Jim Hirsch recently visited his old stomping grounds at the Texas A&M Aerospace Engineering department to participate in the department’s Critical Design Review (CDR) and as a new member of the department’s Advisory Board, made up of professionals in the aerospace industry. He also attended the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) banquet to present the Leland Snow Memorial Scholarship for the second year to another deserving recipient.
The Critical Design Review is something Senior-level students do as part of their Capstone Design project. A team of students work for two semesters to design an aircraft according to specifications and parameters set by the faculty advisor. They complete the design, build and test a wind-tunnel model, then construct and fly a radio-control model. The teams must also complete a business plan and timeline for prototype construction, FAA Certification, and proposed production facilities. The teams are also encouraged to include a new or emerging aerospace technology into their project.
This year, the specifications for the Capstone project called for students to design an agricultural aircraft. Jim was part of the review board who watched the teams’ presentations and was able to provide real-world experience and feedback to the students. He said that he really enjoyed the experience.
During the AIAA banquet, Jim presented the scholarship award to Brookelynn Russey. She is majoring in Aerospace Engineering with minors in Math and Economics. She has received the Dean’s Honor Award and is a member of Pi Eta Sigma (National Honor Society) and Golden Key (International Honor Society).
Brookelynn is involved in the SAE Aero Design team which designs and builds a large Radio control plane for competition. Brookelynn is also active in the Society of Women Engineers and has co-chaired a summer camp for middle school girls who are interested in engineering. Brookelynn’s scholarship application essay revealed her enthusiasm for math and passion for learning. After her first year with the SAE Design Team, she accepted the position of Administrative Director for the 2012—2013 team. Leadership and enthusiasm about aviation and engineering are qualities we want to reward with this scholarship, and we congratulate Brookelynn on this honor.
As another way to continue the Leland Snow legacy at Texas A&M, Air Tractor recently donated a laser cutting machine for students to use to construct the aircraft that they have designed. The machine will go in the design lab and has the following words engraved on an attached plaque:
Donated by Air Tractor in memory of aviation pioneer
and Air Tractor founder Leland Snow, ’52
Leland Snow built a 53-year legacy of aircraft design and
innovations that ushered in the era of the modern agricultural spray plane.
Olney, Texas-based Air Tractor, the company he founded in 1972,
produces the world’s most popular aerial spray aircraft and
single engine air tankers for aerial firefighting.
This laser cutting machine is dedicated to Texas A&M’s
Aerospace Engineering students who strive for
exceptional leadership and problem-solving skills,
creativity in design, and a focused determination to
Putting Dreams to Flight.