For my last blog post of the semester, I thought I would give a brief history of my interest in aviation.
The story begins when I was four or five years old when my parents would take me to airports to watch planes take off and land. I remember being fascinated by the concept of a metal human creation lifting off the ground and traveling between continents at hundreds of miles per hour. The sheer impossibility of it all, I assume, was what grabbed my attention about aviation.
After I entered elementary school, I began collecting model airplanes. I was particularly interested in older, more obscure commercial aircraft such as the Vickers VC-10 or Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose. To me, these planes were interesting because they represented novel ideas that never fully caught on in the aviation industry. For example, the Spruce Goose only flew once despite being unprecedentedly large with a wingspan of more than 300 ft.
In my studies of rare aircraft, I soon came across planes that had never been made into plastic model kits. Therefore, starting in 2nd grade, I devised ways to create models from scratch. My first effort was building a to-scale paper model of the Boeing 2707 Supersonic Transport for my school science fair. This project first taught me that I could make detailed paper models of planes, and second, taught me how to make careful measurements using measuring sticks and unit conversion factors.
Outside of paper modeling, I advanced my interest in airplanes by attending the Aviation Summer Camp at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA. There, I learned the basics of lift, drag, and thrust. I also learned how to build and launch model rockets and fly computer flight simulators. The camp, furthermore, became special for me because I made many longtime friends there who shared my passion for studying aircraft. After becoming too old to be a student at Aviation Camp, I returned as a volunteer in 2017 and 2018, and plan to return this summer as an instructor.
In more recent years, my aviation studies have advanced to include topics in fluid mechanics. During the pandemic, I researched computational fluid dynamics and ran sample simulations on my laptop. These studies allowed me to begin to see the intricacies of turbulence, pressure, temperature, and viscosity. Ultimately, performing computer simulations and reading the scientific literature on fluid mechanics made me further committed to studying these topics in depth when I got older.
Therefore, when it came time to apply to colleges, I knew that aerospace engineering would be the perfect major for me. Now that I am at USC I am very excited about what I will learn and how I will be prepared to make my contributions to the aviation industry.