Between 27-30 May 2019 the Palace of Parliament of Bucharest hosted the proceedings of the 8th European conference AeroDays. Launched in 1991, the European Aeronautics Days (Aerodays) represents the leading event in aviation research and innovation, a platform to share and review the latest developments in aeronautics and air transport across the European Union. This edition has been a global one though, by the highest level participation from the United States, China and Russian Federation, indicating the EU competitiveness in aerospace R&D. For the first time în Central and East Europe, AeroDays inaugurated at its 8th edition an innovative concept, TandemAEROdays19.20, based on two integrated events organized in Romania, in 2019, and Germany, in 2020.

The main organizers of this tandem event are the National Aerospace Research and Development Institute INCAS and the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt DLR, with support from the European Commision, within the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The personalities who authored this concept are Dr. Cătălin Nae, president of INCAS and EREA and Prof. Rolf Henke, executive board member of aeronautics of DLR, chair of ACARE.

University Politehnica of Bucharest was reprezented by Rector Mihnea Costoiu, who was keynote speaker in the aeronautical education panel, moderated by Prof. Spiros Pantelakis, President of the  European Aeronautics Science Network (EASN). The panel also included Dr. Joris Melkert, Dean of TU Delft and President of PEGASUS, and Rita Ponza, CEO of HIT09 (an aerospace engineering spin-off of the Univ. of Padova).

Also, UPB enjoyed a generous exhibition space, with an electrical propulsion UAV (Volta), created by a team of our Alumni within a UPB contract. Banners with aircraft designed and manufactured by prestigious professors or graduates of the Aviation Section of the UPB were also displayed, and Prof. Elie Carafoli, Prof. Ion Grosu and Eng. Iosif Șilimon were there.

Among the high profile Alumni, we also presented Eng. Bogdan Marcu, rocket propulsion expert of the Falcon 9 launcher within the SpaceX program and General Cosmonaut Dr. Dumitru Dorin Prunariu, the first and only Romanian astronaut.

The presence at the conference of Dr. Jaiwon Shin, leader of NASA Aeronautics Research, gives an indication of the international impact of this major event. On 30th of May, we had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Shin among our students and staff, at UPB FAE.

At the Industrial Competitiveness Panel, Serge Durand, General Director, Airbus Helicopters Romania mentioned that in every Airbus airplane flying, one can find at least two major parts manufactured in Romania. This statement was a major recognition of the Romanian aerospace industry competitiveness. We may add that the contribution of the Romanian engineers does not begin with manufacturing, but also a great deal of the Airbus airplanes design was subcontracted to Romanian branches such as GKN Fokker Engineering Romania, ALTEN Delivery Center, AKKA Technologies, Assystem etc.

In the scientific section, a team of UPB FAE (myself and Lect. Dr. C. E. Constantinescu) presented Machine Learning Applied to Aeronautical Safety and Security Optimization.

In the 3rd AeroDay, UPB FAE had the pleasure to host a very important meeting of the European Aeronautics Science Network (EASN). Prof. Spiros Pantelakis of the Univ. of Patras, President of EASN, greeted UPB FAE as a new member of the prestigious organization. EASN National Contact Points from 18 countries participated in the meeting.

Joris Melkert gave an important speech on the future of the aerospace engineering education.

He mentioned the “challenges the future engineering workforce are facing:

  • green the aviation sector
  • increase the level of safety even further
  • have increased digital skills
  • be proficient in working in international, multidisciplinary and cross-sectorial teams
  • be prepared for jobs that do not yet exist
  • be large enough”

“How can we use the 3 cycle system best?”

Bachelor:

  • teach all the basics

+ improve on digital skills

+ improve on team working skills”

Joris Melkert reiterated that “we should have an European system of content based quality control for both knowledge and skills so we are all on the same page” and he mentioned the PEGASUS project, where INCAS is a full member.

Master:

  1. The place where students learn how to specialize
  2. The place where you can adapt quickly to stakeholder inputs via elective courses”

Specialization should be taken with a caveat!

“Specialization Not because you will remain an aerodynamicist, structural specialist / propulsion engineer / aircraft designer / control engineer for the rest of your life.

But because here you learn how to become a professional (life long learning)”.

PhD:

The place to invent the future

This is where developments start that will be part of the next generation(s) of aircraft

This is also the place where ideas for new start-up companies are born”

We asked Joris Melkert what should be the output of the aerospace education system? Aerospace engineers or aerospace scientists? He gave an interesting and ambivalent answer: we target aerospace engineers, but the best way to achieve this target is through high level of aerospace science! He said that the best aerospace science schools provided the best aerospace engineers.

In the expo area, all major European aeronautical research achievements were ilustrated by mock-ups, samples, experimental set ups, aircraft models.

ROMAERO presented a project for an electrical BN-2 airplane, developped in partnership with a UPB FAE team led by Assoc. Prof. Petrișor Pârvu.

At AeroDays 2019 we had the pleasure to meet a lot of graduates of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of UPB, starting with the acclaimed organizers: Dr. Cătălin Nae, president of INCAS and EREA, Eng. Claudia Dobre, organizer of AeroDays 2019 (INCAS). Here below, I am with Eng. Ovidiu Dumitrache of EUROCONTROL (left) and Dr. Cătălin Fotache of United Technologies Research – Pratt & Whitney (right).

 

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