Expert Perspective

What Design Build Fly Means to Me

By Kent Irick

For the past few months I have been working with Exploration staff as an aviation industry adviser on this all-new permanent exhibit. I’ve been a part of countless meetings, reviewed content for exhibit signs and gave feedback about education programs tied to the exhibit.

It has been an honor to be part of this massive project, as aviation is at the heart of our community and this exhibit aims to shine a light on the extensive work involved when an aircraft is produced. Design Build Fly is an illustration of the mechanical aspect and broad range of skills within the aviation industry. We hope you will walk away with a substantial taste of the industry.

I know first-hand, as I started at an entry level mechanics position with Cessna Aircraft Company (which is now part of Textron) nearly 40 years ago. And I was a dean at Wichita Area Technical College, where I retired as Technical Training Manager. Throughout those years, I had the privilege to experience many aspects of the industry.

I have always been captivated by the mechanical aspect of the structure and mechanisms within the aircraft, all working in unison to achieve flight. Realizing also that it is the dedicated and talented people behind the structure and mechanisms that make it all possible. These individuals, no matter what their skill set, all come together to a common goal of delivering the quality product.

My hope is that Design Build Fly will illuminate the pride and dedication of these people and at the same time spark an interest in those who might follow and lead the industry into the future. Who knows, you may walk away inspired – will you be that next engineer, manufacturer or pilot?

Kent Irick
Design Build Fly, Aviation Consultant

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