AeroSoc visit to Frankfurt, Germany
Twenty Aerosoc members visited Germany between the 8th and 12th June on the 2014 Aerosoc International Trip, visiting leading aerospace companies in Frankfurt and Cologne.
by Lee Bugeja
A group of twenty Aerosoc members spent four days in Germany enjoying plenty of sunshine while visiting aerospace companies in Frankfurt and Cologne. The aim of this yearly international trip is for Aerosoc to provide opportunities to expose its members to exciting career prospects within the aerospace sector.
The first two days were spent enjoying the pleasant weather and discovering the city of Frankfurt which has developed from shambles after the Second World War into a vibrant city with modern buildings and a good number of bars and restaurants.
On Tuesday 10th June, the group visited Lufthansa Technik Frankfurt (LTF) facilities located next to Frankfurt airport. The group were first given a brief presentation about the ways in which Lufthansa Technik operates both in Germany and globally by A330/A340 landing gear engineer Mrs.H.Irriger and propulsion maintenance engineer Mr.M.Zimmerman. Students were given first-hand accounts of the challenging maintenance projects in terms of logistics and engineering capabilities which Lufthansa engineers strive to resolve in the quickest and most efficient ways for the aircraft to resume operation. Students were then toured around the engine overhaul workshop witnessing up-close latest engines such as the Engine Alliance GE7000 and Trent 900 used on the A380. Lufthansa Technik engineers toured the group of University of Manchester students while explaining the operations currently going on at the workshop and answering questions. The culmination of this visit occurred when students were allowed to board a Lufthansa Boeing 747 in one of the hangars and sit in the cockpit as well as in its first class cabin interior.
The next day, students had an early start in order to get a coach to Cologne where they visited the headquarters of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the European Astronaut Centre. Upon arrival, students were given a brief lecture by a DLR employee regarding the activities of research and development which are carried out in terms of aerospace, energy and transportation. Interestingly, DLR carries out a number of national and international research programmes and also acts as the German Space Centre. Aerosoc members then walked to the European Astronaut Centre where European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts are selected, trained and given medical support and surveillance. Students were given the unique opportunity to view the buoyancy lab and full scale European segments of the ISS where ESA scientists and engineers communicate with astronauts on-board the ISS (German Astronaut Alexander Gerst at present). The group of MACE students round up their visit to Cologne by strolling around the city centre before heading back to Frankfurt and eventually returning to Manchester on Thursday 12th June.
As Aerosoc President 2013-2014, I would like to thank Prof.Gibson and Dr.Dupere for providing MACE subsidies toward this year's International Trip. Moreover special thanks goes to Lufthansa Technik engineers Maxine Scicluna and Hedwig Irriger, UKSEDS secretary Ryan Laird and Aerosoc Industrial liaison Andrew Peck and trip co-organiser who greatly assisted in the organisation of the trip.
A visit to a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul centre with the scale of Lufthansa Technik was a very valuable and exciting experience. The presentation and tour given by the staff was very beneficial in giving us an insight into the operation of an MRO centre. A visit to some of their hangars was definitely the highlight as we got to see different types of aircraft up close, explore the cabin and cockpit, an experience that is always exhilarating for aviation enthusiasts like us. The trip to the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and European Astronaut Centre (EAC) was definitely a one-of-a-kind, invaluable visit. A presentation given by the staff enlightened us about how engineering practices done by an Aerospace Centre is employed to real-life applications. Being a space geek, a look into where the European astronauts are trained was very inspiring. A very thrilling experience.
Hasna Nur Fadhila, MSc Aerospace Engineering