Hope your week’s been going great so far for you!
So one of the cool things about being an aerospace engineer here at USC is that you are close to industry. JPL, Boeing Satellite Systems, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, the Aerospace Corporation, SpaceX, SkunkWorks, the Air Force (Edwards AFB)….and well you get the point that we get to get up and close with building and designing planes through out our undergraduate time here.
Last Friday, I went on a really cool tour in El Segundo….at LAX.
Does anyone know what Qantas stands for? Queensland and Northern Territories Aerial Service. Aka the airline that flies from several Australian cities to the US every day. But check this out: got to go on one of their planes and didn’t even have to buy a ticket. No TSA, and heck, even sat in the cockpit. Don’t believe me? Check it out!
Yep, that’s me up in the cockpit in the largest commercial passenger aircraft in the world!
Whatever you do, don’t let my boss at Boeing see this!! Please
So how did I get there? Well it was actually a group of about 30 of us from USC AeroDesign Team that were on this outing. One of our professors, Dr. Blackwelder is really well connected in the industry…one of his acquaintences being the director of maintenance at Qantas, LAX. So one Friday afternoon, we all set off to LAX, entering not from the passenger side of the airport (e.g. the North or South side of the airport), but rather from the West. We went in through all the cargo and maintenance areas right up to nearly the center of the airport and found some of these lovely birds resting there that fine mid-afternoon. (e.g. These flights arrive early morning here, and leave back for Australia late night).
It was particularly interesting to talk with the DOM because of rthe recent cracks found in the wing spars. Though they claimed at the time that these cracks do not pose an immediate threat, (which upon our viewing of them, they did look a bit concerning), it has now been ordered that all A380s be grounded for emergency inspections of these cracks.
It’ll be interesting to see what the final results of those are. I guess it is good that at Boeing we’re taking a bit more time to work these things out with the 787, and that the worse thing we are dealing with is slight delamination on the extremities of the airfoils after many hundreds of cycles.
I’m going to leave you with a funny picture: Does anyone think that these two buddies of mine can really dead lift a 666,000 lb airplane? Granted, they are in good shape, but com’on now, you’re going to need more protein shakes!