Welcome to Geared Up 2016-2017

Hey there! Welcome to the 2016-2017 edition of the Carleton Mechanical and Aerospace Society’s (CMAS) official publication: Geared Up! This year the publication will be formatted slightly differently than last year’s. It will still be hosted on this, our WordPress site, but instead of publishing a number of pieces all at once a few times throughout the year, Geared Up will be structured as a blog this year. Every new piece that is received will be published shortly after its submission, so there will be new content streaming in all year long!

Now that the formalities are out of the way, let me introduce myself: my name is Katelynn “Flying Dutchman” Bolster, and I am one of CMAS’s Directors of Publications for this year. I am a 4th-year Aerospace Engineering student in Stream B, and I’m currently on coop at MDS Aero (insert shameless plug here!). In addition to featuring submissions by anyone and everyone, I will also be trying to write a few pieces throughout the year.

I will be accepting submissions for Geared Up at any time throughout the year – just send them in an email to cmas.dir.publications@gmail.com. I will also be posting reminders on a few Facebook pages throughout the year to encourage your submissions, as well as provide notifications when a new post has been uploaded. I also encourage you to subscribe to this blog so you receive notifications when there are new posts!

That’s it for now, but stay tuned for more! Flying Dutchman out.

Geared Up April 10th Issue

Mech Talks

Workings of Watches

Pierce Labarre                                                                                                                                       Mech

Mech talk’s is an article devoted to the many mechanical based technologies that are abundant in past, present and in the future. This covers anything from the steam engine to the highest end of modern robotics, by describing the function, history, and the impact on our society. Today however, the focus will be on a subtle member of our day to day life, the watch.

In modern society watches are quickly being outdated by smartphones and other electrical devices all of which give the time, however, watches still have a place both in style and their lack of need to be charged every few hours. Watches generalize into two broad categories, quartz and mechanical. Quartz crystal watches are relatively cheap to manufacture and run off of a battery. These are the cheaper watches which can be bought almost anywhere, with a price ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars. As demonstrated in figure 1, Quartz watches rely on batteries and circuits, and mostly fall under the electrical designation. However, for an interesting fact:

“The electricity makes the quartz crystal vibrate at a rate of 32,768 per second.” [2]

“The stepping motor sends every 32,768th electrical pulse to the dial train.” [2]

watch 1

Figure 1 – Quartz Crystal Watch [1]

Mechanical watches are more in the scope of the Mech Talks theme and are far more complex then quartz watches. Unlike a quartz watch, mechanical watches do not have a battery and are powered by energy build up in a spring. Mechanical watches have two variants, manual and automatic. Manual watches are wound up by hand, while automatic


Figure 2 – Mechanical Watch Internals [3]

watches are wound by the movement of the wearer throughout the day. These watches are more expensive, but if taken care of, have the ability to never stop keeping time. As shown in figure 2 the watch contains a great many gears and other moving parts, all of which are very small and precise. All of these parts work together to charge and convert the potential energy stored within the main spring into time keeping.

In order to explain how a mechanical watch works, it is key to understand the basic components that make up one of these contraptions.

Crown: The crown is used to manually wind the watch and set the time, it is the part which sticks out the side of the watch. [2]

Mainspring: The mainspring is the spring which stores the potential energy to drive the watch. [2]


Figure 3 – Mechanical Watch Diagram [4]

Gear Train: Transmits energy from the mainspring to the escapement. [2]

Escapement: Takes energy from the mainspring and releases it in controlled equal amounts. [2]

Balance Wheel: Receiving energy from the escapement, oscillates at a set frequency setting the watch speed. [2]

Dial Train: Transmits the energy from the balance wheel to the hands of the watch. [2]

Jewels: Rubies which are used in the center of consistently moving parts. These are to reduce frictional wear to the metal as they are very hard. [2]


Figure 4 – Progressive Watch Function [2]

Now that the parts have all been described, Figure 4 outlines the steps to the function of a mechanical watch.

  1. The turning of the crown or spinning of a rotor on the back, winds the mainspring. [2]
  2. Gear train transfers energy from the main spring to escapement. [2]
  3. Escapement balances the energy into equal amounts. [2]
  4. Balance wheel oscillates at a constant rate using the consistent energy supply. [2]
  5. After a set number of beats, the dial train move the energy to the hands of the watch. [2]

Although this is how a basic mechanical watch functions, this is truly the simplest form of a mechanical watch, many have what is referred to as complications. Complications are features a mechanical watch can have, which makes the mechanism more complicated.

Dual Time Zones: This complication has travelers in mind and allows for the setting of two different time zones on a watch, however these are not limited to only 1 extra time zone and some watches have more. [5]Date Display: The most common addition on a watch, which can come in many forms such as a date window or a pointer date. [5]


Figure 5 –  Mechanical watch with date display [6]

Chronograph: Also known as a stop watch, these are a logical and the second most common complication to add to a watch. These allow the wearer to time events to the second.

