2018 SAWE Southwest Regional Conference

This conference was both more work and more fun than I expected. In late 2017 John Hargrave and Yi-Ling Tam from the LA chapter attended a meeting of the San Diego chapter and pitched the idea of putting on a regional conference in early 2018. Our San Diego chapter just restarted in 2017 – we have a small membership and only held a few meetings up to that time. “We can do this together!” John said. “It’ll be fun!” Yi-Ling said. “Ok, I’m in!” I said.

A little cheerleading and arm-twisting later, John and I are co-chairing weekly meetings of an enthusiastic conference committee. I’d never done anything like this before, so when I say “co-chairing” I mean I’m riding in John’s wake. In less than 8 weeks, our conference went off with barely a hiccup. I learned a lot and I’d probably do it again. In a few years.

The conference, hosted by the LA, San Diego and Mojave chapters was held March 8-10 at the Temecula Creek Inn in Temecula, California. The location was perfect – a small resort hotel in a beautiful area close to LA and San Diego. The food was great, the facilities and staff were excellent and the weather was lovely – other than raining on my golf game.

We had roughly 50 attendees split between the technical session and training class on Friday, and about two dozen people at training on Saturday. Most came from the local region, but some flew in from as far away as Europe. John tells me that is an excellent turnout for a regional.

The technical session chaired by John Nakai included seven technical presentations, four exhibitor presentations, and a panel discussion. I thought the panel discussion on cross-industry Standards and Practices hosted by Andy Shuster was informative and a welcome break from a day of lectures. Bill Boze and Clint Stephenson gave a tantalizing outbrief of their mass properties survey and they enlisted the whole audience in data mining. (You all took the survey, didn’t you? https://www.sawe.org/survey/) I thought the audience participation was a great way to drive interest and engagement with the topic. In a brief and touching speech, Megan Derrig put out a request for artifacts in remembrance of Jim Valentine, who had recently passed (megan.derrig@lmco.com). Finally, Errol Oguzhan invited us all to the 2018 international conference in Dallas – less than two months away!

Dan Rowley organized a generous training program. A class on the Automated Weight and Balance System (AWBS) was held by Harold Smoot on Friday. Two new classes were on Saturday: “Designing the Aircraft of the Future” with Andy Walker and Jerry Pierson, and “Materials and Mass Properties” with Victor Hillyard. Also on Saturday, a ShipWeight user’s session was held by Bruce Hays.

I’d like to thank our exhibitors Intercomp (who was also a sponsor), ShipWeight, Ensinger and i.e. Solutions, and our break sponsors Morf3D and Space Electronics for their generous support.

Many thanks to our hard-working conference committee, particularly to John Hargrave for keeping a steady hand on the tiller and to Ron Fox for being a great mentor.

Thanks also to the presenters and attendees. If you were an attendee I hope you were inspired to create and present a paper of your own next time. It may take some work, but it’s tremendously rewarding.

For those planning or considering a SAWE Regional Conference, here are some lessons learned from the conference committee:

The planning committee was in place and weekly teleconferences were held starting two months ahead of the conference date. That felt about the minimum amount of time to get everything done – but only because we stayed focused on the actions. Each meeting had an agenda and minutes with actions were taken. Webex or other live image sharing could have helped, but was not critical. Some committee members had difficulty communicating and sharing documents via email, possibly due to workplace firewalls. This could have been avoided with better use of Group-Office on the SAWE website.

We had good engagement from committee members and all had clear responsibilities. Committee members should be empowered to make decisions and recruit help from outside the committee as needed. Having two co-chairs to spread the load and Ron as mentor was a big help.

Ensure that all needed computers, projectors, screens, power cables, extension cords, data cables and data cable adapters (e.g. HDMI to VGA as needed) for all training, technical sessions and registration have been sourced and will work together. Consider making this the responsibility of an audio-video focal on the planning committee. We didn’t and had to scramble to recover.

