George Moraru, a test engineer at Hypervelocity Wind Tunnel 9, an AEDC site located at White Oak near Silver Spring, Maryland, was selected to speak at the International Test and Evaluation Association (ITEA) conference about his experiences as a young engineer working in the field of hypersonic technology. Moraru spoke as part of the ‘Young Guns and Old Guards’ panel on October 6, at the ITEA symposium.
Moraru is a graduate of the Palace Acquire (PAQ) program, which readies engineering students for future careers in T&E. Early workforce development and his own personal story about how he first began working at Tunnel 9 featured in his speech.
“I was a targeted hire through the Air Force Palace Acquire program while I was pursuing a Master’s Degree in the area of hypersonic boundary layer transition under the guidance of Dr Steven Schneider at Purdue University,” Moraru said. “The leaders at Tunnel 9 specifically sought out a future employee with knowledge in an area critical to the success of future hypersonic systems.”
It was the PAQ program that made it possible for Moraru to achieve valuable on-the-job knowledge at Tunnel 9 while completing his master’s degree working on relevant problems and technologies, and then return as a fully-prepared test engineer ready to tackle the challenging workload.
“I think such programs are vital to the development of the next generation of T&E workforce,” Moraru said. “With the current workforce aging, it is important to bring young, smart, motivated engineers into the T&E community and ensure an adequate training overlap in order to minimize knowledge gaps.”
Moraru said he’s been fortunate to become part of the team at AEDC Tunnel 9 and have the opportunity to work on exciting, cutting-edge technologies.
“Two of the programs I worked on were highly successful Test Resource Management Center High Speed Systems Test Technology-funded tests at Mach 10 and 14 with the goal of obtaining physics-rich datasets and analyses toward improving the understanding of hypersonic boundary-layer transition and validating new modeling and simulation tools. The success of both programs relied upon extensive collaborative efforts between the T&E community, industry and academia.
“As the hypersonic community moves toward the mindset of an acquisition program, I believe it’s critical to obtain and implement complex physics-based knowledge to ensure system success. This will require successful integration and collaboration of the T&E and S&T [science and technology] communities in order to identify, develop and implement the technologies that will enable us to obtain the required datasets to ensure the success of our future hypersonic systems.”
Tunnel 9 technical director John Lafferty spoke highly of the PAQ program for enabling Tunnel 9 to hire Moraru prior to the completion of his graduate studies and focus his research on a test and test data of mutual interest to AEDC Tunnel 9 and his advisor at Purdue University: “This was a win-win for everyone involved.”
Lafferty added that Moraru dove head-on into the testing environment, working in boundary layer transition, and showed promise from the very beginning.
“George was thrust into a situation where he was asked to run a test that was funded by the CoTE (Center of Testing Excellence) program at Tunnel 9 at a very early stage,” Lafferty said. “He has performed extraordinarily well and by the end of his time in the PAQ program he has become a fully qualified test engineer. Again, a win for all involved.”
Dan Marren, Tunnel 9 site director, echoed the same sentiments as Lafferty regarding Moraru’s enthusiasm: “George has shown aptitude to tackle this challenging area, drive to learn and poise to present at this level in only his fourth month as a full-time employee at Tunnel 9.”
Marren noted that Moraru’s success is a “pure AEDC success story” and thanked several others for having a hand in using the PAQ program as a recruiting tool.
“Kudos to Tom Sizemore and our extremely talented DP [Personnel Division] team for helping to identify an acquisition strategy for new talent,” Marren said. “Kudos to John Lafferty and Eric Marineau for creating an atmosphere of skills development and finding world-class partners to help develop our skills. Kudos to Joe Coblish for helping to develop the testing skills for a new journeyman engineer to execute a complete test project in his first year! And kudos to the Hypersonic Center of Testing Excellence team for identifying funding and advocacy for such efforts to flourish.
“Once again I am truly humbled by and excited to be associated with this fine team and claim unearned credit for their success.”
November 9, 2016