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AEDC holds DOE introductory class for engineers
Jerry Kitchen, technical director for the Science of Test Engineering and Technical Management Office, provides opening remarks and introduces the class to the instructor of AEDC’s second DOE introductory course, held at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. (Photo by Philip Lorenz III)
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AEDC holds DOE introductory class for engineers

Posted 6/30/2011   Updated 6/30/2011 Email story   Print story


by Philip Lorenz III

6/30/2011 - ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- AEDC recently held a two-day design of experiments (DOE) introductory course at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) for 20 of the center's engineers.

Jerry Kitchen, technical director for the Science of Test Engineering and Technical Management Office, said this course was the next logical step in bringing AEDC's engineering work force up to speed on the statistics' based approach to ground testing.

AEDC hosted the first DOE introductory course in 2008.

Kitchen and Michael Schlieder, AEDC's director of engineering and technical management, initiated the course and enlisted Dr. Jim Wisnoski to be the instructor.

Dr. Wisnoski, a principal consultant at Adsurgo, LLC, in Denver, retired from the Air Force after 20 years in various roles conducting, training and leading analytical efforts for the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, USAF Academy, Air Education and Training Center and the Joint Staff.

"The Design of Experiments short course provided was out of AFMC funding for the Science of Test through the Air Force Institute of Technology Center for Operational Analysis whereby the Air Force is using a variety of analytical methods to improve test throughout the lifecycle of weapon systems," he said. "Mr. Greg Hutto teaches similar courses primarily at Eglin AFB with Dr. Jim Simpson. These two individuals are widely recognized as top Design of Experiments practitioners in the Department of Defense."

Jeremy Morris, an ATA project engineer, said he didn't hesitate when his manager suggested he attend the DOE seminar.

Morris, a former GE (General Electric) Aircraft Engines employee, said he was convinced of the importance of DOE's principles early in his career.

"Many of the Six Sigma processes adhered to at GE go hand-in-hand with DOE," he said.

"As a person actively involved in propulsion test planning and execution, I hoped the course would provide some new techniques to maximize efficiency while providing higher fidelity test results to our sponsor."

Tyler Neale, a test project manager at the Propulsion Wind Tunnel Ground Test Complex, said the decision to take the class made sense.

"I attended the class to get a brief background and overall understanding of DOE and how it can be applied on the job," he said. "DOE has the potential to allow testers to realize substantial savings in both time and money. In today's world of demanding efficiency, DOE could be used to reduce spending on testing while still obtaining a sufficient and necessary amount of data.

"However, based on my limited knowledge of DOE processes, I do see limitations with applying this technique to wind tunnel testing in particular. Changing flow conditions - Mach number, humidity, density, etc. - across a large spectrum frequently to obtain the test points determined through DOE processes may not be efficient. The lower number of test points may be offset by the higher cost of constantly changing conditions. Nevertheless, I do think sufficient up-front planning could help mitigate this limitation."

Dr. Wisnoski led the students in a practical demonstration of DOE on the second day.

"The paper helicopter experiment was an outstanding way to quickly see how DOE can be confidently applied to a test," Neale said. "While this was a very simple and rudimentary test, the underlying principles that can be applied to real-world testing were certainly seen. It is always useful to see something hands-on to supplement lecture."

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