The hotel facility in Temecula was the right location, the right size, had the right facilities and had good food and a great setting. Hotel staff was courteous and willing to work with us to make last-minute adjustments. An on-site visit to the facility during planning is a must.

Schedule training to start after the conference opening remarks. All attendees should have the opportunity to attend the opening.

Training instructors and the technical session host should arrive early for their class/ session to get the audio visual checked out, hooked up, and ready to go. Assume some adjustments will be required.

Use one computer to show all technical presentations. All presentations should be pre-loaded. Alternately, the computer should have a connection to SAWE Group-Office and all presentations uploaded to Group-Office (ensure that the hotel has an internet connection in the conference room). It couldn’t hurt to have all presentations both on the technical session host’s computer and in Group-Office, just to be sure. What if the host forgets his laptop?

Make sure that the scheduled times in Regonline, on the SAWE website announcement and in the program are accurate.

The committee discussed placing a tip jar in the hospitality suite to raise money for the scholarship fund. Nobody took the action and it was not done, but I think it’s a good idea for a future conference.

Apparently Regonline has a badge feature. We never noticed until after the conference. It may help future planners.

Use Regonline’s “aborted registration attempt” feature to identify people who tried to register but stopped before completion. They may need some help to sign up.

Getting exhibitors and sponsors takes a long time and is a group effort. Have a draft program to show potential exhibitors and sponsors so they can clearly understand what they are paying for.

Reach out to the International officers for advice and help.

Thank your exhibitors and sponsors, the host facility, conference committee and attendees!

Doug Fisher

New Chapter Arranged Training Policy

A new policy for Chapter Arranged Training as been produced.  This will be in the Operations Manual.  The purpose of this policy is to encourage local chapters to arrange and hold classes and to support the development of new classes. The Society encourages local SAWE chapters to utilize Training developed by the Society. Training is to be used as a resource to improve the local SAWE members’ technical abilities and also to be used to benefit the Chapter’s financial health. Since chapter arranged training can potentially incur a loss, or clash with International Conferences and On Site Training offerings, all chapter arranged training must be approved by the Vice President of Training in advance of a SAWE chapter marketing any class.  To read the full policy go to https://www.sawe.org/node/7636

Congratulations to the Peninsula Engineers Council 2018 Engineer of the Year – Jeff Cerro

We would like to congratulate Jeff Cerro on receiving the Peninsula Engineers Council 2018 Engineer of the Year.  Attached is a letter from SAWE President Bill Boze on behalf of the SAWE Executive Board.  We are proud as a society to have people like Jeff that go above and beyond every day, this award is very much deserved!

Jeff Cerro Congratulatory Letter

Standards & Practices Update

We are pleased to announce that RP A-11, Personnel Qualification Requirements Operational Weight and Balance Control for Military Aircraft, and RP A-13, Weighing Reconciliation Techniques for Military Aircraft, are being posted to the SAWE website.

RP O-1, Offshore Terminology, is awaiting final approval and will be posted to the website sometime in January.  It is the result of a series of 20+ meeting of members of the Offshore Industry Committee in Houston, TX.

A revised RP-8, Weight and Balance Data Reporting Forms for Aircraft (Including Rotorcraft and Air-Breathing Unmanned Vehicles), is awaiting final approval and will be posted to the website upon completion.

Project Proposals for RP M-4, Vendor Weight Control for the Marine Industry , and RP A-6, Standard Coordinate System for Reporting the Mass Properties of Flight Vehicles, to become ANSI-SAWE Standards have been posted as well.

More information on RP A-11: The purpose of this document is to provide a recommended set of requirements for qualifying civilian contractor personnel to perform weight and balance control activities/tasks on operational military aircraft. Those tasks include but are not limited to the completion of military aircraft weight and balance control system forms, the creation and maintenance of aircraft weight and balance handbooks, the creation and approval of aircraft weight and balance flight clearance forms and the actual measurement of the weight and balance (center-of-gravity) of military aircraft.

