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Posts in category Academics

User Testing and Problem Solving

After the interview with Gaurav about his graduation
, I got a call from him one morning. He was nearing the completion of
the preliminary prototype of the product he was designing. I had to go check it
out and possibly help out in a user-test.

As I met him, Andy (another friend of ours) was helping him
out in resolving an issue. The guitar strap mechanism wasn’t holding stiff on
the waist-strap. We thought about the issue for a while and Andy came up with a
structural solution to add a metallic plate at the back so that the loads and
moments would be neutralized and the link would stay in place. This fit with
the underlying philosophy of his product and Andy and Gaurav improvised
a back brace to achieve that.


                     Me trying out the product prototype                                          Andy and the improvised back-brace 

It was great to see an organic collaboration between an
Engineer (Andy) and a Designer (Gaurav) working towards a solution that
required knowledge and expertise in both fields.

I learnt a lot from these guys.



Tot Later

Exam Update- Double Trouble

So I gave my first exams of this quarter. Calculus II and Structural Analysis and Design.

The Structural Analysis and Design exam was a resit and I faired quite poorly on the first one. I had to study harder and try and pass it this time. Moreover, a lot of homework and studio classroom sessions went into this course, so failing the exam would be unfortunate as the hard work that went into the continual assessment s would go to waste.

 On the other hand, I was moving out of my old apartment. I was completely excited to move into a new one on campus! After a wait of three years on the DUWO list, I was eligible to move into this new place. My parents had visited me in Delft and luckily it was around when I had to move. They helped me out a lot and did most of the work while I would study.

So, this was ideal to study for both exams, but both exams were on the same day. That’s right, same day! It was hectic and stressful but I tried not to let it get to me. Structural Analysis is one of the most feared courses of the whole bachelor program! And I was giving it with Calculus II.

The morning exam was Calculus II, it was not very difficult but I was disappointed because I felt I could have done a lot better.

The afternoon exam was supposed to be Structural Analysis. I sat in the room, I could feel the tension oozing from everyone. Nervousness was not new. I opened the paper and looked at it. The first question looked out of this world. I skipped it and went to the next. Luckily, a question worth the highest points, I tried and actually answered it correctly! I computed other questions as well but I knew I hadn’t done well.

I wasn’t too disappointed when I left the exam room because I knew that if I had worked harder I would have done better. I have none else but myself to blame. Lesson learnt!

Next up? Aerodynamics II!


Tot Later! 

Impending Exams- Yet Again

Ahh the impending fourth quarter exams. They’re drawing
near. What’s more? My parents are visiting me. What’s even more? I’m moving out
of my old place! Damn, that’s a lot to handle.
But, take everything as it comes right? Baby steps, one by one.

What’s in store this time around?

Well let’s see

Firt off, the dreaded Structural Analysis and Design resit.
It just happens to be on the same day as the Calculus II exam. Fun fun fun. But
that’s not too bad. I’ll have to manage it and pull through. And besides,
Calculus II isn’t that hard (well compared to structural analysis it isn’t).

Next up? Aerospace Systems and Control Theory. Well, I think
I’m going to have to pass on this one and take the resit in August. There’s
only one reason for that, and that is Matlab. Yes, the whole exam is Matlab
based and I still haven’t perfect my programming skills! August it is.

Then finally, Aerodynamics II. This is a fun course; we even
had a practical about it. But the theory part of it is not very easy. So I’ll
have to study for it. But hey, who likes giving exams. I’m only human J

This might sound like a rant to you, but it’s pretty normal
given the fact that it’s exams. And I’m used to giving exams. So I say, bring
it on! J

I’ll keep updating on how they went! 


 Tot Later

The Box Inside the Wing – Part 1

The second semester project in my first year at the TU Delft
was the next step compared to the first one. It had to deal with designing and
building a basic wing box model.

What’s a wing box you ask? Well a wing box is strictly, a
box inside the wing. But hold on, there’s more to it! It gives the wing its
structural stability and also houses most of the fuel. It’s basically what
keeps the wing from snapping into two provided the extreme aerodynamic and
loads during flight! Talk about utility, eh? It’s supported and reinforced with
spars, stringers and webs. That’s a pretty basic description but here’s an


An Actual Wing box! (source:

The project group, using the material we learnt from the two
structures related courses in the first year: Statics and Mechanics of
Materials, had to design and compute the amount of stringers, spars and webs
we’d need and their placement. Oh and we’d also have to compute the number of
rivets and the rivet spacing!

