Missiles and Space Committee Meeting Review

The Missiles and Space committee of Standards and Practices held its first meeting outside of the international conference of any recent memory. This meeting was open to all SAWE members with an interest in Missile and Space committee activities and despite the rather short notice, we were happy to end up with a very well attended session, including European attendees. There was primarily discussion of the Recommended Practices (RPs) that Missiles and Space controls: RP A-6, Coordinate Systems; RP 9 and RP 10 Weight and Balance Control and Forms for Guided Missiles; and RP-16, Mass Properties Measurement. But the main takeaway was that if you have questions, comments, inputs about any Recommended Practices or anything Standards & Practices is responsible for, an email to standards@sawe.org will get your concern forwarded to the right person.

More informative meeting minutes and charts can be found at GroupOffice in the folder projects2/Standards and Practices/IC – Missiles & Space/Other Meetings. The next quarterly Missiles and Space meeting is planned for Friday, May 21st.

Thanks again to all that attended

Upcoming SAWE Workshop!

UPCOMING SAWE WORKSHOP: January 29th, 10:00 – 11:00 am CST

Do you feel there are “Mass Properties 101” basics that every Mass Properties engineer should be knowledgeable about regardless of industry?
The SAWE Mass Properties Engineer Certification Committee is hosting an exam question brainstorming workshop where you can help shape the questions included on an Associate-Level Certified Mass Properties Engineer exam.  This exam will be non-industry specific, and will be geared toward members who have either a Bachelor’s degree and 2 years of experience OR 5 years of applicable MPE experience.

The workshop will be virtual with breakout “rooms” for different Mass Properties topics.

Not only is this an opportunity to help shape the knowledge base required for future Certified Mass Properties Engineers, this is also an opportunity to get to know your mass properties colleagues in an interactive setting.

If you are unable to attend the workshop but still want to submit questions, please submit them to Anjie.L.Emmett@NASA.gov

Keep an eye out for emails and updated blog posts on how to sign up!

The facilitators will send out topics, an agenda, and materials on January 20th.

Persuading Leaders and Peers of the Value of Mass Properties

The SAWE has been holding virtual forums using Zoom since the Tech Fair on various mass properties topics.  We are now in the initial phases of creating the third on the series.  The topic will be Persuading Leaders and Peers of the Value of Mass Properties, which will be presented on Friday, January 15th.  Nominally, we are looking for the Forum to run for an hour and a half starting at 9:00 AM MST (11:00 AM EST).

This forum will be somewhat different than previous forums in the following way – rather than a Forum leader and a host for the meeting, there will be a forum host and a panel of mass properties experts, who have now moved on to other positions in their organizations. We have identified people who have moved up to group lead and then to higher management levels, people who have risen to lead mass properties groups, people who oversee mass properties, and people who have experienced both well run and poorly run mass properties organizations.  Each have a tale to tell.

What we envision is  supplying a short PowerPoint template for each panelist to use to expound on their “secret sauce” on how to enable a well functioning mass properties effort, and more importantly, what the overall value of having such an organization (which could even be a single person) is to their group, company, and nation.  Each panelist will have a short period of time (approximately 3-4 minutes) to present their case.  After all the panelists have spoken, we will open up the floor for our audience to comment, ask questions, and discuss what they have just witnessed.  Then there we will conduct a short wrap-up with the opportunity for discussions to continue off-line.

Be on the look out for more information as the details are finalized, but now is the time to get this on your calendar to make sure you are part of this great virtual forum!

Give us Your Best Engineering Joke!

One thing I think everyone can agree on:  it has been a heck of a year, and everyone could use a bit of comic relief. 

So, for the Winter 2021 issue of “Weight Engineering”, we will be featuring a selection of favorite engineering jokes from the membership!  Please send your submissions to me at nmarickovich@gmail.com.  Along with the funny stuff, please send your name, SAWE chapter, and (if you’d like) a picture of yourself and why you find the joke meaningful to you. 

Please get your submissions in by 1/10/21 to be considered.  You can type your joke up in an email or send an MS Word or PDF file.  And let’s keep it classy folks:  jokes considered racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive will not be published.  Should not be a problem from such a fine bunch of Mass Properties Professionals such as yourselves!  Jokes at management’s expense would be considered par for the course, naturally. 

Thank you for your continued support of the SAWE through these challenging times. 

Nick Marickovich, VP Publications

Questions Anyone? MPE Certification Committee needs help!

