K-State Polytechnic Professor Uses Sabbatical to Gain Experiences to Share With Students

Andrew Smith, Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus professor of aviation, is using his sabbatical to participate in a faculty internship with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.

For his sabbatical, Smith chose to reconnect with industry as a way to obtain first-hand experiences in the aerospace reality of today and potential of tomorrow. He chose to seek an internship with General Atomics, which included a rigorous application and interview process, because he thought the company was a perfect fit for his experience.

A highly skilled aviation educator, Smith was named an Aviation Technician Education Council Educator of the Year. He has FAA airframe and powerplant inspection authorization, is a designated aviation mechanic examiner and is a certificated flight instructor. Smith plans to bring back the industry experience and knowledge he gains to his Kansas Polytechnic classroom: a hangar where students gain real-world, hands-on experience. He also plans to share what he learned with K-State campus communities and colleagues.

Through a focused, fast-paced schedule in Southern California, Smith has participated in demonstrations and explanations of technical writing, business operations, proposals, composites manufacturing, avionics manufacturing, aircraft cable assembly, additive manufacturing, airworthiness, and remotely piloted aircraft systems integration and testing. He also has been gaining hands-on experience with engine manufacturing and test cell operations, airport operations, maintenance training, aircraft operations and flight training.

Smith has been particularly interested in learning more about General Atomics’ future-facing aeronautical systems.

Smith is the first K-State faculty member to be hosted by General Atomics through its postgraduate-level faculty sabbatical internship initiatives, which support professional enrichment and experience in leading-edge aerospace and related disciplines.