College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Capstone students get up close and personal with Chinook helicopters

On Tuesday, students from Dr. Gielda’s Boeing senior design competition visited the Army National Guard base in Davenport, Iowa.

The students met Capt. Forest Lightle, a CH-47 pilot who provided them with a tour of the facilities and an up-close look at two Chinook helicopters. One Chinook was partially disassembled in the midst of a yearly inspection, while the other one was on the ramp ready to fly.

Group studying Chinook Helicopter
Students got an up close look at a Chinook that was undergoing a maintenance inspection.

The visit was especially beneficial to students as it relates to their senior capstone project competition. This year’s challenge, FireX 2040, will require students to create an aircraft that will be able to extinguish a fire in the year 2040. For a task like this, the Chinook helicopter serves as a great point of inspiration for the students.

Senior aerospace engineering major Elijah Lockwood noted that actually seeing a helicopter up close was important to get a feel for how big these aircrafts were and how they operated. “A lot of students had never even touched or been in a helicopter before,” Lockwood said. “We go through our curriculum and there are a lot of airplanes and theoretical applications, but this is the first time a lot of the students got to go on board a helicopter, sit in the cockpit, and see how the mechanics work.”

The other benefit to visiting the base was that the students were able to speak with a pilot who is conducting these operations and see what goes through their mind as they operate the aircraft.

The students will apply what they learned to their final project, which culminates with a presentation and demonstration to Boeing engineers in April at North Carolina A&T State University.

Capt. Lightle -Chinook Helicopter
Capt. Lightle leads the students out to a Chinook helicopter.