More information on RP A-13: The objective of this Recommended Practice is to document methods and practices that have proven effective in the reconciliation of significant differences between measured weight and balance values obtained from actual weighing measurements and predicted values. These proven methods are applicable to most military aircraft, including transport, fighter, and unmanned aircraft, and are applicable to weighings accomplished using a variety of measurement equipment including portable weighing platforms, permanently installed weighing platforms, and top-of-jack load cells. Procedures and calculations relating to applying measured data towards the end product of calculating Basic Weight and Center of Gravity are well established in other industry standards and are beyond the scope of this document. For example, it is not the intent of this RP to address the details of any aircraft’s weighing procedure, but rather to provide guidance on what to do if weighing results are significantly different from predicted.

More Information on RP O-1 : To insure consistency across all weight management documents, in a multinational and multicultural project such as an offshore oil industry project, a centralized Weight Management Definitions document has been created.  At the onset of each project, a similar, weight management specific, definitions document should be issued to clarify weight management terminology to be used on that project.  This document starts with weight management terms as defined in ISO 19901-5: 2003.  Additional terms commonly used for weight management but not defined by ISO are also defined herein and, to the extent possible, have been defined per their most common industry usage

As always, if you have any questions or wish to be involved in Standards and Practices please email standards@sawe.org

79th SAWE International Conference, 2020: Hamburg, Germany

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 International Conference will be held in Hamburg, Germany.

The SAWE Board of Director’s would like to thank the Central European Chapter for preparing their successful bid and we all look forward to a great conference!

Your next 3 conferences are:

77th SAWE International Conference: Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; May 5-10th, 2018

78th SAWE International Conference: Hampton Roads; 2019

79th SAWE International Conference: Hamburg, Germany; 2020

Effective Mass Properties Programs – Your Job is to Keep Me From Being Fired

Message from the SAWE President:

So what does it take to have an effective mass properties program?

Our society’s publications provide insights into the elements and mechanics, but organizational behavior is one element we barely address.  This is the first in a collection of stories from fellow mass properties engineers who want to share their most memorable experiences of a robust mass properties effort.  Take note over the course of these stories what the common denominator or behaviors were that led to a favorable outcome.

Your Job is to Keep Me From Being Fired 

Submitted by an Honorary Fellow of SAWE

After several years of study, a large aerospace company received the go-ahead to respond to an RFP for a class of rockets to be used as target vehicles for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to test various Ballistic Missile Defense weapons.  As a result of already being assigned to the missile defense group, a mass properties engineer found himself now working on multiple programs, including the new target vehicle program.

Of particular interest to the MDA was for the company to create a (relatively) inexpensive surrogate missile that would emulate a class of threat missiles with a longer range than SCUD-class missiles.  The company already had studied such a design, and proposed this to the customer, who accepted the proposal with one additional request.  Since the design was using existing mothballed assets to simulate this threat to keep the cost down, the design utilized solid rocket motors.  The threat class did not, and so the end-of-flight behavior of the motors would deviate significantly from the desired behavior, as non-volatile material could be unceremoniously and randomly ejected from the spent motor, imparting momentum to the stage.  A solution would be to spin up the stage, thereby pinning this non-volatile material in the stage and adding predictability to the missiles flight path, just like the threat vehicle it was supposed to emulate.

You can see where this is going – this is a huge mass properties nightmare in the making.  Spinning along the long axis is unstable, yet that is what is necessary to keep the vehicle going where you want it to.  The amount of “leftover” material in the motor is variable, as is its location, which affects CG, and more importantly, Products of Inertia.  Each test flight would have different equipment, meaning even if you could come up with a set design to keep the spin axis pointed correctly, this would have to be recalculated for each flight.  So, the mass properties engineer (MPE) had a real problem to work on when the go ahead to go for this class of threat targets was received.  And to complicate matters, as happens so often, a new management team came in. This was emplaced on top of the skeleton proposal management team, and the team started to hear about this new Program Manager, whose name we will call Oscar (not his real name), in unpleasant terms from those the MPE reported to, including the person who had been the proposal manager and now was reconfigured into the engineering manager.  He emerged from one high level meeting and stated, “I’ve been Oscarized!”  Soon, the whole team started hearing of others who had been Oscarized.  None looked particularly happy about it.

