Before you attempt to build a first-rate helicopter flight simulator, it helps to know how it feels to fly a real one. Recently, six students in Lehigh’s Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program (IBE) did both.
Real-world experiences — though perhaps not always as intense — lie at the heart of IBE, which seeks to prepare students for today’s corporate world. Offered jointly by the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Business and Economics, IBE integrates courses in business and engineering with additional requirements in mathematics, science, English, humanities and foreign language. The program offers a bachelor of science in integrated business and engineering.
A highlight of IBE is its two-semester, six-credit capstone design course, in which teams of students work with faculty mentors on the marketing, financial and economic planning, and technical and economic feasibility of new product concepts. The capstone projects provide students with challenging and memorable real-world experiences—including, in this case, literally taking flight.
During the first semester of their junior year, IBE students attend a capstone kickoff event that one student likens to corporate speed dating. After the capstone course’s corporate sponsors pitch open-ended projects for student development, students ask questions, consider their options, and list their preferences.
In the fall of 2013, Marty Melochick ’15, Brandyn Bok ’15, Tim Moulton ’15, Durlav Mudbhari ’15, Emily Jiang ’15, and Sheron Tang ’16 were assigned to a project sponsored by the American Helicopter Museum and the Boeing Co. Their task: to build the museum’s new flight simulator and create a business plan for it.
The American Helicopter Museum is located in West Chester, Pa., the birthplace of rotary flight. The museum was not operating its existing simulator, which was outdated and not user-friendly. Museum representatives wanted an appealing attraction and a business plan that would draw more visitors to the museum.
In February 2014, the IBE team visited the museum to meet with representatives from the museum and from Boeing, which provided funding for the IBE team. Together they discussed how they might develop a sustainable simulator within one year.
“This project seemed very free,” says Moulton. “Some other projects had a directive already, and when we talked to the Boeing group, it seemed like they were really letting us take control of the project.”
Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.
-Kelly Hochbein is a writer with Lehigh University Media Relations.