Edited by: Jesse van Leeuwen

Interviewees: Karel, Hajo, Charlie, Demy, Florian

These guys have been active in AeroDelft since 2019, and just completed the structure of the Phoenix Prototype! This, however, has required a lot of dedicated work. Since the start of the pandemic, they have worked nights and weekends on many different locations to ensure the quick production of the prototype. The whole team is very proud of their achievements!

Tell us about your department!


Each of us gets our own responsibility for the structure. Of course, we help each other out and regularly have brainstorm sessions with all of us to tackle a design or manufacturing problem. This way we make use of our multidisciplinary team structure but also ensure everyone feels responsible. We have worked in many places. Started off in our old office in the aerospace building (which is now the exact same office but called InnoHub) then worked in the ‘tec factory’ where we started the design and also did some manufacturing tests. We then went to the Dreamhall where we finalized the design and started production. When covid hit we went to Haamstede where we made the fuselage shells, moved everything to ago where we did most production. Finally, we moved everything (again!) to Rotterdam airport where we finished the design. Quite a ride!


What do you like most about your department?


Karel: ‘For me: the dynamic and ‘agile’ way we tackle problems. Some people Excell in practical knowledge and some like to theorize everything but in the end, you need both! I really like how these two ‘personalities’ work fluently together. Secondly, I like how everyone is curious which we needed as an un-experienced team.’


What have been the biggest obstacles that your department has faced so far?


One obstacle is the difficulty in finding a good place to work. See the first answer to the how/where do we work for the craziness there. This made it difficult to really work efficiently until we had the workshop in Rotterdam. Thus, it was dealt with by getting a solid place to work. Another obstacle is that most people in the department are very part-time. It’s difficult to find time next to full-time studies to build an airplane. One way we attempt to deal with it is planning. Another way is taking strategic weeks to really focus on 100% production (like the final assembly weeks). Another obstacle was the lack of knowledge about a lot of stuff way at the beginning (like how to work with composites, how strong, etc). that was solved through experimentation and working with good partners


What are you as a department most looking forward to?


I think one of the things we were most looking forward to already happened: the completion of the airframe, coating and reveal. However, now we still need to finish some last small things. It’ll be great once it’s actually fully done and ready to fly. Then, one big milestone is the Batt-only flight because this will prove that the airframe is actually airworthy!


Regarding your department, what are you most proud of?


That beautifully coated airframe we have in the workshop right now! Also, the level of refinement we hit with the airframe. I think it’s quite remarkable we went from 0 knowledge to this quality