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Aviation University

Spirit A320 family spoiler facility official opening

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to Spirit AeroSystems’ A320 family spoiler facility’s opening event at their plant at Prestwick Airport. This was due to my PhD’s association with Spirit.

It was a bit of a surreal experience being there alongside such important guests as the dean and principal of the university, senior Airbus and Spirit executives and the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

The first spoiler produced, signed by Nicola Sturgeon

An interesting theme of the speeches was the highlighting of the company’s links with the University of Strathclyde. This is due to the tireless work of people such as Prof. Gareth Pierce, Dr Charles MacLeod and Dr Carmelo Mineo (who is sadly leaving Strathclyde mext week). It seems there are high expectations on me and my work, which is both flattering and utterly terrifying!

It’s a shame that my colleague who also was a PhD student associated with Spirit decided to leave, and did so yesterday. I totally understand his reasons (I share a lot of similar reservations). I wish him well for his future career.

The main thing I have learnt however is that what I’m researching is of value, not just for what it is, but for improving my prospects in the future. This was the main concern I’ve had about my PhD, as I understand that a lot of engineering companies don’t value PhDs (or indeed regard them as bad). The fact that Spirit are so enthusiastic is a real plus.

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Hello

Myself
Photograph courtesy of my very talented sister, Carolyn.

I’ve had this domain for years, and I have finally decided to actually do something with it. Whether it is actually beneficial to mankind or not is another matter.

As a way of introduction, I’m currently a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. I’m part of the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering in the EEE department there. I seem to spend most of my time programming, but I think I’m a frustrated mechanical engineer at heart. I’ve been tasked with looking at automated ultrasonic testing of composite aerospace components. I might go into this a bit more at some point in the future.

I find it all too easy to get caught up in the present and not realise how things have changed for the better.

I also went to the same university for my undergraduate degree, which was in electrical and mechanical engineering. I had the good fortune to be able to leave Scotland for a bit and called Singapore my home for 10 months. This was as part of a student exchange programme with Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The time I spent there was easily the best in my life. I’ve had some hard times as well, for example, for many years I found it difficult to leave the house at all. I find it all too easy to get caught up in the present and not realise how things have changed for the better.

A350-1000 at Glasgow airport
G-VLUX, A350-1000 of Virgin Atlantic at Glasgow airport

I’m a bit concerned about this all being a bit boastful, so here’s one of my favourite photographs. It not only illustrates a beautiful example of European engineering, but also my passions for aerospace and photography.

In case anyone has actually read this, thank you and goodbye for now.