This month, at Covilhã we have been busy organising all kinds of events, with the most relevant being an indoor air model show and a field trip to OGMA, an aircraft maintenance company.
On the 2nd of April 2023, with the collaboration of UBI, our university, an RC airplane indoor show was held in one of their pavilions, inside which an obstacle course was built and tested by our colleagues. The main objective of this event was to bring together and connect several local RC airplane clubs, bringing together most of the RC airplane community as well as all the enthusiasts willing to observe the spectacle.
While in the company of clubs, as well as people who enjoy this amazing hobby, AS Covilhã prepared the stage for some of the most beautiful stunts and races, all in one eventful morning. With a squadron of 6 aircraft to play with, our pilots spent the entire morning flying, performing stunts and, of course, recharging the electric batteries.
One of our colleagues, António Vilaça, who has won several awards in RC competitions, even gave a demonstration of his piloting skills, allowing us to peek into what hundreds of hours of training do.
Of course, not everything was this serious! A paper plane challenge was also organised, in which our teachers, friends and even the public participated. This was a great way of bonding over their hobby.
And, as always, the morning ended in a barbeque, fulfilling the tradition of AS Covilhã.
After this exciting event, we decided to balance things out with a more technical field trip to OGMA. This company specialises in aircraft maintenance and manufacture.
Security at the entrance and even inside the premises was strict, besides the measures taken for data protection, meaning no pictures were taken during the trip.
Starting at their biggest aircraft hangars, we witnessed work being done on an Embraer E-jet, whose APU systems were being tested. We also had the opportunity to see the cockpit windows being changed on another Embraer aircraft.
Moving on, our guide took us to their military hangars, where C-130 from all over the world were being worked on. Some where there for routine jobs but some were going through their longer assessments (some of the aircraft were almost completely disassembled). In these hangars, we were shown an F-16C aircraft completely disassembled as well, it was going to be worked on and upgraded to more current systems, for use with the Portuguese Air Force.
From there, aircraft manufacture was the way. OGMA produces specific parts for several aircraft, both private and military. As an example, they manufacture almost all of the Embraer KC-390 fuselage as well as both the fuselage and the wings for the Pilatus PC-12. This part of the trip was interesting, since we could see all the process from the beginning: from random frames to a full fuselage module.
To finish off the guided tour, aircraft engines were the focus. OGMA is certified to work on several types of engines, such as turbofan and turboprop engines and we had the privilege of seeing their workstations, some work being done on engine compressors and even fully assembled turboprop engines, which were ready to use.
The main attraction of this department, said our guide, was the test cell for the engines, that, due to some buildings being renovated and built, was not open to the public.
All in all, this month was very exciting for our Local Board, since activities like these take a lot of time and effort to organise. It´s amazing when everything goes according to plan!