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Picture this, in just one year’s time a group of master students will work together to assemble an aircraft kit. One that will be airworthy and certified to fly.
During the Master course Aircraft Manufacturing Laboratory, students assemble their own aircraft kit. (Photo: TU Delft TV)

Picture this, in just one year’s time a group of master students will work together to assemble an aircraft kit. One that will be airworthy and certified to fly.

The Aircraft Manufacturing Laboratory master course first started in February 2017. It aims to help reduce the differences between theoretical knowledge and actual production. Each year, three teams of approximately seven students enrol. Teams that are fully responsible for every aspect of the project. From planning to construction and marketing. The ultimate goal of the project is to have the aircraft flying by 2020. 

Certification
According to the current project manager George Vonhoff, the teams have a lot of freedom, but are obliged to keep their records updated and keep track of their time. These records are being tracked by a documentation head like Rahul Rakesh Prabhu. “My responsibility is to know every detail of the work done. When a new team comes in, it needs to be crystal clear what the previous team did.” And it’s not only important for construction, but also because the aircraft needs to be certified. “This means that all documents should be in order,” he concludes. 

Team effort
For the layman, finishing the airplane must seem like the ultimate goal. Vonhoff, however, feels that gaining understanding of aircraft manufacturing practices is probably even more important. “It’s not a prerequisite to have manufacturing experience, so most of the students enrolling need to learn that on the job. Besides that, we have quite a diverse international team, coming from different backgrounds and even different master tracks.” The thing he enjoyed most during the course? “Working together and building a team,” he smiles.

TU Delft TV shot a short documentary on the Aircraft Manufacturing Laboratory. Make sure to watch it below.

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