aerospace engineering final year project :modifying Jetstream 31 aircraft into a fire fighting jet

aerospace engineering final year project :modifying Jetstream 31 aircraft into a fire fighting jet

This document is a general guide to projects, which is valid for all “mechanical/design” courses.  The final year of all degree courses in Engineering & Technology includes a project. The project generally carries a heavy weighting towards the total assessment, so it is important that you choose one that you will enjoy and that is suited to your ability.

A list of project suggestions will be made available around the February prior to your final year and you are encouraged to arrange your project/supervisor by Easter.  This will enable you to make preparatory research before you start your final year .  You may also make your own project suggestions and discuss them with an appropriate lecturer.
•    It is your job to arrange a final year project
•    When a project is agreed upon, complete the “Project selection” form, have it signed by your supervisor and return to the projects coordinator
•    It is good to arrange your project early and make preparations over the summer, but note that the majority of the project must be performed during terms 1&2 of your final year

This is the first formally assessed part of your project.  It will be due for submission early in term 1 of your final year.  It should include:
a)    An Introduction & Background to the project
b)    The overall Aims and a list of the project Objectives.
c)    A plan of activities for the entire duration of the project with target dates for completion of the various phases. It is recommended that a Gantt Chart is used.
d)    A statement of the Equipment & Resources that will be required and any items (with approximate prices) that need to be purchased.
e)    A Preliminary Literature Survey: Projects are not done in a vacuum. You must demonstrate that you are aware of the developments taking place in your project area. This means background reading of textbooks, learned journals, trade literature, government reports, newspaper articles, patents, standards, websites and other publications. The literature survey is an on-going activity, but you are required to produce a preliminary survey at the start of the project.  Note that a list alone is not sufficient. You should organise the references in logical groups and summarise what they say. You should exercise critical judgement of their value to your project and link them to your objectives.
f)    A Risk Assessment and Ethics form (the RA form can be included unsigned and it will subsequently be scrutinised and signed by the Head of Department, but note that the RA is your “permit to work” and you cannot formally start the project until it is completed and signed.
The Preliminary Report and Literature Survey does not need to be a long document but it is important.  It can be regarded as an agreement between you and your supervisor and it defines the course that your project will take.  Any significant divergences from the objectives as stated in the Preliminary Report & Literature Survey must have the consent of the supervisor.
•    The original Preliminary Report & Literature Survey must be included at the end of your project report.
•    The Preliminary Report & Literature Survey counts 10% towards your final mark.

The conduct mark is an assessment of how well you have managed your project and the commitment/enthusiasm/initiative that you have shown.  Students should aim to strike a balance in order to obtain a high conduct mark.  At one extreme, you should avoid consulting your supervisor every few days and requesting step-by-step instructions as to what to do next.  At the other extreme, you should never let weeks drift by without even seeing your supervisor.  The ideal is to show much initiative and perform self-directed activities whilst also making a regular verbal progress report to your supervisor (hence the Weekly Record Sheets – see below).  As a guideline, even if little progress is made for a short period due to other commitments, you should still “check-in” with your supervisor every 2-3 weeks.  And of course there will be periods of high activity when a more frequent consultation is required to discuss tricky issues.  These guidelines should be particularly noted by part-time students performing a work-based project: remember that your academic supervisor has no regular involvement in your work so keeping him/her up-to-date is vital.
A log-book in which you record all readings, rough calculations, sketches, diagrams, thoughts etc can be a valuable aid project management.  In addition to the detailed log, it is necessary for you to keep a Weekly Record Sheet of your meetings with the project supervisor.
•    The Weekly Record Sheet must be included in your project report.
•    Conduct counts 15% towards your project mark.

Seminars are a good experience in the art of verbal communication and also serve to get you to “stand back” and examine what you have been doing and where you are heading. It is also an opportunity for you to get some feedback from staff and students on your progress and get useful critical comments and advice.
•    Each student will be allocated 10 minutes for a presentation and 5 minutes for answering questions.
•    A seminar will normally consist of 4-8 students and two lecturers and you must attend the whole 1-2hour session – not just your allotted time slot.
•    The seminars are usually scheduled during the final week of term 1.  They are assessed and count 10% toward your final mark.

The final written report is the culmination of your project.  It will be read by at least one lecturer that is unfamiliar with your work so it must communicate all important aspects of the entire project.
•    There is a strict length limit of 50 PAGES (including Appendices but not including the Preliminary Report/Risk Assessment/Ethics form)
•    Print at font size 12pt, using a typical font type and 1.5x line spacing
•    TWO permanently bound hard copies must be submitted and an electronic version.
•    Make regular and multiple back-ups as you write – disc crashes, lost memory sticks etc are not valid mitigating circumstances.
•    The technical aspects of the report count 30% toward the project mark.
•    Presentation of the report counts 15% towards the project mark.
•    Submission will be around Easter (exact date will be notified).

The layout and organisation of each individual report will differ slightly, but most reports are likely to follow this basic format:

2.    SUMMARY (Not exceeding 200 words)
6.    INTRODUCTION (draws upon the Preliminary Report & Literature Survey and states the aims and objectives of the project and, if necessary, how they have evolved)
7.    BACKGROUND (including updated Literature Survey)
8.    MAIN BODY OF THE REPORT, which contains the MAIN CHAPTERS of the report describing the methods used, experiments, designs, results obtained, etc.
9.    DISCUSSION (a critical analysis of the obtained results)
10.    CONCLUSIONS (including assessment of the results against the original objectives)
12.    REFERENCES (Numbered and referenced in the main body of the report and presented fully; i.e. Author(s), Date, Title, Journal, Volume, Issue No., Publisher Page numbers)
13.    APPENDICES (must include Preliminary Report & Literature Survey and Weekly Record Sheet)

