I am privileged to be writing my first blog for Cranfield University. I hope you can relate to some of my experiences thus far.
Here’s a little insight into my repertoire. I’m a Bengaluru Uduga (a boy from Bengaluru, India) through and through. As a young child growing up in the metropolitan city of Bengaluru, it was customary to hear the skies rage with the thunderous outbursts of fighter jets flown by the Indian Air Force (IAF) besides the tumultuous traffic that you hear today. I remember days when my grandfather used to take me to the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) airport where we stood by the visitors’ pavilion to watch different types of aircraft take flight. Years later, I had the opportunity to visit HAL as an intern at the ‘Aircraft Division’ back in 2017. I remember sneaking into one of the hangars to climb on top of a stepladder attached to a SEPECAT Jaguar. However, I was caught red-handed by one of the employees. I expected myself to be kicked out of the facility that instant but he instructed me to climb back up to give me an introduction of the cockpit layout. I remember not understanding a word he was explaining because my eyes and hands were glued to the might of the million-dollar aircraft.
The very foundation of my gusto towards aviation shaped my decision to pursue the design of flying machines. It subsequently led me to apply for the Master of Science (MSc) programme in Aerospace Vehicle Design . My reason to pursue the aircraft design course is quite simple. The course is a well-structured system that assists students in developing their cognitive and professional skills that are pertinent to the aerospace industry. What also captivated my attention was the university’s rich history with aviation. Knowing that the Cranfield airport was once used as a World War II airbase excited every nerve in my body. I once read that back in 1944, fighter pilots stationed at Cranfield (previously named as RAF Cranfield) used to pedal around with ice-cream tricycles in the nights to improve their night vision capabilities. Interestingly enough, it was considered to be apt and economical. Cut to 76 years later, the planned acquisition of the Saab 340B aircraft for the National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC) shows that Cranfield University is heading into a new era of aerospace excellence.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Like most students around the world, I had experienced a perfect storm with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it introduced me to a new wave of digital communication technologies such as MS-Teams and Zoom that is intended to emulate a classroom. The March (2020) intake of AVD MSc students were the first batch from Cranfield University to have their classes conducted online. Getting used to this was a challenge but we mustered our way through to ensure we made the most out of the opportunity provided. The AVD students usually start with their Group Design Project (GDP). However, we had started our Individual Research Projects (IRPs) due to the social restrictions that were put in place. And to be honest, we gave it our all. It is rightfully appropriate to say that we are proud of ourselves for making it through. And, I am certain that this experience will be told to the future graduates of Cranfield University.