A week after the management insertion, when the MPE had introduced a possible solution to the variable product of inertia (POI) problem and was busy trying to get the design team to understand that the mechanism proposed had to be configurable right up until the payload was attached, the MPE received a call from Oscar’s secretary, saying that Oscar wanted to speak with him.  “Uh-oh, here comes my Oscarization,” he thought to himself.  The dreaded “BOHICA” that had been the talk 20+ years earlier.  Nevertheless, he prepared for the one-on-one with Oscar, set for 10AM the following morning.  The MPE showed up at Oscar’s door few minutes before 10 AM and was told to wait. Ten minutes went by.  Fifteen, then the door opened and the Engineering Manager came out, looking uncomfortable and mouthing at the MPE, “I’ve been Oscarized”.  “Come in,” the MPE heard Oscar say, and “shut the door.

The MPE had his proposed solution to the POI problem, as well as what he was proposing to keep the other mass properties under control, and was prepared to go over everything.  Instead, Oscar said to sit down, and proceeded to talk.  Oscar went through his career, where he had spent the majority of it on space launch vehicles, having started on the company’s mainline program.  He had risen through a succession of positions which put him on the management track, eventually reaching the company equivalent of a brigadier general.  He worked directly for a Vice President on a program that had several problems.  One of those problems was mass properties – in this case the weight carrying capacity of the launch vehicle.  At this point Oscar looked right at the MPE.  He said “You are in charge of the mass properties of this program.  If there are any problems I need to know about them.”  The MPE started to pull out his papers and Oscar said, “Not yet!  I’m not done.”  He continued with his narrative – somewhat familiar via hallway talk.  Turns out this launch vehicle program from his past promised certain customers that the vehicle could perform certain missions, and then failed to do so.  This caused multiple investigations, both by the company and the customer, where it became obvious that the promised capability was not there, and this was not known to everyone.  The Vice President was asked to resign, in other words he was fired, being ultimately responsible for the program.

Oscar looked at the MPE.  He stood up and paced.  Then he said, “I’ve seen what messed up mass properties can do.  Mass properties is a hot ticket item to the company and to our customer.  As far as I am concerned, you are the lead of the mass properties team, and I know we have challenges, so you do whatever it takes to keep mass properties in line.  Your job is to keep me from being fired!  Do that and everyone will be happy.

The MPE realized he was being offered a favorable hand, even if it was carrying a stick.  He also realized that he had an opportunity to really affect the program.  Properly cued, he went through what he thought had to be done to ensure the program would not have weight or POI problems.  Oscar looked at the proposed mass properties control program and the POI solution, and told the MPE to get with the engineering manager and tell him he approved the concept.  And then he stood up and opened the door to his office and said to the person sitting outside his office, “Come in, and shut the door.”

The program was successful.  The vehicle flew successive multiple missions, maintaining the desired pointing of the spin axis.  Additional class vehicle programs came the company’s way, each with their own idiosyncrasies to contend with.  And Oscar was not fired, but instead was able to retire, vindicated.  Everybody was happy.  Well, except for the usual grumbling…

 

Addition of Chapter Website Links

I have added some of the Chapter websites to the side of this site.  This allows chapters that utilize their chapter websites prior and outside of the main blog to continue to use their sites without having to post everything to the main SAWE blog.

Please still post to the main blog!  We want to link the Chapter sites so they do not become obsolete and can still be used as means of communication among chapter members.