Many more: Including moon phases, watch power reserve or even an alarm (involving a small hammer hitting a string inside the watch). [5]

Mechanical watches may seem to be part of the past, with the ease of checking the time on a smart phone or other device, however their reliability, complexity and excellent craftsmanship ensures they always have a place in the society of today as a demonstration of one of humanities more complicated everyday mechanisms.



[1]H-spot.net, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.h-spot.net/watches/gp_cal352.jpg. [Accessed: 04- Apr- 2016].

[2]W. Movements, “Watch Education – Watch Movements”, Tourneau.com, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.tourneau.com/watch-education/watch-movements.html. [Accessed: 04- Apr- 2016].

[3]Onthedash.com, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.onthedash.com/pics4docs/Project99/BurenMovement.jpg. [Accessed: 04- Apr- 2016].

[4]Carouselcollectables.com, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.carouselcollectables.com/images/117_watch_parts.jpg. [Accessed: 04- Apr- 2016].

[5]W. Complications, “Watch Education – Watch Complications”, Tourneau.com, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.tourneau.com/watch-education/watch-complications.html. [Accessed: 04- Apr- 2016].

[6]Watchtime.com, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.watchtime.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Harry_Winston_Midnight_Big_Date_Only_Watch_2013_560.jpg. [Accessed: 04- Apr- 2016].




Queen’s Space Conference 2016

This year, the Carleton Mechanical and Aerospace Society sent two Carleton students to the Queen’s Space Conference (QSC) at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.  This gave students the opportunity to connect with space industry leaders and to learn from space experts like astronaut Robert Thirst.  Below, the two students share their experience at the Queen’s Space Conference. 

Daniel Klub

This past February of 2016 I attended the Queen’s Space Conference in Kingston, Ontario with a few of my fellow Carleton classmates. The intention of this event was to bring together like minded students with an interest in space exploration, technologies and development. The intention was also to expose the student delegates to leaders in academia, industry, government and organizations who are involved with space in some way. Additionally, a big aspect of this conference was to allow the delegates to network and build meaningful connections as they navigate the completion of their academic career and move onto their professional lives. Being a delegate myself, and representing Carleton University, I believe that the QSC 2016 was able to accomplish all of these goals and more.

From the moment I arrived at the Four Points hotel with my fellow Carleton delegates we were able to introduce ourselves and talk shop with a few members of the Queen’s Space Engineering Team. The team is to be competing in the upcoming University Rover Challenge in Utah this June. Moving on, during the initial evening events and talks, the delegates were broken up into separate tables in order to meet and mingle with students from other universities. In some cases the conference speakers were sitting at certain tables, which gave those lucky few a chance to talk it up with space industry professionals.

The second day of the conference involved more networking opportunities between the talks by the speakers and lunch or coffee breaks. The highlight of the day for many delegates including myself was our participation in the case study developed by the chairs of the QSC. This was a challenge presented to the delegate teams based on the tables they were assigned in order to design a viable mission plan and business case for a habitat on Mars’ moon of Phobos. For me, this was the most enjoyable part of the conference weekend as I was able to discuss detailed aspects of space development and exploration with my teammates. Additionally, the final presentations by each team were both insightful as to the different options for the mission, and also hilarious due to the comedic twists some groups applied to their concepts. The evening keynote speaker, Astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk, was incredibly interesting and became the highlight for many other delegates at the event. He managed to make his over two hour long talk about his experience in space to be enthralling. This was an amazing feat considering the occasional difficulty in remaining awake after a one and a half hour class lecture.

The final day of the event began with a great breakfast and broke right into a couple great talks by Eric Choi, Kate Howells and Ewan Reid. These speakers were of particular interest because they made an emphasis on how to break into the space industry or how to become involved in the international organizations as a student or young professional. Specifically, Kate Howells stressed the benefit of joining the Space Generation Advisory Council and participating in the Space Generation Congress, which takes place annually in


Speaker and The Planetary Society’s National Coordinator Kate Howells [1]

conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress in different cities around the world. I was also refreshed by Eric Choi’s take on the relationship between science fiction and actual space technology applications. It helps that he is a part of both worlds as a senior technical associate at the Institute for Quantum Computing (University of Waterloo), as well as being a science fiction writer.

When all was said and done at this year’s QSC, I left feeling enriched after having made so many new connections with like-minded students as well as industry professionals. Of course making these connections is good for career development. However, it also provides a method of working on one’s interpersonal soft skills. Additionally, enrichment came in the form of becoming more aware of the available opportunities of employment and participation in space exploration and development. I highly recommend that Carleton Students with an interest in space consider signing up and participating in the Queen’s Space Conference 2017. The team that put together QSC 2016 did a tremendous job, and I have no doubt that the efforts will be outdone for next year’s event.



