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How many Modellers Are Engineers?

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Lee Smalley04/08/2010 16:22:47
2125 forum posts
68 photos
2 articles
 wow i thought i had it tough !  well done Gemma i am now 37 and only in the last year am i in a position to self fund my way through a degree i left home at 16 had no way of funding any further education and even if i did i could not have gone i had to work to provide, i envy people who have had the oportunities i did not have and i applaude those who took those and ran with it and worked damn hard to get the degrees etc but what i not like is them looking down at me and sneering (and i have had them say this to my face) your not an engineer, mybe not officially but the people who work with me and know me call me an Engineer, and thats good enough for me just wish i could earn the big bucks 30k plus to go along with my abilities
Doug Ireland04/08/2010 16:28:03
2088 forum posts
42 photos
I'm just a lowly aeroplane sparky but I do have almost 30 years experience in the offshore oil industry. It was my own pure laziness that I didn't get any formal engineering qualifications. I still think I'm smarter than some of the new kids on the block with letters after their names
Gemma Jane04/08/2010 16:33:23
1349 forum posts
53 photos
Yep, Lee I agree with you too that you should be recognised for your abilities not for pieces of paper.
Unfortunately the whole world seems to have moved towards greater specialism and more bits of paper rather than ability.

inspector956604/08/2010 22:30:08
239 forum posts
lee ackers and gemma I totally agree with you the world has gone mad for bits of paper that say you can do it.
I dont profess to be an engineer i grew up on the buildings and coming from a one parent family if i wanted it i had to earn it if i couldnt earn it, i had to make it i, am not one to be beaten by a problem i will always find a way around it to achive my goal but being in this situation has given me alot of commen sence and determination to perform the task at hand.
I can build you a house, repair your car. plot and navigate a course in a boat but i dont have a piece of paper to say i can.
so according to the H&S exec i cant do it.
but the spottie thats just walked out of the collage with the bit of paper in his hand can but is he safe.
dont get me wrong everyone has to start somewhere but im sorry time served has to be worth more than that bit of paper.
Ackers i thought that a domestic engineer was the person that does the cooking and cleaning.
oh that would be me as well then as my wife is confined to a hospital bed at home maybe i can call myself an engineer i better print myself a bit of paper to say i can do lol..
Eric Bray05/08/2010 00:10:14
6600 forum posts
2 photos
No formal qualifications at all, except a certificate for avoiding working (!)
All real modellers are draughtsmen, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, decorators, and excavators, as well as being able to work a kettle (for bending planks, not brewing up, although that helps!) and a smoothing iron (for shrinking solarfilm, etc). Then - if you brew your own fuel, a chemist as well!
James4005/08/2010 00:37:51
885 forum posts
3 photos
HND Aircraft Engineering, but I can't really say any of the 3 years study helps me fly or build an r/c plane.
Flying is mainly panic punctuated by moments of calm and building is- in my world of ARTF kits, well it's not really building.
 The real world of aircraft engineering is somewhat different to model making, the latter is make use of what you've got and bodge what you don't. Those rules just don't exist on the real thing, way too many signatures and accountability for work done.