All this so we could test it to work under a compression
load of 5kN. That’s around 500 kg! That meant that the wing box should not
buckle under that load. The team worked hard and tried to calculate as
precisely as possible. Moments of inertia, stress calculations, you name it. We
were ready, it was time to build it!

Stay tuned to find out more on the building of the wing box!

Tot Later

First Year Flight Practical- Part 2

After a day of preparing for the pre- flight test, it was
time to head over to Rotterdam Airport.

I met Tobi and then we cycled, early in the morning to the
airport. Now, I’ve been there many times by bike. But that was the first time I
was ever cycling to the airport. Thanks to smartphones and maps on them, we
made it in time. Phew.

Once we reached, we met with our trainer pilot. He was
pretty decent and not very stern. He gave us our test papers and we answered
them. Sixteen question. I managed to get 12 right and was quite relieved.
Though the pilot did take out time to explain to me why the answers I had got
wrong were wrong. Tobi, on the other hand, scored a perfect 16/16. Yep!

After the test he briefed us about how to read the weather
ad flight conditions from the report provided by the air traffic control. Then,
we made our way to the aircraft, a Cessna 172. We did a small check to see if
everything was in place and sat in it. It was time to fly.


WC= Whiskey Charlie                                                                          Tobias with our ride! 

The plan had changed a little and we wouldn’t be flying to
the Gouda airbase due to weather problems. So, the pilot decided that we do two
flights from the Rotterdam airport itself. I was the lucky first one on the
co-pilot’s seat. The pilot showed us the ins and outs of flying: how to use the
yoke, how to turn, how to bank, how to ascend and descend. It was all
interesting and a tad frightening but also very instinctive. We were supposed
to keep the altitude at 1000 feet. Then he let me take control.

It was a frightening yet amazing feeling. I was in control of
an airplane for the first time in my life! It was amazing. Though, since it was
my first time and I was nervous, the plane was a little shaky in the beginning
(much to the dismay of Tobi who was sitting behind us). I made a turn and we
headed back to the airport. It was rather short, maybe 10-15 minutes, but
amazing nonetheless. We were about to land and the pilot took over again. A
safe landing. Phew.


Me taking Control                                                                                               The view from the top

It was then time for Tobi’s turn to take the co-pilots seat
while I sat in the back. I was blissfully smiling in the euphoria of having
taken control of an airplane for the first time in my life. This route was more
picturesque as it was over the harbour. We could see containers, trucks, the
shoreline and even wind turbines. Tobi was admittedly a lot more stable than I
was at controlling the plane so I was a happy passenger!

Back to the airport, another safe landing. Perfect!

We thanked the pilot and cycled back to Delft, talking about
how exhilarating the experience was.

Thanks Tobi!

And I hope the faculty re starts the First Year Flight
Practical Test.


Tot Later!





First Year Flight Practical- Part 1

One of the most awaited parts of my first year at the TU
Delft was the free flight test.

The free flight test was awarded to every student in the
first year who had acquired above average credits in the first semester of the
first year. I didn’t quite understand this until it was properly explained to
us at a lecture.

The flight test would consist of two students flying with an
experienced pilot in a small general aviation aircraft. That’s cool in itself
but what was cooler was the fact that we would be briefed about all the
technicalities of flying such an aircraft first hand. Moreover, we would even
get to fly the plane! This was too good to be true, so I applied for the test
with many other classmates of mine to see for myself.

The flight test was to happen at the Rotterdam Airport and
would consist of a flight to the nearby Gouda airbase and then a flight back
from there. I applied and was teamed up with my friend and classmate Tobi.

This all seemed unreal, I mean, there had to be some sort of
qualification we had to undergo in order to be eligible! And that’s when I
found out there would be a written multiple choice test before the flight and
the trainer pilot would be evaluating if we were technically proficient enough
to fly.

I looked at the course material for the test and spent most
of the day before the flight preparing for the test. I was very excited. It
would be the first time I would be actually flying a plane!

What was even luckier for me was the fact that there were rumours
that they’d be discontinuing this complimentary flight lesson from the next
year due to budget constraints. I had to be a part of this! It was my only

The follow up and the actual flight later!


Tot Later! 

Aerospace Engineering’s not-so-secret Hangar

My favourite and (in my opinion) most inspiring place at
the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft is the Flight Hangar. Yep, you
read it right; it’s an actual aircraft hangar!

One of the first things I did when I came to Delft in 2009
was to check it out!

It’s amazing. It has all kinds of cool aerospace related
things. From engine parts to actual engines (non functional of course), from
wing cross sections to actual airplane wings. But the most exciting thing in
the flight hall is this beauty:




A goddam F-16! And before you ask, no you can not fly it out
of the faculty for a joyride because of
the missing engine. But still!