Juan Posada

From February 5th – 7th I had the immense pleasure of attending the Queen’s Space Conference with six others from Carleton University.  I must say this was an experience I will never forget. From the instance we walked up to the reception, we were greeted with visuals and an atmosphere that would make any space enthusiast jump in sheer joy. From posters and drinks, to a Mars rover driving around (a great opportunity to scope out CPRT’s competition!) and representatives of various space related societies.

During these three days, we listened to experts talk about a wide range of topics that in some way or another related to the space industry. Rover design, the space industry, creating a business model, research on the International Space Station (ISS), and how to get involved with the industry from a young age were some of the matters discussed.

The main highlight of the conference was the opportunity to listen to retired astronaut Robert Thirsk share his experience as he prepared for human space flight, as he boarded on the ISS, his 187 days in space, and the life he’s lead after returning to Earth. The night


Canadian Astronaut Robert Thirsk [2]

of the 6th, those of us with platinum tickets were given the exclusive opportunity to meet with all speakers in a lounge for almost the entire night. How many people can say they’ve drank wine (and later breakfast) with an astronaut? Worth it!

For those of you truly interested in perusing a career in the space industry, or even if you simply find it interesting, I highly recommend attending events such as the Queen’s Space Conference. Not only is the experience unforgettable, but the people you meet and the contacts you form are truly something that can help you get far in life.


[1 ] Z. Harley, “Speaker Info | Queen’s Space Conference”, Qsconference.com, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.qsconference.com/speakers-info.html#kate-howells. [Accessed: 02- Apr- 2016].

[2] “Robert Thirsk”, Wikipedia, 2016. [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Thirsk. [Accessed: 22- Mar- 2016].



The Swear that Seized the Skies

Who knew a common day to day inappropriate phrase could be interpreted as a sign of near death?

Whether we stub our toe, do poorly on a test, or simply miss the bus, the “s-word” is a common day to day phrase that we have grown accustomed to saying when something small goes wrong, but what happens when that small phrase becomes a panic for flight service specialists?

For privacy purposes, I am not going to use real names, so I will call the girl in this story Katelyn.  I am from a small town with a small airport, and fortunately we were lucky to have a small flight school.  I was doing “circuits”, which is pretty much flying along the circuit pattern shown in figure 1.

ciruit pattern flight

Figure 1 – Common left handed circuit pattern [1]

I had a pretty good flight and the flight service specialists radioed me inviting me to come to the Flight Service Station (FSS). A Flight Service Station is like an Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower, except flight service specialists cannot instruct a plane on what to do, they can only provide information on what is best to do. The flight service specialists were impressed by my short landings and take-offs and offered to show me inside their station.  I was really excited because for a long time I myself wanted to be an air traffic controller.  I quickly parked the Cessna 172 I was flying and happily made my way over to the FSS.  Once inside, the two flight service specialists, who I’ll call Liam and Oscar, showed me how several components of the FSS operated.  Then they showed me how the circuit pattern that I had just been flying looked like from their viewing deck.  I was very fascinated as I was able to see quite far and it was a clear day.

Suddenly, another Cessna 172 radioed that she was coming in from her cross country flight and was going to join the downwind leg of the circuit as she was going to land.  Oscar was the first one to spot her from the viewing deck and pointed to where she was.  It took me awhile to see her, but once I did, I kept my eyes locked on her plane throughout her entire descent.  She then entered the base leg and everything seemed to be going fine, like a normal circuit pattern.  It wasn’t until the base leg when we began to panic.

Katelyn was a student at this flight school, although I had never met her before.  Liam and Oscar said she was doing well at the flight school and she was a quick learner.  She was just finishing her first solo cross country flight and all of her radio calls were made accordingly as she entered the circuit.  Once on the final leg, she made what we thought was her final call before landing.  With a perfectly clear day, the three of us in the FSS were delightfully watching her descent.  That’s when, only a few moments after her last radio call (I can’t remember the exact time), she radioed “oh s—”.


Figure 2 – A Cessna 172, the same model as Katelyn’s plane [3]

According to Liam and Oscar, many pilots’ last words before a plane crash are “oh s—”.  While I was confused as to why she would radio a swear word seeing as you can be fined up to $5000 or be imprisoned [2], Liam and Oscar began to worry and were preparing for the worst.  They were ready to call emergency personnel as they watched her descent carefully.

Oddly enough, everything seemed to be going well in her descent.  In fact, she landed smoothly and continued to make her regular safety checks and radio calls until she parked the plane.  Stunned, Oscar radioed her telling her to come to the FSS immediately.  This is when they had to ask me to leave the FSS so I don’t know exactly what they talked about.

It wasn’t until the next day when I bumped into Liam that he told me what happened. Apparently Katelyn had dropped her glasses on the floor when she was on the final approach.  When she went to pick them up, she accidentally keyed the radio at the moment that she swore, not even realizing what she had done.

That’s all Liam told me.  Fortunately she wasn’t fined or imprisoned, especially because she was a really good student, but I wonder what happened to the recording of that radio call.  I can’t remember who checks those recordings, most likely Nav Canada or Transport Canada, but it makes you wonder if they even heard that call.  Maybe they did but let it go because it was a complete accident and she would never do that as a joke.  Either way, it makes for a good story, and overall I’m glad no one got hurt.  Guess it was just another one of those times where you make a silly mistake, like stubbing your toe, and simply say “oh s—”.


[1]”Airport Traffic Patterns”, Avstop.com, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://avstop.com/ac/flighttrainghandbook/airporttrafficpatterns.html. [Accessed: 17- Mar- 2016].

[2]S. Telecommunications, “RIC-21 — Study Guide for the Restricted Operator Certificate With Aeronautical Qualification (ROC-A) – Spectrum Management and Telecommunications”, Ic.gc.ca, 2011. [Online]. Available: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01397.html#s4_4. [Accessed: 30- Mar- 2016].

[3]”Cessna 172″, Wikipedia, 2016. [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_172. [Accessed: 01- Apr- 2016].

Geared Up Feb. 2nd Issue

Mech Talks

Pierce Labarre                                                                                                                             Mech

3D printing becomes a larger subject every year, with new brands, methods and most importantly, lower costs. However, many people do not understand the roots behind this technology, or the different kind of printers which are out there. This article will inform new Makers of the different kinds of printing technology available to the average consumer.

Types of 3D Printing

Although many different forms of 3D printing exist, the focus will be on the consumer options, for anyone looking to get into 3D printing.

DM Printing

FDM printing stands for Fused Deposition Modeling. This is the most common form of 3D printers, which although having many variants all follow the same principle. A FDM printer works by laying down molten plastic layer by layer on the build platform in order to slowly build up the model layer by layer.


Makerbot 3D printer [1]

The Makerbot 3D printers are a great (although expensive) option for an FDM printer that is reliable and very user friendly, although this type of printing is the most common, so many options exist. They can range from 200$ for a “build your own” kit, to 3900$ for the Makerbot pictured above.


Rostock Max V2 [2]

FDM printers are not limited to working on an X-Y plane like the Makerbot. A type of Printer known as the Delta 3D printer works using a delta of 3 arms, which works faster then the Cartesian printers. This printer however is quite a bit bulkier due to the its extra height requirement, and is more often sold as a build your own style of kit. These printers however have a larger build volume comparably to a Cartesian printer of the same price. The Rostock Max V2 pictured to the left sells for approximately 1000$ but many smaller and cheaper variants exist [3].

FDM 3D printers are an all around great printer, they are relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain and have the cheapest material costs. An average spool of plastic is available on amazon for approximately 40$ [4]. The only con is that these printers have poor layer resolution as well as an inability to effectively print small objects.

SLA Printing


Form 2 SLA printer

SLA is a type of Stereolithographic printing which is a newer form of printingthen FDM. It works by converting a liquid resin into a solid by using lasers to solidify the resin at certain points. These Printers are expensive sitting between 3000$-4500$, with the form 2 pictured to the right at 3500$ [5]. However, they excel at printing small objects with details that far exceed their FDM equivalents. The best resolution of the Makerbot Printer is 0.1mm per layer [1], while the Form 2 can achieve a resolution of 0.025mm per layer [5]. Another disadvantage is that the Form 2 is a lot slower to print then its FDM equivalents, however as the technology progresses the print speed of SLA printers has increased dramatically. The final con of the SLA printers is that the material costs are much higher. A 1L bottle of resin costs 150$, and does not last as long as a roll of filament on a FDM printer [5]. Overall this printer is only ideal if the goal is to print relatively small objects that are very detailed.



Titan 1 3D printer [6]

The Final common printer available to makers is DLP-SLA printers. This is a version of SLA printers that uses a lamp in order to cure an entire layer of resin at once. This is evidently faster then the laser equivalent of the SLA printing and is in the same price range [6]. The Titan 1 3D printer is one that is commercially available, but although faster, the unit is much larger and space is a bigger requirement. The Titan 1 retails at 3000$ which is similar to other SLA printers [6].

Although currently limited in commercially available printers anyone interested in purchasing one has no shortage of options. There are hundreds of different 3D printers available on the market each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It is important to keep in mind what your printing (big or small, detail or low detail), how big the build platform of the printer is and what kind of materials it is able to use. Overall the choice of printers depends on the reason for the interest and a lot of time should be spent investigating the options to get the best printer for the needs of the project.


[1] Store.makerbot.com, 2016. [Online]. Available: https://store.makerbot.com/mb-images/store/rep2/gallery_2.jpg. [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[2] S3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com, 2016. [Online]. Available: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/tetherscript/3DPrinter/Rostock_MaxV2_Complete.JPG. [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[3] R. Kit, “Rostock MAX™ v2 Desktop 3D Printer Kit”, SeeMeCNC, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.seemecnc.com/products/rostock-max-complete-kit. [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[4] Amazon.ca, “BuMat ABS Filament 1.75mm 1kg 2.2-Pound Printing Material Supply Spool for 3D Printer, Clear: Amazon.ca: Industrial & Scientific”, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.amazon.ca/BuMat-Filament-2-2-Pound-Printing-Material/dp/B00IEZH8MQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454292711&sr=8-1&keywords=3d+printing+filament. [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[5] Formlabs.com, “Desktop Stereolithography (SLA) 3D Printing – Formlabs”, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://formlabs.com/. [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[6] Kudo3D – High Resolution, High Speed DLP SLA 3D Printer, “3D Printer – Selected Applications”, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.kudo3d.com/. [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].


white space


Students share their thoughts about succeeding in ECOR 1101

Ana Alarcon                                                                                                                                     Aero D

You’ve probably heard frightening stories about the high DFW (D, F and withdraw) rates in ECOR 1101, or Mechanics 1.  If you are a student currently taking ECOR 1101, I would encourage you to read the following tips given by upper year students, mostly in their second year.   I asked them each three questions, and these are their responses.

Overall, what did you think of ECOR 1101?

“It was a fair course. Not terribly hard if you put enough work in and don’t get overwhelmed”

“ECOR 1101 is difficult if you fall behind, like most mechanics courses”

“Wasn’t so bad, go to lectures and do the work”

“I thought it was a good first year course, I ended up with an A”

“It’s tricky.  You need to really work hard to succeed”

“Personally, I didn’t realize how difficult the course was until the final exam.  Now I am retaking it.”


What advice would you give to students for doing well in ECOR 1101?

Do all the tests and problems”

“Take your time to think out the problem. If you ever get stuck fall back to the basics and break things down and take your time”

“They need to do the problems in their own time. Just knowing the theory isn’t good enough because there are so many ways it can be applied. The more problems you do, the different types of questions they are able to tackle”

“Try and go to TA and Prof office hours from time to time and definitely give PASS a chance”

“Print out the practice problem questions and cross off the ones you did as you go.  This will help you stay on top of things”

“Go to class, practice the problems throughout the semester and get help”


What resources did you use, or would you recommend, for succeeding in this course?

“Highly recommend getting the solution manual that contains all the step by step solutions. Make sure to do the mock midterm and mock exam. They help out very well. Draw everything out, don’t be afraid to use up all your space”

“The textbook?”

“I didn’t go to PASS for mechanics but I’m almost certain it would’ve made a huge difference. I attribute much of my success in thermodynamics to taking the time and going to PASS”

“I found classes pretty pointless. I just studied from the textbook, and understood the concepts from there. And PASS was really helpful!”

“PASS and ask your Professor for help.  Even if you think they aren’t “good”, they really do care and it’s up to you to go ask them questions until you understand.  My mistake last year was not going to ask the Prof questions because I didn’t think they were good, when really they are professionals.  Also don’t stress too much. It’s no PHYS 1004 (kidding)”

“Two big tips: GO TO CLASS and treat PASS like class!  Unless you’re a pro-student, go to class or else you’ll be pretty lost.  I skipped a little too much class and I also didn’t go to PASS.  I didn’t do too well in Mechanics either…”


If you find yourself struggling with ECOR 1101 or any other first year courses you can also come to the CMAS office (ME 3397) as many of the students are upper years and would be happy to help.  Best of luck and study hard!

white space

muskmission tomars-1

John L.                                                                                                                                                 Aero

“Do we want a future where we are only confined to one planet?”
                                                                                                                        -Elon Musk

The question remains, will the future of humanity involve colonizing other planets, or will humans forever exist and seize to exist on Earth?  For one man, Elon Musk, the latter seems almost too despairing. Though human survival on other planets is no recent buzz, CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk believes that SpaceX will make their first human flight to Mars around the year 2025 [1].

Elon Musk is a new and rising figure in the space scene.  He is not only the founder of SpaceX, but the cofounder of PayPal and Tesla Motors, and it’s through his entrepreneurial skills that really makes him one of the space industry’s top rising stars in innovative thinking.  For instance, he and his team managed to successfully attach their spacecraft called “Dragon” to the International Space Station (ISS), earning them a contract with NASA to continue bringing cargo to the ISS, and makes them the first private company to do resupply missions [2].  His engineering talents also lead SpaceX to create Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket [2].

elon musk

SpaceX CEO and CTO Elon Musk [3]

Now, Elon Musk faces one of humanity’s most interesting challenges to date, a human visit to the planet Mars.  The story has been told for years now that we will one day explore Mars and all its fascinating geology, but to think that it could potentially only take another nine years for the first human flight to Mars is incredible.  Musk, however, has no worries about space travel.  In an interview with Invest Hong Kong at the Startmeup HK Venture Forum talk, Musk expresses no concern with making a trip himself into the dark abyss [1].

“I don’t think it’s that hard honestly,” he says.  “You float around.” [1]

He is expected to visit the International Space Station in the year 2020 or 2021 [1].  As for SpaceX’s mission to Mars, Musk said he would present the details about the Mars mission at the International Astronautical Conference in Mexico this September [4].  Now this also brings up the question, who will be the first human to ever set foot on Mars?  Will it be you?



[1] YouTube, “StartmeupHK Venture Forum – Elon Musk on Entrepreneurship and Innovation”, 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIRqB5iqWA8. [Accessed: 26- Jan- 2016].

[2] SpaceX, “Company”, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.spacex.com/about. [Accessed: 24- Jan- 2016].

[3] J. Fisher, “Here’s why Elon Musk is the most impressive member of the ‘PayPal mafia'”, Business Insider, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.businessinsider.com/peter-thiel-elon-musk-is-the-most-impressive-paypal-mafia-member-2015-3. [Accessed: 25- Jan- 2016].

[4] J. Wenz and S. Vazharov, “Elon Musk Ready To Announce Mars Plans This Fall”, Popular Mechanics, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/a19189/elon-musk-ready-to-announce-mars-plans-this-fall/. [Accessed: 24- Jan- 2016].

Geared Up Nov. 9th Issue

on a wing

Andriy Predmyrskyy                                                                                                                   Aero Stream D

It is a warm day in September. There are people all around, some near vendors, other in nearby buildings. Walking on asphalt towards a barrier, I hear the sound of engines and yelling. On the runway in front of me is a small red biplane, a pitts special. This one has been modified, however. There is what appears to be a small chair attached to the upper wing near the middle, and on it, a lady. The engine starts up, propeller spinning and humming. We all cheer as both pilot and passenger take off. Flying low over the runway they perform tight turns, and loop the loops. I applaud and wonder, how can she stay on? Is it safe? This is wing walking, an aerobatic performance that has been put on since the 1920s to dazzle, amaze, and frighten onlookers.

What brings someone to wing walk, though? What were the first wing walkers thinking as they took their first steps outside the unprotected cockpit? It’s disputed who first walked alongside their aircraft, but it seems that by 1911, several pilots had become known for performing maintenance on their aircraft during flight. The U.S. Air force even began doing preliminary tests into the use of wing walking as a method to refuel planes in flight, having men with fuel tanks strapped to their backs jumping from one plane to the other [1]. Early long-distance flight records were also broken with this dangerous trick [2]. No harnesses, no skills beyond good balance and sureness in your steps.

Naturally, some pilots began to get cocky about their ability to stare a thousand foot drop in the face as they went about repairs or refueling. One such boastful man was Ormer Locklear, who went from serviceman to entertainer, displaying his wing walking skills publicly. Barnstorming was the modern name for aerobatics, and wing walking considered the most extreme. Ormer was featured in a 1920 film, The Great Air Robbery, but his career was cut short when he died later that year during the filming of Skywayman [1].
Famous wing walker and Ormer’s equal, was Ethal Dare, the first woman to do a mid-air plane transfer. Wing walking quickly gained popularity, and new stunts were made: handstands, hanging from the plane by one arm, and any antics that could be done on a small strip [3]. Perhaps the most famous wing walking image hails from this day; there exists an image of two men playing tennis on top of a flying biplane.


Wing walkers playing tennis on a biplane circa 1925

In the early days, several wing walkers died from accidents. However, flying circuses, as aerobatic troupes were called, still persisted. Until the stock market crashed in 1929, more than ten operated in the United States alone, however, activity understandably almost stopped during the second world war, as resources were diverted to the war effort [2].

Today, acts are much safer than they used to be. Any plane used for wing walking must be equipped with a harness for the walker during takeoff and landing, to ensure safety during the bumpier parts of travel [2]. They are also required to wear and understand how to use a parachute [2]. It stays a pastime for some, and occupation for others. There exist many clubs around the world that can train members to wing walk, and performers travel to air shows all over North America and abroad giving demonstrations [3]. The spirit of wing walking persists, as well. Those who seek the adrenaline of feeling the wind flow around you as you speed through the air, performing stunts and defying gravity, escaping death.

That day, at that airshow, were dreamers and daredevils. Some wanted to be pilots, others astronauts, all loved flight, but none were closer to the air, the raw adrenaline of flight than the wing walker. Sitting alone atop her pitts special, putting all her trust in her pilot, the wind, and her feet, she tempted fate, and gave a show I still can’t forget.


[1] Flying-piloting.knoji.com, ‘A Brief History of Wing Walking’, 2015. [Online]. Available: https://flying-piloting.knoji.com/a-brief-history-of-wing-walking/. [Accessed: 05- Nov- 2015].

[2] Silverwingswingwalking.com, ‘Wingwalking History’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.silverwingswingwalking.com/resource_zone.html. [Accessed: 05- Nov- 2015].

[3] Aerosuperbatics.com, ‘Breitling Wingwalkers – HISTORY OF WINGWALKING’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.aerosuperbatics.com/historyofwingwalking. [Accessed: 05- Nov- 2015].

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Mech Talks

Pierce Labarre                                                                                                                                   Mech

Mech Talk’s is an article devoted to the many mechanical-based technologies that are abundant in the past, present, and future. This covers anything from the steam engine to the highest end of modern robotics, by describing the function, history and impact on our society. Today, however, the focus will be on a classic example of mechanical technology, and that is the typewriter.

Brother deluxe typewriter [1]

Brother deluxe typewriter [1]

            When you envision a typewriter, you might think of one of the more popular typewriters like a small Brother De Luxe (see to the right) that you might find nowadays at Value Village, or maybe that massive 35lb Remington Standard office typewriter which you found in your grandparents attic.  However, along the timescale of typewriter history these are both relatively new. In fact, many of the original typewriters look like nothing you will have ever seen. A classic example of this is one of the earlier more commercially successful typewriters, the Hansen writing ball (see below), which was released in 1870, and bears little resemblance to what one would envision today as a typewriter [2].

Hassen Writing Ball Typewriter [2]

Hassen Writing Ball Typewriter [2]

Many typewriters like this were made while engineers and designers were trying to come up with the best way to type that would be both efficient, as well as prevent jamming the keys as a result of a user typing too quickly. Hundreds of different designs were tried, resulting in a wide range of styles and functionalities. However many of these typewriters failed commercially, as they were either too complicated or jammed too easily.

Sholes & Glidden typewriter [3]

Sholes & Glidden typewriter [3]

However, in 1873 the creation of the Sholes & Glidden typewriter started what would be known as the modern typewriter era [3]. This typewriter heavily impacted the modern era, as it was the first to introduce the QWERTY keyboard, which is commonly used throughout North America today [3]. Typewriter manufacturing was a completely different issue, however, as typewriters are precision machines having thousands of parts, even sometimes featuring mechanical clearances as precise as 1/64 inch [4]. It is perhaps not surprising then that in the late 1800’s, companies manufacturing typewriters were sometimes also weapons manufacturers, as the precision and multitude of parts was a challenge these companies were well equipped for. The Sholes & Glidden typewriter, for example, was manufactured by Remington [5].

Blickensderfer No.5 typewriter [6]

Blickensderfer No.5 typewriter [6]

Typewriters remained mostly large and bulky machines until about 1893 when George C Blicksenderfer released the first model of his revolutionary design [7]. Although straying away from the QWERTY keyboard layout, his design had hundreds of parts as opposed to thousands. Due to this, the machines weighed far less and were relatively inexpensive, which kick-started the era of the portable typewriter. Although the Blicksenderfer typewriter was first, larger companies like Underwood and Remington quickly released a line of visible typewriters, and with subsequent industry designs that also successfully featured portability, the Bliksenderfer line ended by 1928 [7].

Remington Portable Typewriter No.3 [8]

Remington Portable Typewriter No.3 [8]

IBM electric typewriter model 01 [9]

IBM electric typewriter model 01 [9]

By this time the biggest names in the typewriter business were: Remington, Underwood, Royal, Imperial and Corona, all of whom were competing in the business of portable typewriters. However, in the mid-1930s the market was about to change again. There is much debate as to who released the first electric typewriter, but in the beginning the IBM electric typewriter model 1 was one of the first mainstream electric typewriters [10].

Type Ball [11]

Type Ball [11]

In 1952, IBM added the type ball standard to all of their typewriters [10]. The type ball was one of the deviations from striking the paper with a key lever and resulted in less jamming. This also gave the typewriter the ability to change fonts, as the type ball could easily be removed and exchanged with a different one.

Smith Corona XD 6500 [13]

Smith Corona XD 6500 [13]

A final era worth noting in the history of typewriters, was the increasing dominance of the electronic typewriter, as witnessed in the 1970s [12]. Not only were the type balls replaced with a disk, but many of these typewriters included: internal and external memories, LCD screens, a dictionary with auto correct, and even the ability to be plugged into a computer and act as a printer. These typewriters however were only around until the late 1980’s, before being completely replaced by the computer and the printer [12].

