Entrepreneurship & Industry

GE Aviation

Engineering Intern – Commercial Engine Control Systems

May 2018 to July 2018, Cincinnati, OH

I returned to GE Aviation for a second internship this summer. This time, I was placed in the Commercial Engines Control Systems team which meant I got a sneak peek into the brains of a jet engine! I learned how a FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) is used to – among other things – translate the pilot’s inputs into the engine’s outputs, and worked on software testing and certification for the GEnx engines on the Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft.

What I did:

I. Change Management
Utilized change management software tools such as IBM Rational Synergy, Rational Change and DOORS in order to ensure Boeing’s high level requirements were accurately implemented and tested, and correctly linked to internal GE testing requirements.

II. Software Certification
Carefully followed the commercial engine FADEC software certification life cycle and contributed to the various steps in the process. Worked with SCRs (Software Change Requests), IRs (Implementation Requests), and took part in CCB (Change Control Board) review meetings several times a week. Handled export controlled data and followed international trade compliance when collaborating with team in Mexico. Worked on a critical software release which included issues such as engine icing accommodation and thrust control malfunction accommodation. Modified a test vector to accommodate requirement changes, and ran it on the FADEC setup at the “dry rig” software testing lab.

III. Logic
Developed a working knowledge of FADEC control systems logic tools such as FSIM simulation models and the HPUX operating system. Recognized the basic philosophy and approach to designing legacy FADEC logic control. Learned several basic UNIX commands and calculated the cyclomatic complexity numbers for modules found in IBM Rational Synergy.

Built FSIM using UNIX and used that to run simulations on several test vectors. Used GPLUS software to create plots from the data obtained from these simulations. Evaluated BEACON diagrams to assess engine panel modes and created an enumeration table. Detected and promptly reported any inconsistencies found in the process.

IV. Professional Learning
Quickly adapted to the professional work environment and learned to establish effective communication with co-workers. Took advantage of learning and training opportunities to increase overall knowledge of GE jet engines and the business as a whole.

Had the unique opportunity of working with, and learning from some of the most talented people in the engineering industry. Took the time to really get to know the people around me, which naturally helped facilitate communication.

In addition to all the technical skills I learned this past summer, I also learned the values of time management, effective communication, and accountability, to name a few. I got a deep-dive opportunity into the world of jet engines, and left with several unique experiences to look back on.

Engineering Intern – Production Engine Test Operations

May 2017 to August 2017, Cincinnati, OH

Two weeks into my freshman year at Duke, I walked into the university career fair out of curiosity. What had initially been a spur of the moment decision turned into an incredible opportunity when I struck a conversation with the recruiters from GE Aviation, and this brief interaction eventually led to a summer 2017 internship with the company.

I was placed in Production Engine Test Operations for GE’s military gas turbines. Turns out, the company manufactures aero-derivatives using existing jet engines that are used to propel warships and to produce electricity on power plants.

What I did:

I. Updates to Engine Testing Documentation
Consulted shop floor workers and performed updates on 12 Engine Test Instruction (ETI) manuals, which included torque specifications, component removals/installations, and addition of new pictures. Revisions were logged and approved by management.

Learned about the entire engine testing process and individual Prep-to-Test (PTT), Test, and Prep-to-Ship (PTS) sites.

II. Lift Plans for Safety Team
Coordinated with health and safety team to draft lift plans for critical lifts of turbines weighing over 15,000 lb.

Completed high priority lift plan for LM2500 gas turbine modules which were operating at critical lift capacity. Met with Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) team and had draft approved.

Completed lift plans for overhead cranes in various test cells as well as a shipping facility where the engines are inspected and packed for customer delivery.

Consulted union employees and supervisors to document important operations. Included photographs with markups in engineering documentation to make text intuitive. Documented weights for all engines and cataloged crane capacities and part numbers.

III. Tool Inventories and Retrofit Upgrades
Created a detailed inventory for 6 of the 12 tool chests in the department. Also coordinated keycard access retrofits on older toolboxes and scheduled replacements; oversaw the installation of retrofit locking mechanisms on tool chests in test cells. Communicated with supplier for cost quotes. Completed inventories and made laminated documents with step-by-step instructions for missing tool retrieval.

IV. Professional Learning
Communicated and worked with union employees on a regular basis while in the process of updating ETIs and creating lift plans. Took their inputs into consideration and implemented them on several occasions. Developed working relationships with the professionals in the department. Had many meaningful conversations and learned a lot over the course of eleven weeks – both about the individuals and about the work they do.