By: Deborah Cameron
Director of Aerospace Initiatives
SC Council on Competitiveness
My husband Mark Russell, president and chief engineer at Engineering Design & Testing, and I hosted members of the South Carolina Chapter of AIAA in November. The group visited our hangar at Hamilton-Owens Airport in Columbia and checked-out the RV-10 project we are building. Mark led the group through a typical pre-flight check on our existing single engine plane (a T-18) and then discussed our build project. The group also practiced setting several types of rivets.
Two other airplane builders and restorers showed their projects, a RV-8 and a CUB. A pizza lunch was provided and the students interacted with members of EAA Chapter 142, practiced on the simulator and reviewed aeronautical chart maps.
Mark has long-standing passion for working with young people. While we have been building our plane, two engineering students from USC have assisted him with different phases of the project. Abigail is a freshman mechanical engineering student from Maryland who knows her way around hand tools and has a passion for 3-D printing. Eric is a freshman civil engineering student from Columbia. Abigail and Eric have each gained some hands-on experience while helping with the project.
We have been working on our plane for over a year now and hope to have it completed by the end of 2017. While Mark has spent endless hours, I have helped when needed and picked up a few skills myself. I now know more than I ever thought I would about riveting – the plane has over 12,000 of them! We are looking forward to some longer trips and traveling with our dogs. We have even decided to name our next two dogs Cleco and Rivet!