Free Aviation Guy Newsletter Want to receive the latest on aviation delivered to you? Get all the latest and greatest aviation insights for FREE! Join your fellow Av Geeks who subscribe to Aviation Guy for FREE!!

Alamo Area Aerospace Academy Providing Education and Critical Training/Experience

A month ago I wrote about an education program that Airbus sponsors to help provide education as well as hands on training at the Airbus Lycée.  That article led to a couple of pretty in-depth discussions on LinkedIn that are actually still going.

The general consensus of those discussions was that the aviation industry as a whole needs to do a better job promoting themselves, and all of the various options that exist for jobs in aviation.  I for one think we also need to create more programs that provide better opportunities for young people to get training, and the all important “work experience”.

I came across another great program that is not only fostering aviation, but in some cases is leading to actual jobs.

The Alamo Area Aerospace Academy is one of four vocational training schools in the San Antonio area that puts students on the fast track to careers in various industries.  The Aerospace Academy was developed out of a need for workers at Lockheed Martin.  As their workforce was retiring they needed a pipeline for training young, new employees.  So they worked with the local government, community college, aerospace companies, and school districts to develop a program to get kids excited about aviation, and get them the necessary training.

The program lasts two years and includes a paid internship between the students’ junior and senior years.  During the school year the classes provide hands on training and experience while still earning students credit towards high school graduation, and even a good chunk of an associate degree.

This is exactly the type of program that we need more of in every industry, and especially in aviation.  It is far easier to get excited about education when you see the practical application of it.  The reality is that college is not for everyone, and that training like this can be far more valuable for many people than a four-year degree would ever be.

Apparently the program is creating the desired results as Lockheed Martin estimates that 20% of their direct hire workforce comes from the Aerospace Academy.  And, as I already mentioned, three other industries have developed similar academies to train their own workforce.

While this is not necessarily the right approach for everyone, or every industry, we need to develop more programs just like this.  Youth are ready to get excited about a career well before they reach college, and aviation needs to be there when they are developing that excitement.  If we want to attract the best and the brightest, we need to get them hooked earlier than we are right now.

What other programs could we create to help get young people excited about aviation, and prepare them for potential careers in the industry?

March 10, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

C-130 Hercules Flying Low-Level Through the Mountains

With all of the somewhat depressing news in my two biggest passions (sports and aviation) this past week I just needed to post something that is 100% awesome.  Fortunately, we have YouTube to make such endeavors incredibly easy.

As a C-130 navigator myself, I am quickly becoming biased, but no matter who you are, if you love the thrill of flying, then this is definitely a video you will enjoy.

This video is of C-130s from the 36th Airlift Squadron based out of Yokota AB Japan.  The views are picturesque, and the flying is quite impressive considering the size and agility of the Herc.

So please, enjoy the next five minutes of flying at its finest in the video below.

 

January 22, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft Brings Composites to the Air Force

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is an aircraft that is being closely watched by the whole aviation industry.  It is the first airliner to be built largely of composites which is supposed to help increase fuel efficiency which is the biggest financial issue in aviation.

Normally, the military drives innovation and the development and new technologies.  In this case, Boeing may have been the innovator in the civilian sector, with Lockheed Martin pursuing development in the military arena.

The advanced composite cargo aircraft from Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works could revolutionize the way aircraft are built.

Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Program, more commonly known as Skunk Works, is working to develop an advanced composite cargo aircraft for the US Air Force.  Most people are well aware of the efficiency benefits of composites, but there are a lot more advantages than that.

According to the Lockheed Martin website, here are a couple of the other benefits:

The use of composites in aircraft manufacturing will mean lighter, less expensive and more durable aircraft that also are easier to maintain. For example, the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft manufacturing process will require far fewer parts and will dramatically reduce corrosion and metal fatigue issues.

Corrosion and metal fatigue are huge issues for military aircraft that are often forced to enter incredibly harsh environments where any material would be tested to its limits.  Add to that the generally rugged nature of military operations, and it is clear that it takes a pretty special material to support that.

If that weren’t enough, you also have to consider the fact that military aircraft are almost always asked to serve much longer than they are originally planned.  Reducing corrosion and fatigue would make it that much easier for aircraft to successfully operate even longer.

If these new materials and structural concepts are as effective as they hope them to be, than the new advanced composite cargo aircraft may change the way that military aircraft are built much the way the 787 Dreamliner could change the way airliners are built.

March 6, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.