A Multidisciplinary and Practical view in Aeronautical Engineering Education

The traditional teaching process on engineering is based on cognitive orientation, where the knowledge acquisition is driven by teacher in the role of principal active agent which tends to make students a passive agent in the teaching-learning process. In this model, there is no incentive, motivation nor formal space to develop self-learning. Moreover, the traditional teaching brings to student a compartmentalized knowledge (no connected to other scientific areas) without practical application. This view from engineering education brings to the future engineers often perceptions that a certain specific knowledge will not be useful for their education and professional development. This educational approach do not satisfy a post-modern world where the human being is inserted in a dynamic environment that knowledge is available easily in an interdisciplinary way. Thus, the limitations of the traditional education proposal face a new world boosted the university to research alternative teaching-learning processes able to form engineers with holistic view, integrating theory and practice, through active learning based on skills and competencies. New educational models based on learning by doing to use elaboration of design even if it is simple but it brings to students perceptions that success on learning depends on them in realize a design by active way. The Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA) still follows a traditional teaching model in engineering where the first two years at Institute, students attend only basic sciences courses (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Drawing, Computer).After the first two years, students will start their engineering field. This curriculum is not well adapted to a new learning scenario motivating the multi-disciplinarity and practice. In this sense, the ITA introduced changes in two disciplines for beginner students (first year). Before 2014, the courses of metrology and technical drawing were given in a traditional way no correlating both courses and without a practical view about the relevance of these courses for future engineers. In 2014, it was thought in the Physics department at ITA a new teaching-learning process which the responsibility for earning will be attributed to student during active attitude in accomplishing a design that connects several interdisciplinary knowledge through a practical view. To reach an innovated teaching- learning process the metrology and technical drawing courses were pedagogically rethought by interdisciplinary knowledge package with a practical insight. The key to this strategy has succeed was to assembly an air-model (figure), since the great interest of students in aeronautical design. Students built an air-model using the knowledge from courses as well as the inter-disciplinarity between them. The interdisciplinary knowledge package proposes by building the air-model aims to consolidate the following items: Consolidate knowledge on specific course Consolidate knowledge on multidisciplinary view Increase motivation Stimulate creativity Experiment a practical view of the knowledge Encourage critical thinking Promote capabilities of analysis and decision Develop skills and competencies to work in groups and to management stress For pedagogical goals are achieved in terms of competencies and skills in metrology the air-model build process works as a real production process where the production tolerances are obtained by measuring of the air-model parts as spars, ribs and stiffeners comparing among different groups. Furthermore, the error propagation concept could be realized by measurement of the air-model weight. About competencies and skills in technical drawing students draw the air-model three views to realize specification needs during the build process. The air-model assembly was made in the small aircraft laboratory at ITA where students had the first contact at institute with materials, structures and tools that involves the aeronautical design. The air-model performs its flight in a unique trim condition showing the concept of equilibrium in flight dynamics. In addition, materials are added as extension on air-model to increase aspect ratio and stabilizing surfaces in order to present geometric variation effects on aerodynamic design. All details of the implementation of this interdisciplinary knowledge package will be shown in the full paper.