Kennesaw State’s aerospace engineering program received university approval in February to transfer aerospace technology to a centralized lab in the Engineering Technology Center on the Marietta Campus.
The technology being transferred to the Aerospace Education and Research Organization lab includes a flight simulator, 3D printers, a gas turbine engine simulator, a wind tunnel and a wind turbine apparatus. The department of systems and industrial engineering hopes to accommodate the nearly 150 new undergraduate students the program supports each year.
Dr. Adeel Khalid, associate professor of systems engineering and coordinator of this effort, said that the department plans to have this technology transferred into the new space by the end of February and wants to begin holding courses in the lab after the spring 2019 semester.
Khalid explained that the concept for the lab is to conduct lectures in this centralized space while giving the professor the opportunity to demonstrate the learning objectives in a hands-on manner. This gives students the ability to comprehend theory and apply their newfound knowledge within a single, three-credit hour class.
“I think that the hands-on part internalizes the concept a little better, as opposed to just showing a PowerPoint or writing on the board,” Khalid said.
Khalid said that the aerospace program has kept its minor status for more than seven years. He expressed that the program was on track to be upgraded to a major program the year after the merger between KSU and Southern Polytechnic State University in 2015. However, the merger slowed this process down and the department has yet to receive approval from the University System of Georgia to upgrade this program to a major.
“Our case has been pretty strong, so I’m hoping that in the next few years — three to five years maybe — you’ll have a full-blown program,” Khalid said. “The entire state of Georgia only has one aerospace degree program and that’s Georgia Tech. Aerospace is a big industry in Georgia — there is lots and lots of aerospace presence.”
Khalid emphasized the need of aerospace engineers in Georgia by naming the presence of companies such as Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream, Delta and Northrop Grumman. He added that these companies have to go to Alabama, Florida and South Carolina to find employees since these states have universities with multiple aerospace engineering bachelors, masters and Ph.D. programs.
The aerospace engineering minor is composed of five courses including Aerodynamics, Aircraft Design and Performance, Fundamentals of Avionics, Aircraft Propulsion and Helicopter Theory, according to KSU’s website. The minor also includes the Aeronautics Senior Design Project course, which is a senior capstone class.