Featuring guest bloggers Soon Keat Ong, Jenna Lecates, Kaleb Senator, and Yang Chen.
No Yellow Jacket’s journey through France is complete without a visit to Toulouse. Home to Airbus and a museum that houses two Concordes, it is an aerospace engineer’s playground. As part of Professor Tim Stoneman’s HTS 2100 class at Georgia Tech-Lorraine, we had the opportunity to visit this amazing place with Dr. Stoneman and Professor Turab Zaidi. It was enlightening to learn about the history and stories behind the aircraft on display in the Aeroscopia Museum, and the experience of being inside the Concorde was extraordinary. The highlight of the trip was definitely the visit to Airbus, where we got to see aircraft at various stages of completion on the final assembly line. Of particular significance was the A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft — it is impossible to get a sense of scale until you realize that you can stand inside the base of the wing! Later in the afternoon, the good folks at Airbus gave us the chance to try out their state-of-the-art VR and 3D scanning equipment. Airbus researchers use these tools to create and test virtual models of their aircraft, and we learned a great deal exploring virtual models of airplanes and taking 3D images of ourselves.
To the Mediterranean!
The second part of our field trip was a visit to the Canal du Midi that connects Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea. It was humbling to see the result of the ingenuity and hard work of the men and women who built the canal, all of which was dug by hand more than 300 years ago. We also stumbled across a bridge dedicated to Thomas Jefferson! He had journeyed through the canal from Sète on the Mediterranean coast to Toulouse, and our visit retraced a portion of the route he took over 200 years ago. Lunch was devoured at a tasteful restaurant right next to the 9 staircase locks of Fonserannes, near Béziers, accompanied by a nice view of the city’s cathedral. We also got the chance to see some boats passing through the locks, just as they have done for over three centuries.
Overall, this field trip was an incredible experience. Special thanks to Professor Danielle Andreu, head of partner school ENSEEIHT’s International Office, and the students of ENSEEIHT, recently renamed the Toulouse School of Engineering, who graciously provided us food, transportation, and camaraderie.