In April, I was pleased to be able to support a great initiative, Primary Engineer.
Set up to encourage STEM careers, or at least an interest in STEM subjects, Primary Engineer challenges primary school children (and now expanded into older age groups) to think about and then present ideas for new technology. This initiative is entitled “If You Were An Engineer What Would You Do”.
In most cases, an engineer has visited a school to answer the children’s questions and to help advise on what might be possible. On the back of this, the children are asked to come up with new inventions and present what problems these address and how these could be made. These are then sent for grading by region with some ideas being shortlisted for national review and one being chosen to actually being built.
So my involvement was on a grading day at Southampton University. It was fun to see into the minds of the future generations, on what they consider important problems to tackle and how to go about this. There are some excellent ideas out there as well as some humourous ones (a Teasmade anyone?).
I haven’t been to the Farnborough Airshow for many years so thought I would catch up on aerospace developments this year. The main focus being on what people are doing with Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing). Some really intricate structures which seem to be as much art as engineering, and all the better for it! I was particularly impressed with some of the metal printing producing precursors to forging. Some of the photos I took:
However, one slightly surprising/disappointing aspect is some of the old tech still being displayed. Probably very indicative of this was the display by the F16. Not sure how old I was when I first saw one display, but I know I had hair! Still, loved the noise and drama.
Very impressive C-130 display, again despite the old tech. The 727 was rather too retro!
But on that note, I really loved re-encountering the Piaggio Avanti. I did a study on this aircraft back as a freshly graduated engineer. It was fascinating and I am so surprised the layout has not been more copied. It was quite a “sportscar” of biz-jets as you’d expect coming out of Italy. Now it’s also developed into a drone (of course).
Lastly, of course, a fabulous opportunity to network. Meeting some new contacts but especially some of my ex-colleagues I haven’t seen for many years, one I haven’t seen since graduation (30 years ago, gasp!) as he’s spent the last 21 years in the States. So we had A LOT to catch up on.