Aircraft System Design and Integration

D. P. Coldbeck, L. Smrček

Abstract


In the 1980's the British aircraft industry changed its approach to the management of projects from a system where a project office would manage a project and rely on a series of specialist departments to support them to a more process oriented method, using systems engineering models, whose most outwardly visible signs were the introduction of multidisciplinary product teams. One of the problems with the old method was that the individual departments often had different priorities and projects would get uneven support. The change in the system was only made possible for complex designs by the electronic distribution of data giving instantaneous access to all involved in the project. In 1997 the Defence and Aerospace Foresight Panel emphasised the need for a system engineering approach if British industry was to remain competitive. The Royal Academy of Engineering recognised that the change in working practices also changed what was required of a chartered engineer and redefined their requirements in 1997 [1]. The result of this is that engineering degree courses are now judged against new criteria with more emphasis placed on the relevance to industry rather than on purely academic content. At the University of Glasgow it was realized that the students ought to be made aware of current working practices and that there ought to be a review to ensure that the degrees give students the skills required by industry. It was decided to produce a one week introduction course in systems engineering for Masters of Engineering (MEng) students to be taught by both university lecturers and practitioners from a range of companies in the aerospace industry with the hope of expanding the course into a module. The reaction of the students was favourable in terms of the content but it seems ironic that the main criticism was that there was not enough discussion involving the students. This paper briefly describes the individual teaching modules and discusses the experiences and lessons learnt from this course with some thoughts on the way it is proposed to develop the course.

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague