interesting topics discussed was on what is known as a piccolo tube. It essentially ports hot exhuast gasses from the engine to the interior of the leading edge of the wing for anti-ice protection. Really interesting, and new, concept to me. I found a .pdf about it, which is somewhat interesting and gives some detail about this aircraft system.

  11. Sep 16, 2009 #10
    Today I went down to capital hill to talk with people in industry and congress on the UAVs. It was an interesting discussion on how the FAA needs to change its policy regarding their treatment of UAVs and open up US airspace to allow for the expansion and growth of this high tech industry which has mature, fielded, technology.

    I also happened to see Barney Frank in the cafeteria drinking coffee and (I think) alberto gonzales walked by me in the hallway.

    My friend and I talked with a representative of Elijah Cummings, (D) MD. It was interesting because a "Long" meeting with a congressperson is considered 15 mins.
  12. Sep 23, 2009 #11
    Attending an Aerospace & Defense Testing conference in the Baltimore convention center this coming weekend. Will post pictures and description of what goes on there: our aircraft will be on static display.
  13. Sep 29, 2009 #12
    New Entry.

    http://aerospaceindustrynews.webs.com/apps/blog/show/1841137-international-test-evaluation-association-itea-2009 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Sep 30, 2009 #13
    I talk about wind tunnel models in my blog entry here:

    http://aerospaceindustrynews.webs.com/apps/blog/show/1841991-wind-tunnel-models [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  15. Oct 5, 2009 #14
    http://aerospaceindustrynews.webs.com/apps/blog/show/1872286-cruise-efficient-short-take-off-and-land-cestol- [Broken]

    I talk about Cruise Efficient, Short Take-Off and Land (CESTOL) aircraft in my blog here.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  16. Oct 5, 2009 #15
    This is an older one reposted on NOTAR heilcopters, specifically the MD500N

    http://aerospaceindustrynews.webs.com/apps/blog/show/1877616-notar-helicopter-design [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  17. Oct 10, 2009 #16
    Here I talk about attending the Association of the US Army - 2009 convention, and the X-2 ABC helicopter, UH-72A Lakota, guns, and more.

    http://aerospaceindustrynews.webs.com/apps/blog/show/1908117-association-of-the-us-army-2009 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. Jan 6, 2010 #17
    New blurb about the Predator C

    http://aerospaceindustrynews.webs.com/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  19. Jan 6, 2010 #18
    Reminds me of a P-3 flight my father had in 1972 where the engine's dining behavior was a little messy. Shredded rotors cut through the pax area. Fortunately, no one was injured.
  20. Jan 6, 2010 #19
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predator_C" [Broken]! I'm surprised it can carry the Paveway and the JDAM, given their weights. If it's that radically more capable than the original Predator, why not give it a new name? Are they running out of names??? How about the Dodo? (Direct Objective Destruction (somethingorother)) LoL!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. Jan 18, 2010 #20
    I was at a DARPA workshop last thursday. Some overall thoughts.

    http://aerospaceindustrynews.webs.com/apps/blog/show/2619959-darpa-transformer-workshop [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  22. Jan 19, 2010 #21
    Interesting: "DARPA also wants the vehicle to use commonly available military fuels, including AVGAS and MOGAS."

    Is DARPA aware that just about every US Army and US Air Force land and air vehicle, burns JP-8?

    I don't know what the Army ships burn. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  23. Feb 18, 2010 #22
    I got to sit in on a talk by Maj. Jen Joe Engle, test pilot of the X-15 and Space shuttle. Very, very nice guy and interesting talk!

    http://aerospaceindustrynews.webs.com/apps/blog/show/2908036-joe-engle-nasa-test-pilot-and-all-round-good-guy- [Broken]

    http://aerospaceindustrynews.webs.com/ENGLE.JPG [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  24. Feb 18, 2010 #23
    So what do you think would be a good use for a UAV other than military? As you said, the technology is mature, and if technology follows the same path it always has, we should be seeing civilian applications very very very soon. But what are they?
  25. Feb 18, 2010 #24
    Law enforcement and search/rescue come to mind.
  26. Feb 18, 2010 #25
    The use of a UAV is to gather Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) information. Not really something every day people can use; however, the flight control algorithms used to fly them are. They can pave the way (pun intended) for a 'highway in the sky' type network in the National Air System (NAS).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook