Daniel Golladay, Whitestown, Ind.
I love this stuff. I love working with my hands and being elbow deep in solvent, cleaning parts. It was what I was meant to do. The easiest explanation is I work on them and pilots fly them. I plan on being an airplane mechanic; I keep them running. They work you up the chain from your first year to getting an Airframe and Powerplant certification.
I was in 4-H for eight years working with electric and small engines. I’ve known since then that I want to do something with my hands. When my brother went on his first college visit to Purdue, I went with him. We took a tour of the hangars and saw giant turbo engines. I knew I had to get in here.
Making a difference
Airplanes are complex pieces of machinery. Very few people know what goes on behind the scenes. The maintenance required is astounding. You have to know how to tear it down and repair everything. Anything from specific tires that are matched with rims to the many miles of wire inside the plane. People don’t realize what’s actually sitting beneath them.
I loved my Aircraft Materials class. We started the first week getting to know the tools. We moved on to basic safety wiring and sheet metal riveting and then built up to manufacturing parts. We designed a wingspan; we had to cut the holes to size, bend it, heat treat it and rivet other parts. Our last project was to manufacture a small wing assembly. It’s about three feet long, two feet wide, and made up of at least a dozen parts. Then, in Aircraft Materials 2, we caused damage to the wing so that we could fix it.
The Purdue advantage
I’m looking into internships for Rolls-Royce and AAR. They are more interested in hearing from me because I’m a student at Purdue. Purdue is a great name; people see it and they want the people from here.