AIAA Paper 2007-302. Presented at the 45th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, January 8, 2007, pages 1-9. Copyright © 2007 by the authors. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.
The aircraft design curriculum at Cal Poly has grown and evolved over the past decades to include a full year of senior aircraft design and an introductory aircraft design course in the sophomore year. The combination of sophomore and senior aircraft design courses has created the circumstance where a “cult” of aircraft design has developed. The curriculum is producing students who are enthusiastic and motivated education, as well as being competent designers after they graduate. A number of “happy accidents” has led to this fortunate situation, including: allowing the sophomores to perform a full aircraft design, having the sophomores work in the same laboratory as the seniors, and the importance of presenting well-bounded design challenges. Other observations about the design classes are made and recommendations for future improvements are included. These recent experiences have shown us that students often learn more when we “teach” less!