Report writing has featured on many occasions during your course. Do not forget what you have been taught at this stage of your Degree.  There are many textbooks that may also be useful (e.g. A handbook of writing for engineers, Joan van Emden, Macmillan, 1998). However, one or two points are repeated here as a reminder.
Make an outline of your final report in the form of a list of chapter headings and main subsections before doing any detailed writing. Discuss this outline with your supervisor (but note that supervisors do not proof read the report – this is your job).  Do not clutter the main body of your report with detailed calculations or lists of readings, etc. Keep the main report flowing and relegate material of this nature to an appendix.  Try to include some in-depth analysis of your findings – it should not be just a written account of what you have done.  Number your pages consecutively.  Always check grammar and spelling and do not use slang or texting-style abbreviations.  Number your diagrams in a logical order and refer to figure numbers in the text.  Use proper referencing for all work that is not your own.

For projects that have resulted in significant artefacts that cannot be taken to the oral examination (e.g. a large rig in the labs) it is appropriate for students to approach their examiner towards the end of term 2 to arrange a time for inspection.  Otherwise, the written reports should be sufficient for examination and students should NOT approach their examiner to solicit tips or ask for opinions regarding the project.

After you have handed in your project report, you will be examined orally. This viva-voce will be conducted primarily by the Internal Examiner.  Generally, your supervisor and one other member of staff will be present and they may also ask questions. The viva will test your understanding of the project and to some extent your ability to communicate verbally.
•    The viva does not require a lengthy presentation using Powerpoint.
•    However, you will be asked to give a brief (2-3minute) summary at the start.
•    The viva normally lasts 20-25minutes and counts 20% toward the project mark.
•    Vivas are scheduled in term 3 (exact dates will be notified)

Below are guidelines used by staff to assess the various aspects of the project.

Preliminary Report & Literature Survey

a)    Did the student make a significant contribution to the formulation of the project?
b)    Did he/she include a clear and succinct list of the project objectives?
c)    Did he/she anticipate each phase and produce a realistic timetable (Gantt chart)?
d)    Did he/she predict the resource requirements?
e)    Did he/she consider and reject less suitable alternative plans?
f)    Did the student thoroughly research current and past periodicals, journals and trade literature?
g)    Were the items in f) referenced correctly?
h)    Did he/she collate and present the information gathered clearly and succinctly?
i)    Did he/she show an appreciation of the engineering and social relevance of the project?

Conduct of project

Planning and approach
a)    How well did the student foresee requirements and plan experiments?
b)    Was he/she methodical about the manner in which each phase of the project was tackled?
c)    Could he/she draw the correct conclusions and modify the plan to suit unexpected results?
d)    Did he/she use the log book intelligently, recording all activities clearly and recording other input to the project (library, consultations, intuitive guesses)?

Interaction with supervisor and others
a)    Did the student maintain regular contact with the project supervisor and discuss progress and listen to and act upon advice offered?
b)    Did the student present the weekly record sheet on a regular basis for signing?
c)    Did the student consult appropriate people to benefit from their expertise and to test ideas before trying them?
d)    Did he/she successfully communicate with other students?

Development of techniques
Did the student successfully learn to use unfamiliar equipment, materials, components, theoretical concepts and experimental methods?

a)    Was the student able to sort out problems unaided?
b)    Was he/she imaginative when confronted with extraordinary or unfamiliar situations?

Effort and attitude
a)    Was the student conscientious, hard working and keen?
b)    Did he/she develop the ability to keep up a sustained effort without supervision?

Understanding of background to project
Did the student research and show an interest in the context, origin and application of the project topic?

Analysis of problems
Did the student develop and use an ability to analyse complex engineering problems and break them down into tasks for solution?

Final report   technical

The following should be considered when assessing this component of the assessment:
a)    Definition of the problem and specification of work to be done.
b)    Literature survey and background information.
c)    Technical quality of the solutions to problems and the methods adopted.
d)    Discussion of results and comparison to other work in the subject area.
e)    Conclusions drawn   are they relevant and correct?  Do they cross reference the original objectives stated in the Preliminary Report & Literature Survey?
f)    Suggestions for further work   are they sensible and valid?

Final report   presentation

a)    Structure   is it logical and well broken down, with correct use of appendices, chapters and sections and a contents page, references and acknowledgements?
b)    Are the graphs and drawings neat and well annotated, the equations numbered and the figures referenced? Are the pages numbered? Is the text fee from typographical errors?
c)    Is the text readable, grammatically correct? Are there many spelling errors? Is the report free from excesses of personalised style and jargon?
d)    Was the Preliminary Report & Literature Survey and Weekly Record included in the final report?

Oral examination

a)    Did the student demonstrate understanding of engineering principles?
b)    Did he/she appreciate the context of the project with regard to factors such as economics, safety, legal aspects etc?
c)    Could the student convincingly communicate the results to others?
d)    Did he/she appreciate the limitations of the work, the constraints on the project and any mistakes made?
e)    Did he/she withstand the pressure of questioning well, was not unduly nervous or flustered?

•    Make sure your Preliminary Report & Literature Survey has been agreed and marked by the supervisor.

•    Establish a regular weekly time to meet with your supervisor

•    Start a log and make sure you enter into it everything concerning your project and make sure you take it along when you see the supervisor.

•    Ensure that the weekly record sheet is filled in and initialled by the supervisor.

•    Present your weekly record sheet in the progress seminar.

•    Include Preliminary Report & Literature Survey and the Weekly Record sheets as appendices of the final report.

•    Don’t leave writing the final report to the last minute.

•    Assess the project outcomes against the original objectives.

•    Work steadily on your project. Keep a balance between your regular course work and the project. Don’t let one of them take over all your time.


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