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A Unique Capstone Project: Building An Airplane

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Interdisciplinary Design Projects in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.137.1 - 11.137.7



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Paper Authors

author page

Venkitaswamy Raju State University of New York-Farmingdale

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Unique Capstone Project: Building an Aircraft Introduction

Capstone courses in engineering and technology provide the means for the graduating students to demonstrate their comprehensive skills and knowledge and their ability to apply those to real world problems. They serve as an important tool in the accreditation process by enabling programs to provide evidence in producing graduates with the following characteristics: 1) strong background in the concepts, tools and techniques associated with the profession, 2) ability to design experiments, gather data and perform engineering analysis, 3) ability to be innovative and apply principles of engineering design, 4) ability to identify and solve problems, 5) ability to work as a member of a team, and be responsible from moral, ethical and social points of view, and 6) ability to work towards continuous improvement in one's own professional practice. In the past, programs such as mechanical, manufacturing, and electrical engineering technologies primarily focused on completion of capstone courses through individual design projects or through small group projects carried out in the labs. Most recently, engineering technology programs have started encouraging and supporting students to undertake complex industry sponsored capstone projects. In many cases, companies have provided logistical support, access to facilities, equipment, and personnel resources and funding for projects that address problems in product design or production processes. In this paper, we present a case study where senior students in mechanical, manufacturing, electrical, computer and aviation technology programs came together to undertake a complex capstone project. The project involved remodeling and retrofitting a general aviation aircraft. It was a major undertaking in terms of resources, complexities in carrying out the project, logistics involved and meeting legal and other requirements. The project was unique in that it offered the means to solve real world problems, and enabled the students to manage the project as it would have been done in industry. Teams of students, technical personnel, industry advisors and mentoring faculty worked together to provide the students with extensive capstone experience in building the aircraft. For the faculty and the students, the project was an excellent means to demonstrate the strengths of the program while meeting the accreditation criteria. The paper describes the project in its entirety and the lessons learned in carrying out a full-scale industry project.

Capstone Senior Projects: Recent Developments

In recent years, the capstone senior projects have become a very significant element of the undergraduate programs in engineering and technology. A wide variety of approaches to carry out senior projects are followed. They include industry sponsored project in product design, concurrent engineering, and systems analysis and integration; multi-university projects dealing with problems in design, testing, manufacturing and product implementation; and interdisciplinary projects involving students from various disciplines of engineering and technology. The changes in the accreditation criteria for

Raju, V. (2006, June), A Unique Capstone Project: Building An Airplane Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1197

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