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Student:  Alexander Bowen-Rotstaert (UQ Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)

“From systems architecture to helicopter flight test regimes, I’ve had the opportunity to be fully immersed in the project”, says final year UQ Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student, Alexander Bowen-Rotsaert about his recent CEED project.

Alexander was ecstatic to be selected as a part of the Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS) project with Australian Aerospace, which began in February. Australian Aerospace is a leading defence contractor and the project was located at their Brisbane Airport facility.

The project was based on the MRH90 helicopter’s ‘Maintenance Diagnostics System’ (MDS) and accompanying Ground Logistics Information Management System (GLIMS). Together they form a HUMS framework whereby the onboard MDS gathers and stores various types of data which is downloaded after each flight by the GLIMS station for analysis. The intended use of the GLIMS is for operator level fault finding, operator level condition and health monitoring, and usage monitoring to support the helicopter fleet.

Australian Aerospace project - student: Alexander Bowen-Rotstaert (2nd from left)
L-R:  Pieter (company supervisor), Alexander (CEED student), 
Aurelien (company supervisor), Peter Lindsay (UQ supervisor)

The aim of Alexander’s CEED project was to investigate the HUMS functions, evaluate their readiness for implementation on MRH90 helicopters and determine what further investigation is required.

Some key activities Alexander undertook during the project included interacting with aircrew and maintenance staff for verification purposes and analysis of flight data. His goal was to develop deliverables and a framework that will be used to support ongoing work (and for the next CEED student to continue with). These deliverables included verification and validation documentation, training documents and an overall plan outlining a recommended strategy for future work based on experiences during this project.

Alexander says that he learnt more about aerospace systems and helicopters in particular since commencing his CEED project than during his whole degree. Although he believes that his university studies have provided him with the fundamental understanding, the knowledge and skills, and how to apply them in the industry. Alexander says that in terms of a defence project, he has learnt about the regulatory structure of technical airworthiness and operations of a defence contractor and the interactions with clients to deliver new capabilities.

One of the major aspects Alexander has grasped in the workforce, is to be independent and self-driven, while not being afraid to ask questions that need to be answered. He says working on this project is completely unlike university, where “your entire class is trying to complete the same assignment as you. In the real world, not everyone is focused on your project, and you have to be persistent yet prudent in how you approach people.” This just demonstrates that in industry, everyone is committed to delivering their work, so to progress in his own project, Alexander had to be flexible and patient around others.

Alexander is looking forward to turning his knowledge and skills into meaningful contributions to the aerospace industry, saying that “this CEED project has provided me with a way to do just that, even before I graduate”. He is now eager to get into full-time work upon graduation later this year.

Engaging in this CEED project has given Alexander confidence in his desire and ability to work on defence and aerospace projects in the future.

After handover from Alexander in July, a new CEED student has commenced Stage 2 of the project, learning from the groundwork Alexander has laid. Alexander will work closely with the new student, Alan Chang (final year Mechanical Engineering student, QUT) whose project will run through to November.


Written by Heylee Menzies (CEED Marketing Assistant - January to August 2013)

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