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Aerospace Research Student (Summer Intern)
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I decided to do a placement for two main reasons. Firstly to learn more and expand my engineering knowledge so that I could apply what I've learnt during my course. Secondly I wanted to improve my CV to support my application for Year in Industry. Having the experience of a summer internship will a good talking point in interviews and hopefully put me a step ahead.

How did you find your placement/internship?

RAeS Young Professionals Conference 2018. I met my supervisor there and spoke about my interest of propulsion engineering. He gave me his business card and I later sent him an email with my CV.

Application process

There was no formal application process aside from filling out a personal information form for the university. This was because I met my supervisor at a networking event and sent my CV directly to him.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

The university is renowned for its expertise in propulsion engineering, which is what I find most interesting. As a bonus it was within commuting distance of my hometown.

Main responsibilities

My main responsibility at the start was performing analyses of aircraft performance using an aircraft performance tool developed at the university and validating this data against public domain data. Later on in the summer, I got involved in a project called ENABLEH2 where my role was to create a CAD model of a future-concept hydrogen fuelled aircraft for visual purposes.

Typical day

As the placement was unpaid and not for a commercial company, the working schedule was fairly flexible. Each week, my supervisor would assign some work or research to carry out, and we would then meet up at the start of the next week to present the work and have a discussion. As I was working with another intern, we agreed to go in from 10am-4pm every weekday, sometimes doing longer hours when necessary. Occasionally our supervisor would grant us a day off. A typical day would involve running the aircraft performance code to obtain various performance data. I would then work with this data, making it presentable and sometimes finding public domain data to validate it. The purpose was to gain an understanding of what the data shows and how it relates to the physical operation of the aircraft. Typically, I would research the relevant theory using resources from the university library to include in the weekly presentations. These presentations were delivered to my supervisor. The focus of the internship shifted later on in the placement, once I began working on the ENABLEH2 project. A typical day would then consist of meetings with others involved in the project or liaising over email to discuss the desired design of the aircraft. The rest of the day would then involve the use of CAD to create the design and writing an accompanying report to present the design.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I really enjoyed learning about aircraft and propulsion in depth during the placement. Most of the work was very technical and more academically inclined, but I enjoyed this aspect as it has enhanced my knowledge and understanding of what I am studying. Later on I really enjoyed working on the project, mainly for the team-based aspect of it and the goal of a specific deliverable.

Challenging aspects

The challenging aspects were mostly the technical learning required. Learning about component matching and off-design analysis was particularly tricky.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

My time on placement has strengthened my desire to pursue propulsion engineering. The CAD design aspect has also given me an interest in design engineering, so I hope to find a career which involves these aspects.

As a result of your placement/internship, what are your next steps in planning what you want to do after graduation?

I intend to obtain a good graduate role in a large engineering company in order to start my career, and then see what I want to do once I have completed the graduate scheme.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Attend networking events and talk to professionals about your interests. This will help you to stand out from the crowd and could give you a vital contact to help you get a placement. As the old adage goes- it's not what you know, it's who you know.

Form completed: 07 Sep 2019

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