Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



MILTECH
Committed to safety - flight test engineer Ina Niewind

For Ina Niewind, a small dream was fulfilled in March 2011 when she was allowed to join the pilot during flight tests of an F-4F Phantom II. "That is something very different from sitting in a transport aircraft. The clouds looked almost close enough to touch," says Niewind. For part of the flight, she flew the plane herself, including loops and steeply banked turns. In the process, she experienced gravitational acceleration several times. Credit: DLR
by Lena Fuhrmann
Bonn, Germnay (SPX) May 25, 2011
While pilots at the controls of an F-4F Phantom II or Eurofighter conduct test flights at altitudes of several thousand metres, their 'client' stands on the ground below; extremely concentrated, Ina Niewind scrutinises the display screens and flight charts, speaks with the pilots and checks altitude, speed and other data. The events taking place in the sky would not be possible without her.

At 30 years of age, Ina works in a profession where women are still all underrepresented. As a flight test engineer at the German Aerospace Center, Niewind ensures that aircraft will be able to operate even more safely in the future. She prepares flight tests, defines the test plans, reviews the responses of the aircraft and the reactions of the pilot, and, afterwards, carefully evaluates the results.

Ina Niewind has been in charge of the DLR Institute of Flight Systems field office at Manching, near Ingolstadt in southern Germany for the past year; the Institute is responsible for supporting German Armed Forces engineers in the evaluation of aircraft. Together with a handful of colleagues, Niewind works for the branch of the Defence Engineering Services (Wehrtechnische Dienststellen; WTD) that is responsible for airworthiness testing and certification of aeronautical equipment for the German Armed Forces, known as WTD 61.

The Bundeswehr Technical and Airworthiness Center for Aircraft (Wehrtechnische Dienststelle fur Luftfahrzeuge - Musterprufwesen fur Luftfahrtgerat der Bundeswehr), as WTD 61 is formally called, is part of the Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (Bundesamt fur Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung; BWB)

Jets are not the only aircraft tested by her; at the moment, she is working on the A400M transport aircraft. "Since the A400M hasn't been delivered yet we have to use its predecessor, the C-160 Transall, as a test subject instead," Ina explains. To do so, she went out testing the characteristics of Germany's soil for the first time.

The transport aircraft must be able to land on grass, so a suitable grass landing strip was needed; initial trials with the C-160 Transall were favourable, and tests with the A400M are now being planned. During flight tests with this transport aircraft, Niewind is often in the cockpit herself as there is substantially more room than in a jet. Being closer to what is happening, she can experience the effects of the tests first hand. "It is tremendously helpful to be on board the aircraft," she says.

Even when she was in school, Ina Niewind knew that she was interested in a mathematical or technical career. After obtaining her high school diploma - the German Abitur - she was sure that she would go on to study aerospace technology. A trainee placement in the flight-testing field sparked her interest in aviation. Nevertheless, Niewind's undergraduate dissertation was on the subject of unmanned aircraft, known as UAVs.

"Ironically, for my doctorate, I'm doing exactly the opposite; I am investigating pilots' behaviour in aircraft," says Niewind with a laugh. On completion of her undergraduate dissertation, she first worked at the Institute of Aerospace Systems at the Technische Universitat Braunschweig, but shortly after she started working for EADS, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company. She landed at DLR through a telephone call; at that moment, her former tutor was in charge of the DLR field office in Manching and wanted her in his team. Shortly after, Niewind joined DLR as a member of its scientific staff.

Simulator flights for the A400M
"Two months later, I was already supervising the first simulator campaign for the A400M," Ina recalls. The simulator is able to identify various manoeuvres on the ground that may give rise to problems in flight. Of course, the final confirmation must be delivered by the flight tests, but a great deal can be 'flown' on the simulator with no safety risk.

"Our job was to test in advance whether certain flight test techniques that had been established on highly manoeuvrable jets could be transferred to the A400M." Here, she worked with her colleagues at DLR Braunschweig, who programmed the simulator in accordance with her specifications. "The task could not be accomplished by one person alone; teamwork is very important," she says.

Niewind spent three days with the test pilots from WTD 61 in Braunschweig; they flew in virtual reality with very realistic flight characteristics. She was involved in the preparatory work and subsequent evaluation for a total of three months. Ina has now become the Project Manager for DLR activities associated with the A400M trials, as well as being involved in testing the Eurofighter and the F-4F. "The Eurofighter is a manoeuvrable jet while the A400M is a heavy transporter. Even though these two aircraft are very different they share a lot of common ground,' explains Niewind.