Vecchio Austriaco05/08/2010 06:05:54
1513 forum posts
716 photos
Electrical engineer, nothing to do with model flying, but the technological background about materials and processing as well as a design background help a lot.
As some of you may know I fly mainly electrics - cannot do without the odd spark from time to time 
Bravedan05/08/2010 07:32:04
152 forum posts
6 photos
As a boy of about six I'm told I started making kits, not just of planes. I was always wanting to "do things with my hands"  (OOOH ECK MISSIS!!).  By ten I was building bikes from scrap bits, I had offroad "track bikes" with knobbly tyres and low gearing LONG before Mountain Bikes appeared.
At school in the final years all the teachers ganged up on me and tried their best to get me to go into Teaching.  They got at me so much I only stayed on a single year, during which I gained two A levels, a Distinction and a Credit. They even "got at" the careers officer, who would talk about nothing else.
So, I did my own thing and went into Engineering.  From Apprentice I eventually rose (if that's the right word!) as high as it was possible to go and still have Engineer in the job title. I'm actually qualified in Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, not that it really matters a damn, others apparently needed the bits of paper, not me, as I was having too much fun.  I had a wonderful career, good enough to "retire" at 52, ten years ago.
For the past five years I have worked part time in a school trying to help kids from 11 up develop their incipient "hands on" ability and find their path, helped by a Headmaster who recognises the need for skills of ALL types to be promoted and is fully prepared to invest in developing engineers for the future.  I use RC in all its forms as the lure and the ones that show an interest beyond just using it have the opportunity to develop their latent skills. It's not pushed on them in any way, they have to show they want it, if all they choose to do is operate, that's fine by me. Sessions are after school, I have members still attending from when I started and numbers float between 15 - 35 depending on other draws on their time.
This continues ALL year, I ran a session yesterday flying RC Heli's and driving offroad RC buggies and an offroad RC motor-bike.  Things break, we fix them.........they get exposure................
Just had an Email from a mother, part of which reads:-
"Thank you so much for giving up your time today,  ******* had a ball. Once we got back home he was in the garage, radio and lab coat on (apparently this helps!!) and he's had the confidence to mend his broken RC car."
THATS why I do it!!!!
Peter Miller05/08/2010 08:26:15
11222 forum posts
1321 photos
10 articles
I always liked making things but I tend to be pretty useless at studying unless something really interests me. Always loved aircraft
Spent 12 years as an airframe fitter in the Royal Air Force. (got a Certificate of Merit on the Mechanics course (80%+ mark) because I was so interested) and then spent most of the rest of my working life as a mainenance fitter.
I still regret the BMFA changing its name for the Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers. Perhaps there should be a subsection for scratch builder that keep the title.
Peter Miller05/08/2010 08:35:00
11222 forum posts
1321 photos
10 articles
People have been talking about Mitchell. Let me introduce an even more amazing person.
Clayton Folkerts. He was a farm boy who suddenly got an interest in aircraft, designed and built a couple on the farm with varying degrees of success.
Don Luscombe asked Clayton to design a two seat side by side enclosed aircraft. Clayton drew it up on the workshop floor.
That was the most successful American aircraft of the 30s. The Monocoupe that was developed from the Velie right through to the 110 Clip wing that was still being built in 48.
Not only was the Monocoupe a great racing aircraft, it was a good aerobatic mount as well, winning awards in many events including the nationals in 1948
Not only that, a few years ago Aviat where going to resurrect the 110 clip wing with a Lycoming engine. Still the basic aircraft that started out as the Velie 13. Built a prototype too.
The Monocoupes were a great little aircraft for travelling round but they also won more air races than any other aircraft. At one stage the joke was made that the National Air Races should be renamed the national Monocoupe Races.
Clayton also designed several very successful pure racing aircraft.
Not bad for a self taught farm boy.

Edited By Peter Miller on 05/08/2010 08:37:43

Bravedan05/08/2010 08:45:06
152 forum posts
6 photos
Off aircraft, but the Dennis brothers (they of the Buses, Lorries, and Fire Engines, a company still around from the 20s) were also self taught Farm Boys.............
Reno Racer05/08/2010 09:14:00
1138 forum posts
168 photos

I'm all for it! Self thought Engineers should understand everything in their field from the start as a apprentice to their rise through to design Engineer or similar.. My old man did the same, as did many generations of my family.

I thought i'd just clarify this qualifications and bit of paper thing. 

The award of Chartered Engineer (CEng), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Engineering Technician (Eng Tech) is not granted by taking an exam or been at University. Sure, for each level you must have the basic academic qualifications, but they are just to open the door. Your interview and assessment is based on your proven competence, not a bit of paper. To give you an idea, any time served mechanic or technician who has worked his/her way up to some supervisory level probably meets the criteria for IEng. A snotty nosed Masters Degree graduate, needs to spend time learning his trade and prove his competence before he/she has any chance of becoming a CEng. usually, about 8-10 years. The hurdles and grilling you get is pretty intensive.

Why bother then?, well in my line of work we have been mandated. It all started with 2 incidents. firstly, an Engineering Officer (Major) in the Army, who had served 25+ years and worked his way up from basic apprentice mechanic was in court, following an accident involving an Army vehicle on the A303. He had functional responsibility for ensuring that all repairs and inspections were carried out to the correct standard (MoT equiv). He was ripped apart by the prosecution because he was not an accredited (lawful) Engineer. Although he probably had the competence to be a CEng, he had not bothered to register and be assessed and accredited. Think of it as OFTEC or CORGI, bt bigger.

A similar incident involved the sign off (declaration of an aircraft been fit to fly) by an Aircraft Engineering Officer, again, he probably had the competence, but had not been assessed and awarded an professional qualification. You can imagine the difference in legislation between land and air vehicles.

In short, these are based on your competence, not your quals. I suspect these 'bad' engineers people have discussed would not have been granted professional status, if they could not prove their competence. 

Hope that adds clarity to the discussion

I don't use much of my background in modeling. My technical interest, i'm sure helps. But much is woodwork and craftsmanship and I'm a ham fisted Mechanical chap and tend to find BIG hammers aren't that useful.

