College of Engineering

AirCraft Detail Design Class Takes Trip to Boeing

Prescott, AZ., November 3, 2011

Once every semester, students enrolled in the Aircraft Detail Design course on the Prescott Campus take a field trip during the week following their mid-term design presentations. The purpose of the trip is two-fold: 1) to provide some stress relief, and 2) to provide students with an opportunity to visit an aircraft manufacturing facility to get a glimpse of a ‘real world’ aircraft fabrication process. For the past 6 years, students have been treated to a tour of the Boeing, Mesa plant, where they meet with ERAU alumni who are employed as engineers and visit the Apache helicopter assembly line. This experience is timely in that these students are required to fabricate a scaled model of an aircraft component (or an entire aircraft model in the case of Design, Build, Fly projects) during the second half of the semester. The students learn how designs translate from Computer Aided Design files to physical components and have the opportunity to ask the ERAU alumni questions regarding their experiences since graduating from ERAU.

As a part of this trip, students also visit the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa where they receive a tour guided by experienced aircraft enthusiasts. The museum features a variety of World War II aircraft including a B-17 which offers them the opportunity to do a ‘walk through’ from the cockpit to the tail gunner’s station. The students love hearing the stories that the guides tell recalling the roles that the aircraft fulfilled during the war and the trials and tribulations that the crews had to endure.

This semester, the trip took place on October 27th under the guidance of Prof. Jim Helbling (who is the primary instructor for the class), and Dr. Wahyu Lestari (who interacts with the students during her Structures and Instrumentation class, which is a co-requisite to the design course). The photos provided below show a picture of the group with Dr. Lestari on the far left in both photos, and Prof. Helbling on the far right in the second photo. The photos were taken in front of the Sentimental Journey, which is the B-17 that the students walked through. After the trip, the students expressed how appreciative they were to be given the opportunity to get away from campus for a day and touch some actual aircraft.

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