I only added the Texas, LA, and Hampton Roads sites currently, as they appear to be the most utilized sites.  If you wish for your chapter site to be added as a link to the SAWE blog please let me know and I will add it.

Thank you for all those that have subscribed thus far, posted, and have reached out to be involved in the blog.  This is what we hoped for and envisioned when we first talked about a blog. Please continue to reach out to your chapter and make sure people are subscribing! That is the easiest way to be involved and be kept up to date on posts.

Melissa Rapier

Los Angeles Chapter Meeting – Speaker: Dr. Jeffry Padin

The Los Angeles chapter held its first meeting of 2017-2018 on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at the S Building on Northrop Grumman’s Space Park campus, Redondo Beach CA.  Dr Jeffry Padin of the Aerospace Corporation was the evening’s featured speaker.  After a delicious meal of Chinese food, Dr. Padin gave an impassioned presentation about the unique corporate culture at SpaceX (Dr. Padin is a manufacturing and design liaison between the Aerospace Corporation and SpaceX).  Many companies try to understand and improve employee engagement – SpaceX seems to have found the magic ingredient !
Dr. Padin’s presentation was enthusiastically received by an audience of 18 members and guests.  Honored guests included new members Maben Jimenez (the Aerospace Corporation), Kushal Patel (also the Aerospace Corpoartion) and Randy Quon (Northrop Grumman).  Also in attendance were Ron Fox (SAWE Executive Director and Honorary Fellow), John Hargrave (Honorary Fellow), John Nakai (Honorary Fellow), and Mike Notarangelo (Fellow).
John Nakai and Yi-Ling Tam (both from the Aerospace Corporation) led a brief discussion of Tailoring Instructions for ANSI/AIAA S-120A-2016 Documents Status.  This impacts both Launch Vehicles (TOR-2017-02292) and Space Vehicles (TOR-2017-02395).
All in all, a very successful start to 2017-2018 for the Los Angeles chapter.  Kudos and Thanks to Yi-Ling Tam (Los Angeles chapter President) for arranging the speaker, and also the food and to Oliver Philippi for arranging the facility.
Respectfully,
 Dan Rowley
Los Angeles chapter Vice President

How to interact on the blog

I will do my best to hit all the points on how you can interact on the blog.  As I stated from the beginning this will be a bit of a learning curve to start, but I hope that you stick with us and utilize the blog as much as you can!  As I am finishing writing up this blog post, I realize it may be long, but I believe it hits a lot of the questions on how to interact with the blog.  I have tried to test everything out myself so that I can speak to everything as best I can, hopefully I am not wrong on anything!

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU FIND SOMETHING DIDN’T WORK AS I STATED! I WILL UPDATE THE POST TO REFLECT ANY ISSUES AND HOW TO WORK AROUND THEM!

Subscribe to the Blog

On the right side of the blog, the last menu allows you to subscribe to the blog via email.  This will allow you to receive notifications of new posts!

Create an Account

You do NOT need a account to interact on the blog, you will have limitations but those will be addressed in each section.  I do highly recommend that you register an account, this will allow you to do more as well as subscribe to the blog to be notified when new posts occur

To create an account, on the right side of the site you will see “Recent Posts”, “Recent Comments”, “Archives”, “Categories”, “Meta”

Under the Meta section you can register an account, this will also automatically make you a “Subscriber” to the blog.

After you register an account, you click the username and password to login, this is not necessarily a WordPress account, I believe this just registers you to the SAWE blog.

When you login, it should take you to your profile, please make sure you have your name filled out, and chose your full name to be displayed. This way we aren’t trying to guess on who a user is that comments!

Commenting on Posts:

The easiest way for members to interact with the blog is comment on posts.  This provides us feedback on our articles, and we believe the discussions that can come from the blog will provide us something that sending out email blasts and newsletters couldn’t.