The Mass Properties Engineering (MPE) Certification Committee is seeking help from SAWE members to formulate questions for the Associate-Level MPE exam.  This exam will be non-industry specific, and will be geared toward members who have either a Bachelor’s degree and 2 years of experience OR 5 years of applicable MPE experience.  The committee is building a repository of questions spanning various facets of mass properties engineering from which to pull exam content.

The multiple choice questions will cover topics such as:

  • Experience
  • Safety
  • Leadership
  • MPE Fundamentals
    • Design Development
    • Validation
    • Verification
    • MP Measurement
    • Design of Fixtures
    • Customer and Contract Requirements
  • Engineering Knowledge
    • MP Engineering Knowledge
    • Systems Engineering Knowledge
    • Sub System Engineering Knowledge
    • Fundamentals
  • Process
  • Systems
  • Software
  • Analysis
  • Reporting

References from which to pull questions may include but are not limited to:

  • The Weight Engineers’ Handbook
  • Introduction to Aircraft Weight Engineering Textbook
  • Marine Vehicles Weight Engineering Textbook
  • SAWE Papers

Please submit your questions, along with the multiple choice options  and answers, to Anjie Emmett at Anjie.l.emmett@nasa.gov or Dirk Petersen at dirk.petersen@gmx.net.  Your help will ensure that our unique knowledge and critical discipline and continue to thrive!

Virtual Training Classes – Register Now!

We are two weeks out from our first Fall Training weekend! The classes being held October 23-24 are Developing Basic Parametric Methods & Ship Inclining Experiment. It is not too late to sign up! Classes will be held via zoom from 10:00am – 2:00 PM Eastern Time both days.

Developing Basic Parametric Methods – Instructor: Andy Walker

Have you ever been asked to predict the future? With a little information, you can explore the solution-space around the problems you encounter on the job as a Mass Properties engineer.
The course will cover:
• Parametric estimation and rapid aircraft mass properties assessments.
• Feasibility studies on detail design projects
• Conceptual trade studies based on very limited information
• Quantify predictive and descriptive uncertainty around your predictions
• Calculate the benefits of next-generation technologies
Agenda items will include basic statistical terminology, statistical correlation processes, parametric estimation pitfalls, and a parametric fighter aircraft wing weight correlation example.

Ship Inclining Experiment – Instructor: William A. Fox

This class will discuss the inclining of a vessel in order to determine its displacement (weight) and centers of gravity. The primary emphasis will be on inclining in water, but inclining in air will also be covered. The theory, procedure, and results of inclining will be discussed. Students will view a recording of an actual Ship Inclining Experiment, narrated by the Instructor (the Director’s Cut).
The objectives of the class are to provide the student with an introduction to the principles of naval architecture and to marine terminology, and to discuss and demonstrate the inclining of a vessel to determine its weight and center of gravity. ASTM F 1321-90, Standard Guide for Conducting a Stability Test, will be used as a text for this class. After a brief introduction to the principles of naval architecture, the theory and purpose of the inclining experiment will be presented. The lightweight survey will be described and then the inclining experiment itself will be discussed. Preparations required aboard the vessel and ashore will be described, and plans and equipment required will be discussed and demonstrated. Inclining procedures, data, and calculations will be reviewed and examples from an actual inclining will be examined in detail. Troubleshooting the results of the inclining, and matters of bias and accuracy, will be covered. Inclining of a small vessel in air will be discussed.

Registration link: https://www.sawe.org/registration/

Opportunities to ENERGIZE YOUR SAWE

Technical Forum is this Friday! Sep 25th.  Whidy Kiskunas will be leading the discussion on Vendor Weight Control. Get the Forum Zoom meeting link by selecting the Forum link on the sawe.org home page (upper right under Upcoming Events).  Perhaps there’s a topic you’d like discussed in an upcoming forum?  Please submit it to VP Technical, Robert Zimmerman.

Training Courses are coming your way in October, November, and December.  Registration and announcement details will be released this week by VP Training, Dan Rowley and his team. 

The following courses are available:

Automated Weight and Balance System (AWBS) by Harold Smoot

Fundamental Concepts of Mass Properties Management and Control of Military Aircraft and Aircraft Weight Estimating (RP-7 and RP-8A) by Paul Kachurak

Developing Basic Parametric Methods by Andy Walker

Structural Weight Optimization for Mass Properties Engineers by Raj Bishnoi

Ship Inclining Experiment by Bill Fox

Aircraft Fuel System Calibration and Verification by Rod Van Dyk

Introduction to Marine Weight Engineering by Dominic Cimino

The Certification Development committee needs your help gathering questions for the exams.  Please submit your suggested questions to CMPE@sawe.org.  Chairman, Andy Schuster and his team are busily building these key elements of the program.