Peter Miller05/08/2010 09:55:55
11222 forum posts
1321 photos
10 articles
I am reminded of a friend of mine who used to be English hardwoods manager at a big local timber firm. He had spent his working life there .
The family company was sold to a big company who brought in their managers all of whom had fancy qualificatoins in management.
These "experts" could not understand why you bought oak logs and then left them for seven years. Nor  could they grasp why it was that when he bought in 100 cubic meters of logs they only had about 60 or 70 cubic meters of timber to sell after they were processed.
Ironically, the most uselss of these experts got the push. Sometime later the staff weres ent on a "training" course. and guess who one of the intructors was? Yes. the useless twit who had been given the push.
Going back to my own experience, I knew an engine fitter who passed his course with honours. He was a menace when let loose on aircraft.
leccyflyer05/08/2010 12:29:27
1518 forum posts
327 photos
You can always tell an engineer,.............. but you can't tell him much.......
Gemma Jane05/08/2010 12:37:53
1349 forum posts
53 photos
That's a bit like how do you spot a pilot at a party?
You don't need to they already told you they are a pilot.
Guilty as charged. 
sparks5905/08/2010 12:51:10
217 forum posts
105 photos
Hi Chris,
Seems to be a few of like minded folks on here!
I'm also a Chartered Electrical Engineer. There does seem to be a few of us involved in this hobby!
But I did it the really 'old fashioned' way as I started out with an Electrical apprenticeship with British Rail Engineering, studied for HNC, then HND and eventually got to do a part time honours degree at Leeds Poly (as it was). It would have been so much easier and faster to do the university route straight from school.
 The practical training and 'hands on' experience gained from being 'on the tools' for 11 years has stood me in very good stead with some 'Engineers' and I use the term loosely, that I have encountered over the years.
Gemma Jane05/08/2010 13:31:17
1349 forum posts
53 photos
The 'hands on' issue becomes most apparent when engineering students leave uni.
Suddenly they find that their latest amazing design can't actually be easily manufactured as it's impossible to produce the tooling to do the job. It must bring a few down to earth when they are sent away by a shop floor 'engineer' to have another think about it all when it is they that have the piece of paper that states they are an 'engineer'.
During my uni course there was a one week workshop of using machine tools. Watching a bunch of kids who had never even seen lathes before was pretty entertaining. Had to duck a lot though due to the flying chuck keys.. 
Much the same as I've seen from uni ecologists who can talk all day about 'bio mass' etc and don't see the animal sat by their foot whilst they are talking.. the very species they are there to record! Plenty of knowledge, zero practical field experience.
Fortunately long before I did the 'academic' stuff I was already very hands on having completed a City & Guilds in motorcycle mechanics (they taught me welding.. I love welding!) and being taught many model engineering skills by Dad, including using lathes, soldering and stuff. It's a good balance though I struggle to get my son to see that making things is actually the best way to learn about things, he is now getting the idea.

Edited By Gemma Jane on 05/08/2010 13:41:31

batcho9905/08/2010 13:52:00
347 forum posts
16 photos
I'm an engineer too, I thought I better post a comment incase someone is counting!
I'm in Aero Engineering fixing big'ns at the local aeroporto, just mechanical tho, I dont do that fidly electricary stuff!  I've just got up from a 12 hour night shift so i'm having a bit of finger trouble on this bloomin keyboard too.
sparks5905/08/2010 15:27:51
217 forum posts
105 photos
Posted by Gemma Jane on 05/08/2010 13:31:17:
The 'hands on' issue becomes most apparent when engineering students leave uni.
Suddenly they find that their latest amazing design can't actually be easily manufactured as it's impossible to produce the tooling to do the job. It must bring a few down to earth when they are sent away by a shop floor 'engineer' to have another think about it all when it is they that have the piece of paper that states they are an 'engineer'.
During my uni course there was a one week workshop of using machine tools. Watching a bunch of kids who had never even seen lathes before was pretty entertaining. Had to duck a lot though due to the flying chuck keys.. 
 Whilst at BREL, we found that the university graduates who would occasionally come for 'shop floor experience, soon calmed their clever talk after they had been sent to the stores for the 'long stand, bucket of sparks for the grinder, tin of striped paint, oh and while you are there, bring a unit for a Deltic' (oh had better take a barrow for the last one kid!)
Happy days.
Erfolg05/08/2010 16:54:07
11781 forum posts
1340 photos
I am a Chartered Engineer Mechanical Engineer, (CEng, Bsc (hons)).
As with many modellers I have always enjoyed making things.
I have returned or continued modelling, as a consequence of the necessary discipline of full size engineering. Modelling allowed me, at the scale of models that I build, to try out ideas/thoughts of what would happen, if I do this.
When a practising engineer, the training helped in understanding what was likely to happen and what are probably the critical issues.
Tutors similar to Biggles always emphasised that simplify the problem to get a feel, then look at the detailed solution, to make sure that your answer is in the ball park. The other emphasis was that in the real world,many systems are non linear under all circumstances (the concept of limits). In short you can only calculate so much, with predictability, sometimes, small changes can change the outcome dramatically and may be beyond consistent calculation. Please understand the limitations of the relationships you are using.
Above all one tutor would challenge does it matter, if so why, can I control the outcome and if I can is it worth the effort.
For most of us non competitive modellers, who really cares.

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