  • You do not need a login to comment on posts
  • At the bottom of a post you can “Leave a Reply”
  • Provide your comment, name, and email address
  • You may also check to be notified when follow up comments occur, so if you forget about a post, you will see when you have responses to your comments! You can also check to be notified of new posts by emails
  • Admin has to approve the comment, this helps us weed out spam bots from posting on all our posts.
    • If you have an account, once you are approved for a comment once, you do NOT need approval on future comments
    • If you choose to not have an account and provide your name and email for comments, you will still need to be approved for all comments
  • As we start posting regularly, I will check the site daily to approve comments.  I am also notified of comments via email so I will see when things are happening and will approve them as soon as I can.
Posting to the Blog

If you wish to post an article, update, etc. to the blog — first off, thank you!  This is exactly what we want.

  • You DO need an account to be able to post to the blog.
  • Once you have Registered an account as discussed above, you will be a “Subscriber” to the SAWE blog.
  • Once you are a “Subscriber” to the blog, I can change it so that your role is not a subscriber, but a contributor or author.  This will allow you to be able to post to the blog
  • You will need to contact me and let me know that you wish to be able to create blog posts, otherwise you will be a subscriber
  • If you do end up being a contributor or author, I will send a separate email to you on how exactly to post and things you can add (i.e. categories, tags, etc.) if you are having trouble figuring anything out!
  • Another option is to post through me, if you have a write up or an article that you want posted you are more than welcome to contact me (Melissa.rapier@sawe.org) and I will post for you.  I have no problem doing this!
Other comments
  • Remember that this is a public blog.
  • If you are a blog poster, keep this in mind if there are things you do not want on the public blog, we can and will link stuff back to the SAWE website where users will need to log in to view

Thank you if you made it this far and read everything, I hope that I hit on all the main points and cleared up any confusion.  Please do not hesitate to ask questions if you continue to have any, I will do my best to answer them.  Looking forward to the future of this blog.

Melissa Rapier

(Melissa.rapier@sawe.org)

 

 

Welcome to the SAWE Blog!

In the newsletter we discussed all the changes that are coming in regards to our social media presence.  I am excited that this blog is one of those changes.  We really want this to be interactive, having members ask questions, add comments, and get conversations going on the blog.

This blog is a public forum so it is not just for members.  For anything that we plan to be for members only, we will hyperlink to the website where you will need to sign in to view.  There will also be a block on the website front page that will link to recent blog posts.

We are using WordPress for the blog, as the features are very beneficial.  Posts will be able to have categories and tags to be easily searchable (i.e. Standards & Practices, President, etc.).  There are many other features we will be implementing and using on WordPress that the SAWE website could not offer.  You may need to create a WordPress account to be able to interact with posts.

Blog posts will include a variety of content.  The blog will allow us to dispense the newsletter, as we will be posting updates from the Executive Board members regularly on the blog.  We hope that this will prove more useful, timely, and interactive than a 10 page newsletter that comes out quarterly.

We will spotlight SAWE members’ careers and accomplishments, in a series of brief career autobiographies.  I believe that this will be most beneficial for newer, younger members to see where a career in Mass Properties can take you.  I also think that this is a great way to get to know some of the members of the society, as some of us only see each other once a year.  I hope this also leads to easier interactions at conferences.  This can also lead to mentoring opportunities as younger members may be very interested in the work and accomplishments listed in the blog post.

We will include articles related to mass properties, and occasionally may reference back to a paper from a conference.  We believe it is very important to promote the importance of mass proprietaries, and this forum should allow us to do so.  Being a public blog, this may be a way of reaching nonmembers.  Blog posts such as this will be connected to our LinkedIn page, hoping that cross traffic will bring in new members.

As to be expected, I am sure we will run into issues as we start using the blog.  Please be patient as we will work through any issues as quickly as possible.  If you have any questions or want to contribute to the blog, please contact me.

Melissa Rapier                                                                                           (melissa.rapier@sawe.org)