Your SAWE is working hard to fulfill our mission of delivering opportunities for technical growth of mass properties engineers.  I encourage your participation.


John Hargrave

SAWE President

SAWE Virtual Training Opportunities – Save the Dates!!

SAWE is offering several important Training courses opportunities between Now and the End of 2020.  These are online courses, similar to the Tech Fair and Training.  Training instructors will come to you via Zoom.

Courses will be offered in 4 Hour Sessions on the following Friday / Saturday weekends:

October 23 and 24

November 13 and 14

December 11 and 12

Courses will be offered as either Four Hour Classes or Eight Hour Classes (two Four Hour Sessions on consecutive days) on the above dates.  Class Time will be 7:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific Time / 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Eastern Time / 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM Central European Time.  Note that AWBS is in 2-5 hour sessions.  
The Course Schedule is still being finalized, but we can confirm that the following courses will be offered:

AWBS (Automated Weight and Balance System): Instructor, Harold Smoot – 10 Hour Class over Two Days of 5 hours per session

Developing Basic Parametric Methods: Instructor Andy Walker – 8 Hour Class over Two Days of 4 hours per session

Ship Inclining Experiment: Instructor, Bill Fox – 8 Hour Class over Two Days of 4 hours per session

Marine Vehicle Weight Estimating Methodology: David Hansch – 8 Hour Class over Two Days of 4 hours per session

Structural Weight Optimization for Mass Properties Engineers: Raj Bishnoi – 8 Hour Class over Two Days of 4 hours per session

Fundamental Concepts of SAWE RP7 and RP8 for Military Aircraft: Paul Kachurak – 8 Hour Class over Two Days of 4 hours per session

Introduction to Marine Weight Engineering for Non-Naval Architects: Dominic Cimino – 4 Hour Class in a 1 day session

Aircraft Fuel System Calibration and Verification: Rod Van Dyke – 4 Hour Class in a 1 day session

For full description of each course visit: https://www.sawe.org/conference_training

Please Watch the SAWE Blog, www.sawe.org/blog, and your SAWE emails for further details and pricing as they are confirmed.

Respectfully submitted,
Dan Rowley

SAWE Vice President, Training

Florida Space Coast Regional Cancelled

Recently, SAWE leadership met with Florida Space Coast Conference Chair, Pat Brown, to discuss the upcoming Regional Conference and Planning Meeting in October 2020. With an abundance of caution amid the ongoing Corona Virus pandemic and with cases and overall numbers in Florida not abating, we have decided to cancel the SAWE Regional Conference scheduled for 15-18 October.

The Planning Meeting will be moved one day to provide better scheduling with the local committee. A virtual Planning Meeting will be conducted on Friday, 16 October 2020. Agenda will be distributed to International Officers and local Committee shortly.

Virtual technical sessions will be discussed in the upcoming weeks. Virtual training will be considered for those courses that lend themselves best to that environment and aligned with the needs of the Florida Space Coast Chapter.

Update from the President

Your SAWE has been very busy and I’d like to share about several topics that I hope will excite and encourage your participation.  SAWE continues to be actively engaged in all aspects of our mission to provide technical support, industry guidance, training, and knowledge exchange.  If you’re not already involved, you need to get involved.  It will enhance your career and open new opportunities for learning, leadership, and development.

Developing The “New Normal” for SAWE

What is the new normal for SAWE?  Since I became a member in 1981, SAWE has had a model for international conferences, regional conferences, training, chapter meetings, and Board of Director’s meetings that has worked pretty well and hasn’t changed very much.  However, this year we were forced to make changes and hold events virtually.  While we were initially very nervous, apprehensive, and skeptical – it has worked well.  The TECH Fair and Training event experience provided a significant learning opportunity for enhanced capabilities and outreach.

Therefore we are considering new models for our activities.  Some of these will be temporary for the pandemic.  And some of them show promise for the long term.  These new models, based on online attendance, make it easier and more affordable to participate.

Energizing SAWE with Virtual Events

  • Standards and Practices workshops

Our industry committees will be meeting online several times during the year.  Typical agenda items are: developing new Recommended Practices (RP’s), review and update of existing RP’s, forum discussion of technical issues, and other industry guidance topics.  VP Standards and Practices, Doug Fisher, continues to facilitate progress on these vital committees’ work.

