The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science


Students Fly High at Engineering Bootcamp

Students Fly High at Engineering Bootcamp

May 4, 2017

During the spring semester, three Jonsson School students were selected from a pool of national applicants to tackle real-world, complex engineering problems for a North Texas company.

At Bell Hellicopter’s weeklong “Engineering Bootcamp,” students worked in teams alongside industry professionals to experience first-hand the ins and outs of designing, manufacturing and testing various aircraft. Specifically, students were charged with a difficult task: to design a torpedo mount for the Bell 429 helicopter.

Neel Reddy, a sophomore mechanical engineering student, was among the three UT Dallas students selected for the Bootcamp.

“The torpedo weighed 608 pounds, so finding a center for gravity to ensure pilot control while mounting the torpedo was one of the biggest problem points ” said Reddy, who is also a Eugene McDermott Scholar. “It was a difficult scenario, but being exposed to a real-world environment and witnessing the day-to-day life of engineers inspired us to be creative and think outside the box.”

Engineering Boot Camp Students
From left to right: Kevin Daniel, Neel Reddy, Clinical Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Robert Hart, who helped the students apply to the boot camp, and Morganne Blaylock.

Reddy was joined by fellow Eugene McDermott Scholar and mechanical engineering student Morganne Blaylock at the Bootcamp. Blaylock, no stranger to a challenge, is a member of the award-winning Combat Robotics Team at UT Dallas, which competes in the annual Robogames.

“We went in blind, not knowing what our weeklong challenge would be, so we learned as we went,” Blaylock said. “Working on this problem not only required mechanical engineering know-how, but relied on a multi-disciplinary team with students from a myriad of areas like aerospace engineering and computer science.”

As an electrical engineering student, Kevin Daniel brought a different perspective to his team.

“Apart from the issues of weight distribution, we also had to consider circuitry and electrical distribution –– we had to be sure not to overlook the existing electrical systems as well, ” Daniel said.

After an exhausting week of early mornings and late nights working on the torpedo mounts, their efforts were met with some fun as the students took to the skies in a helicopter ride over Fort Worth.

“The view was amazing; it was an unforgettable experience, ” Daniel added. Both Reddy and Daniel were offered summer internships at Bell and will begin their full-time positions after the semester ends. Blaylock will be studying abroad at Franklin University Switzerland.


Bell helicopter

UT Dallas students worked on a Bell 429 helicopter, similar to the one pictured here.