3 years ago I was working with Avcen Limited on designing the flaps for air taxi aircraft named Jetpod. The company and design team is directed by Mike Dacre, BA Aviation, M.Sc. Air Transport Management from London's City University School of Aerospace Engineering. Mike is an experienced military and commercial jet/turbo fixed-and-rotary wing pilot with many years in STOL operations, inner-city air transportation, and running aviation logistics businesses.
For those of you who is not familiar with the aviation terms; air taxi is referring to an aircraft with an ability to take off and landing in short distances while flap is referring to the hinged surfaces on the trailing edge of the wing *yang nampak gerak2 masa nak take off dan landing tu*.
At that time, the aircraft was still in its definition phase and designing even the small thing on the wings known as flap was not easy job. I have to choose the best flap for this VQSTOL (Very Quiet Short Take-off and Landing) aircraft. It took me almost 1 month to analyze the best type of flap suitable for Jetpod among the selections of single slotted flap, double slotted flap, plain flap, split flap, fowler flap, krueger flap and etc. I have to put into account that the light twin-jet aircraft requires just 125 metres to take-off or land. After the selection process, comes the design process where I struggled with my CATIA drawings to make sure that the flap can be attached to the wing and is able to be run under Finite Element Method (FEM) software *masa ni memang sangat2 tertekan sampai terpaksa tidur kat ofis semata2 nak siapkan drawings*.
(designer drawings of Avcen Jetpod)
The burden of working even only as a part time design engineer for this aircraft almost kills my passion into airplane. I believe my decision to continue my master studies after 3 months working there is the best decision at the moment. Now, 3 years has passes by...I am not even sure that my preliminary design of the flap is the one attached on the newly assembled Jetpod.
Yesterday was supposed to be the happiest day in the Avcen Jetpod team as Mike decided to make the first flight test on the 8-seater flying taxi before it will be officially launched in 2010. However, the supposed to be a happy news turns to be the most shocking sad news to the whole team when the newly-assembled aircraft Jetpod, crashed and burst into a ball of fire during a test flight from Tekah airstrip near Taiping, killing its inventor Michael Robert Dacre, 53, who was piloting the aircraft on his own.
(foto credit : mstar online)
Shocked, stunned, speechless, surprised, horrify, daze ... those mixed of feelings blow out of the water when I heard the news from my friend, Zie and also upon watching the news at Buletin Utama TV3 last night. It made hubby wonder what it has to do with me as I'm not working with the company anymore. Though there are some bitter moment that I've experienced with the management team during those hard time of its definition phase, deep down in my heart I really wanted to see Avcen Jetpod fly into the air and at least I can be proud that I am one of the pioneer team for this supposed to be the first aircraft designed by Malaysian young engineers with the idea originated from
As this incident occured, I was thinking what will happened to some of my colleagues who's working with Avcen right now?. I also wonder how sad will it be to Mike's family in UK when they found out about this news? . Most of all, I really wanted to know what has go wrong to the aircraft that lead to this disaster after took off into the air and sailing at about 200 meters high, that made it shot vertically to the sky before veering to its left and then falling to the ground . I guess I have to wait for the "Air crash investigation team" to carry out their duty. For the mean time, all I can say to Mike's family is that I am truly sorry for your lost and may the love of those around you help you through the days ahead.......R.I.P Mike.
** News about this is available at : the star, mstar.
Psssssttt: Lagi satu shocking news gak kat berita malam tadi bila Ustaz Akhil Hayy dan pun selamat bernikah dengan Waheeda pagi semalam...... huhuhuhuh....*speechless*