  • Technical Forums

This will be a new a new activity consisting of several online forum discussions.  VP Technical, Robert Zimmerman, needs your input for topics to discuss.  These forums will be about 1 hour long and scheduled throughout the rest of the year (thru May).  Your participation is required to make these forums a success.  So submit topics to Robert and look forward to the exchange of ideas with colleagues from across SAWE.

  • Training Courses

We will be offering several online training courses throughout the remainder of the year.  This worked well during the TECH Fair and want to ensure additional opportunities for training in the mass properties community.   Our instructors have adapted very well to this virtual environment and it is much easier for students to attend.  Not every course lends itself to the virtual version, but most of them are adaptable.  Be on the lookout for these opportunities and VP Training, Dan Rowley, schedules these training courses.

  • Certification Development workshops

We will hold a couple of online workshops for SAWE members to get an update on the status of the Certification Program development and to provide their feedback.  As our Certification Development committee progresses, we want to ensure that everyone gets a chance for input.  And we want to ensure that the program is well understood by mass properties certification candidates, companies that will sponsor employees to get certified, and the customer community anticipating qualification credentials.  These workshops will be facilitated by Certification chair, Andy Schuster.

  • Academic Advisor and Liaison development discussions

SAWE’s VP Academic Affairs, Dr. Donna Gerren, has implemented a program to increase student involvement in SAWE by creating direct links between chapters (Academic Liaisons) and universities (Academic Advisors).  There will be regular online meetings to discuss activities, opportunities, and brainstorm ideas as this innovative concept takes flight.

  • Happy Hours, a series

One of the opportunities at a conference is the informal Happy Hour.  Many relationships and even some useful work have been built during enjoyable conversation.  Happy hours were requested during the TECH Fair and we had several.  We found out that online happy hours work!  So we will be scheduling some regular happy hours for everyone to link in and visit.  It’s a great way to catch up with each other as well as meet some new folks.  Also, we learn more about each other’s background, hobbies, etc.  The Zoom tool has a feature called breakout rooms, so if a few folks want to talk aside from the big group, it’s possible.

Although “it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere”, we’ll schedule happy hours that are convenient for a few key time zones.

  • Shared Chapter Meetings

Chapter meetings are very important to SAWE membership.  This is where leadership and involvement in the organization usually begins.  Locally it is a great way to keep up with colleagues in your area and work on projects together.

The concept of shared chapter meetings mixes an online presentation to several chapters with separate chapter meetings in breakout rooms.  Since chapters cannot physically meet together, this is a great way to combine the program as well as have your separate meeting.

TECH Fair and Training: post conference report


Registration for the TECH Fair was about 120.  Attendance in each session ranged from 70-100.  Workshop attendance was higher than usual with the Military Aircraft session as high as 60.  Training enrollment was very good with AWBS topping the list at 47.  The Marine Estimation course was cancelled, however, due to only one person enrolled.  (we’ll be offering it again soon and try to get adequate enrollment for this very valuable course).


Each year SAWE’s International conference provides a substantial revenue stream for our yearly budget.  The TECH Fair and Training event raised much needed revenue toward replacing the cancelled Hamburg conference.  Independently the financial results were very good.  But with expenses of the cancelled conference, it fell a bit short.

General feedback:

Response from registrants of the TECH Fair and Training event has been overall very positive.  Folks liked the partial day schedule so that they were able to integrate it into their work day.  In addition, training budget was much more efficient and many companies were able to “send” their whole mass properties group.  Of course time wise, without need for travel, this virtual conference saved a lot of money and time.

Impact on the future:

This event was conducted out of necessity and was a significant challenge for the planning team to emulate the events and results of an in person conference with a virtual conference.  It was totally experimental.  The results are that we discovered opportunities and capabilities that can be very beneficial.  Especially as we define the “new normal”.

TECH Fair and Training planning committee team:

I want to thank the small team of dedicated SAWE members for pulling together the first SAWE virtual conference in such a short time and such a professional manner.  This effort was executed in about 2 months with no prior experience.  Every aspect of our regular conference was included (except handshakes).

President’s Priorities for 2020-2021 as presented at the Board of Director’s meeting May 23rd

  • Grow SAWE membership and participation
  • Successful SAWE TECH Fair and Training (virtual conference)
  • Training program continue to develop new courses and instructors
  • Cocoa Beach Conference, ensure it is a success
  • Academic Liaison Initiative – nurture and develop
  • Continue communication and workshopping activities
  • Mass Properties Engineer Certification – mature program development
  • Hamburg Conference contract cancellation – follow up
  • Develop additional ANSI accredited Recommended Practices

Best regards to all,

John Hargrave

SAWE President