I’ve used the flight hall for various courses, to get some
idea of what stuff actually looks like. It’s a refreshing change from
(sometimes) boring text in books. I mean, it makes a lot more sense when you
can actually see it with your own eyes and relate the theory to it. I’ve also
used it as part of my engineering drawing course but more on that later.


Dummy Satellite                                               Jackpot!                                                                  Eject! Eject! 

I was lucky when I joined the faculty, because it was open
for all. Anyone could walk in and see the beautiful hanger for what it really is
with their own eyes. Unfortunately, for reasons still unclear to me, the flight
hall is restricted now and can only be exclusively accessed with your ‘activated’
campus ID.

However, I’m pretty sure the security will make exceptions
for visitors from time to time provided they don’t ….. I don’t know…… steal
anything? (It’s ridiculous I know)

Anyway, it’s an inspiring place to be in!

Hope to see it soon!


Tot Later

Noisy Airplanes No More!

This post is with relation to the Second Year Semester

After toiling and working hard on Matlab and writing the
report and countless revisions, we finally got our grade!

Looks like our Noise Assessment of Rotterdam The Hague
Airport was quite thorough as we managed to score an 8/10 on the scientific reporting part!

Congratulations to my fellow group mates who worked very
hard on Matlab and writing the report!

We did it!


Ta-daaaa! 🙂 

Them Noisy Airplanes

Aah week seven. Just one more
week to go till the end of the fourth quarter. One more week till the end of
the semester, and the end of the academic year. 
Just one more week till them dreaded exams. But it has been a fruitful semester.
Among various courses, the constant has been the semester project that I have
been working on with my group.

The first two years of the
Bachelor program at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering here in Delft consists
of four semester long projects. The one in this semester was different than the
others since each group (of about 8 people) was given different projects. My
group was given the daunting task of simulating the effects of changing the
noise regulations at Rotterdam The Hague Airport, or as I like to call it,

If you live close to an airport,
you would know what I am talking about. Noise is a nuisance when it comes to
airports. And the Rotterdam airport is a special case since it is small but
close to the residential areas of Rotterdam (and even Delft!). So this semester,
instead of only cycling there for coffees, I had to work on changing the noise
regulations from a Dutch standard into a more uniform one used all over Europe.
What does this have to do with Aerospace? Well it’s an airport for starters.
Moreover, the ‘noise’ created is mainly due to landing and taking off aircraft.
You know, engines and stuff.

In order to execute this mammoth
task, we had to do a lot of research. And in this process also learnt a very
organized and efficient way to conduct research. We learnt that Wikipedia is
not the end all be all of knowledge databases. It’s a decent start, but to
actually cite references we had to read numerous reports, chapters from books,
legislations and even presentations. After that, it was time to get cracking on
the execution.

I was blessed with six highly
competent group-mates who were very hard working (at times they even refused to
take breaks!). They did all the MatLab coding while I whiled away my time with
what I do best, reading manuals, reports and guidelines on how to write the ‘perfect’
scientific report. The final deliverable is a scientific report.


 The Dream Team at work!

So far we’ve gotten pretty decent
reviews and I’d like to thank my group mates for their hard work!

Well done Bo, Rudi, Yvonne, Andreas, Hanneke and Martijn! Let’s nail this


Tot Later 


The Windi-er Tunnel

A few days ago I took part in the second wind tunnel experiment
of the academic year. I’ve spoken about the first one in another blog. This one
was different in a few aspects. It dealt with supersonic flow of air and
subsequently took place in the Aerodynamics department of the faculty. And my
group and I had to write a report on out findings right after the experiment.

It was an interesting set up with a water channel chamber
depicting ‘supersonic’ airflow. This was done since we could physically see the
flow of water and draw comparisons with how air would behave at supersonic
speeds. It was also easier to make a clear distinction between the ‘shock waves’
in the water.
The second set up was more interesting. It dealt with actual air at supersonic
speeds in a highly sophisticated wind tunnel set up. There was a camera guided
by intense light and focussed on the glass test chamber. This was done so that
on the monitor we could see how exactly the supersonic airflow behaved. It was
also easier to see, with the help of the camera, the shock waves. Manipulating
the area dimensions of the chamber we were able to move around the position of
the shock waves.


The wet tunnel                                                                                     The instructor at work on the glass chamber 

After that the boring part ensued where we had to write bout
our observations in the form of a small report. The report writing didn’t go as
smoothly as planned but we managed to get a bonus point out of it!

It was great to see the theory being put to the test and
things finally started making more sense in my head. At least about
compressible aerodynamics!

Tot Later

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