Ground-breaking work in aircraft design has won Lieutenant Nishchol Sethi, of the Directorate General Technical Airworthiness of Austalian Defence Force, the Ken Griffin Memorial Prize from Cranfield University for his 2013/2014 academic year.
Navy’s aviation engineering fraternity selected Lieutenant Sethi to undertake full-time study in the United Kingdom for a Master of Science (MSc) Aerospace Vehicle Design.
At the graduation ceremony in June he was awarded for the best work in stress analysis, demonstrating to the international aviation community the calibre of Navy’s aerospace engineers.
The Ken Griffin Memorial Prize recognises the additional hard work, dedication and technical mastery displayed by a recipient.
Lieutenant Sethi said the university’s highly respected course attracted local and international students and continued to fulfil its vision, set in 1946, of leading postgraduate education in aerospace engineering.
“In the Cranfield tradition, the MSc features high-calibre industry-based guest lecturers from companies such as Boeing, Airbus, BAE Systems and Eurocopter, who provide insights into contemporary design and engineering project management practice,” Lieutenant Sethi said.
“This approach also provides students with the opportunity to establish international contacts for networking across the aerospace industry.”
He said the course was divided into two phases. The first half focused on a group design project and the second on an individual research project.
“For the group project, students operate in a simulated industry-type environment where they are required to project manage and design an entire aircraft from basic specifications,” he said.
“Each student is required to produce a detailed design of a significant part of the aircraft, such as the forward fuselage, fuel system or navigation system.
“I was assigned the design of a metallic elevator for a tail assembly.
“My analysis enabled the development of a lightweight structure through the optimisation of numerous sub-components normally seen within contemporary elevator design along with a methodical approach to material selection and manufacturing processes.”
Groups were required to report and present findings to a panel of 200 renowned senior engineers and representatives from major UK and global aerospace companies, government bodies and military organisations.
Lieutenant Sethi said the aviation industry recognised it was one of the fastest growing contributors of greenhouse emissions.
“In response, there is recognition of a need to take effective measures to improve the impact of air travel on the environment,” he said.
“Consequently, the 2013/14 project called for the team to develop a ‘green’ or low-carbon footprint passenger aircraft.
“The design was to use advanced technologies and design concepts to reduce harmful emissions, while delivering a technically viable and cost-effective aircraft suitable for future commuter and air freight transport requirements.
“The intimate involvement with the design process allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding of the conceptual and analytical methods applied in complex design and design acceptance.”
He said the course equipped him for his work with at RAAF Williams in Melbourne as well as for his future career in the Fleet Air Arm and his ultimate goal of becoming chief engineer at the Naval Aviation Systems Program Office.