In 2009, she trained as a flight test engineer at the National Test Pilot School (NTPS) in the Californian Mojave desert. Back to school for four months, she attended lectures by experienced test pilots and former astronauts on the subject of flight test techniques. Here, budding flight test engineers learned things such as how to approach a runway correctly when landing an aircraft. Once the theory had been absorbed, the course switched to practical applications.

Teamed with a test pilot, Niewind put her newly acquired knowledge into practice during flight tests. Flight test engineer jobs are highly sought after. Alongside top scores in aerospace technology and satisfied employers, a little luck is also called for. Only a few people are given the opportunity by their employers to attend this expensive training course.

Not a job for the late riser
Ina Niewind's day is tightly scheduled. Flying is a profession for 'early birds'; she starts working at 06:30. "The first thing I do is check my emails. Besides the various campaigns I'm involved in I must also take care of a lot of organisational work or check reports," she explains. On average, Niewind takes a seat in the cockpit of the Transall every three or four weeks.

"Flying the transporter is charming in its own way - it is very much a shared group experience." In her capacity as flight engineer, she must check the many documents relating to the A400M that she receives from the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse. After a long day's work, she - naturally enough - is drawn back up into the air. Niewind has a pilot's licence for small aircraft but also enjoys simply being in the passenger seat, for example during aerobatics sessions. Once her feet are back on the ground, she engages in a great deal of sport and is enrolled in a Spanish at evening school 'because it is a beautiful language that I have always wanted to learn.' On top of it all, Ina is also working on her doctoral thesis.

What are her plans for the future? "I hope to have finished my doctorate within the next two years. My wish would also be to increase the size of the team at this site, which would enable us to provide support for more aircraft or helicopters. That aside, I am amazingly lucky to be working in my dream job." Another dream was fulfilled last March, when Niewind was allowed to join the pilot during the flight tests of an F-4F Phantom II.

"That is something very different from sitting in a transport aircraft. The clouds looked almost close enough to touch," she says. Ina was able to fly the aircraft herself, including performing loops and steeply banked turns, for part of the flight. In the process, she experienced gravitational acceleration several times. "My muscles really ached the next day," Niewind says, laughing.



Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
The latest in Military Technology for the 21st century at SpaceWar.com



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


MILTECH
First Lockheed Martin Advanced Block 50 F-16 Unveiled For Turkish Air Force
Ankara, Turkey (SPX) May 24, 2011
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Lockheed Martin unveiled the first of 30 new Turkish-built F-16s in ceremonies at TAI's facility near Ankara. Turkish officials at the event included the nation's Minister of National Defense, Vecdi Gonul; Undersecretary for Defense Industries Murad Bayar; Turkish Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Abidin Unal; General Manager of the Turkish Armed Forc ... read more







MILTECH
Russia plays down missile differences with US

Medvedev warns of Cold War over missile defence

Medvedev warns of Cold War over missile defence

Boeing to Begin Maintenance Work on SBX Missile Defense Radar

MILTECH
Israel to switch Hawks for David's Sling

China 'to target 1,800 missiles at Taiwan in 2012'

Ukraine seeks talks with Romania, US on missile shield

US Army's Apache fires first Hellfire missiles at sea

MILTECH
RAF Announces New Reaper Squadron

US Navy and Northrop Grumman-led UCAS-D Flight Test Team Honored Twice by USAF

Thousands protest against US drone attacks in Pakistan

Stratospheric UAV Payloads Provide New Ways to Chase Al Qaeda

MILTECH
Intelsat General To Support Armed Forces Radio And Television Service

Northrop Grumman Awarded Continuing Operation of Battlefield Airborne Communications Node Contract

ADTI Launches High Performance Antenna Arrays Protype Program

Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract to Develop EHF SatComms Antenna for B-2 Bomber

MILTECH
Lockheed Martin Responds To US Army's CIRCM Request For Proposal

Committed to safety - flight test engineer Ina Niewind

First Lockheed Martin Advanced Block 50 F-16 Unveiled For Turkish Air Force

More delays in Brazil jet fighter deal

MILTECH
Israeli 'spy' and Russia's arms secrets

US, European banks invest billions in cluster bombs: NGOs

US defense cuts mean 'hard decisions': Gates

US defense cuts mean 'hard decisions': Gates

MILTECH
Walker's World: Yes, we camp

US and Britain set up joint security body: reports

Russia to push restraint in Arab world, nuclear safety at G8

Tibetan leader warns India of China 'encirclement'

MILTECH
MLD Test Moves Navy A Step Closer To Lasers For Ship Self-Defense

US Navy And Northrop Grumman Accomplish Goals For At-Sea Demonstration Of Maritime Laser


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement