Authors: Russell M. Cummings
Addresses: Department of Aeronautics, US Air Force Academy, USAF Academy, CO, 80840, USA
Abstract: In a quarter century of teaching aerodynamics, I have seen incredible changes in our collective educational approach. Previously, there were time honoured theories, very few textbooks, dated but interesting movies showing fluid flows, and relatively straight-forward experiments to reinforce a few concepts. Currently, a wealth of information is available to the aerodynamics educator, including those same theories, a number of excellent textbooks, a wide spectrum of computational aerodynamics codes and associated multimedia visualisations, and ever-improving experimental approaches for measuring and visualising fluid flows. An important question remains, however, and that is whether all of these changes have led to students who understand aerodynamics any better than they did decades ago. While empirical data may not be available to answer that question, this paper will delve into the difficult concepts contained in aerodynamics, and lead to the conclusion that effective aerodynamics education requires an integrated, broad approach based in fundamentals that takes full advantage of a variety of approaches in order to most effectively educate students. Hopefully, we will come to a better understanding of the answer to the question, 'what do our students need to know about aerodynamics, and when do they need to know it?'
Keywords: engineering education; aerodynamics education; computational fluid dynamics; CFD; computational tools.
International Journal of Aerodynamics, 2014 Vol.4 No.3/4, pp.175 - 199
Available online: 20 Feb 2015 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article