Although now a technology of the past, typewriters have greatly influenced the technology of today, serving to provide a historical foundation to many services we now take for granted. From something as simple as the QWERTY layout and the shift bar on your keyboard, to the autocorrect function in Microsoft Word, the typewriters of the past revolutionized the writing industry, and was a prime influencer of innovation for many generations.

Special thanks to local Ottawa typewriter restorations hobbyist Adam Basquill, for his advice and factual verification on the contents of the article.


[1] Eclectisaurus.com, ‘Eclectisaurus | Online Typewriter Museum � Brother Typewriter Page’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.eclectisaurus.com/tmbrother.html. [Accessed: 05- Nov- 2015].

[2] Site.xavier.edu, ‘A Brief History of Typewriters’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-history.html. [Accessed: 05- Nov- 2015].

[3] Officemuseum.com, ‘Typewriters’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.officemuseum.com/typewriters.htm. [Accessed: 05- Nov- 2015].

[4] Archive.hnsa.org, ‘Typewriter Maintenance – Part 2’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://archive.hnsa.org/doc/typewriter/part2.htm#pg78. [Accessed: 08- Nov- 2015].

[5] Ergo.human.cornell.edu, ‘The History Center: Typewriters in Tompkins’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/ergoprojects/dea4702005/hctwebsite/sholes.html. [Accessed: 05- Nov- 2015].

[6]B. Kruk, ‘Typewriters 101 : 1894 Blickensderfer No. 5 Typewriter’, Typewriters101.blogspot.ca, 2012. [Online]. Available: http://typewriters101.blogspot.ca/2012/12/1894-blickensderfer-no-5-typewriter.html. [Accessed: 06- Nov- 2015].

[7] Portabletypewriters.co.uk, ‘portable_typewriter_blickensderfer’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.portabletypewriters.co.uk/portable_typewriters_blickensderfer.htm. [Accessed: 06- Nov- 2015].

[8] myTypewriter.com – The Classic Typewriter Store, ‘Remington Portable No.3 (c.1928)’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://mytypewriter.com/remingtonportableno3c1928.aspx. [Accessed: 06- Nov- 2015].

[9] Www-03.ibm.com, ‘IBM Archives: IBM typewriter milestones’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/modelb/modelb_milestone.html. [Accessed: 06- Nov- 2015].

[10] Typewriters.pbworks.com, ‘typewriters / the first electric typewriters’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://typewriters.pbworks.com/w/page/22569480/the%20first%20electric%20typewriters. [Accessed: 06- Nov- 2015].

[11] Covingtoninnovations.com, ‘IBM Selectric Typewriter Resource Page’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/selectric/. [Accessed: 06- Nov- 2015].

[12] Cultureandcommunication.org, ‘Electric Typewriter – Dead Media Archive’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://cultureandcommunication.org/deadmedia/index.php/Electric_Typewriter. [Accessed: 06- Nov- 2015].

[13] Kids.britannica.com, ‘typewriter: electronic typewriter –�Kids Encyclopedia | Children’s Homework Help | Kids Online Dictionary | Britannica’, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/art-126669/The-Smith-Corona-XD-6500-electronic-portable-typewriter-has-a. [Accessed: 06- Nov- 2015].

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From the Ground Up – Carleton Students Who Fly

Erfan KhademAgha                                                                                                                     Aero Stream A

Why did you decide to become a PILOT?


Erfan KhademAgha

What a good question. The first thing you probably predict to hear from me is that I have or had loved ones, family or friends who are pilots and that I want to be like them in the future.  However, that is not my case. As far as I know, I have nobody in my family who is as crazy as I am in aviation. So when I wanted to answer this question, at first I thought it was going to be easy. I could just start with some cliché answers like “flying is the most fantastic feeling I have ever had”. Although this is honestly true, it is not enough to say this is my whole story.

It’s not enough, because the duration of that pure feeling of joy and passion cannot be enough to sustain. It could be just a general feeling of flight that all humans have. But now, after working more than 8 years in the aviation field and dealing with the vast majority of aspects of the aeronautics industries, I am incredibly proud and certain to put all my passion and feeling about being a pilot and expertise in aviation in these few words:

How can you not fly when you live in a time in history when you can fly? When I fly, the airplane stands for freedom, for joy, for the power to understand, and to demonstrate that understanding. Those things are indestructible.

It is definitely tough and there are lots of difficulties in order to achieve one’s dream, but giving up on my dream of becoming a pilot would only mean giving up the happiness in my life, and giving up on myself. This is my only life dream and I wanted this to be achieved and not only to be hoped for. There are times when the going gets tough; hope seems to be shattered and dreams seems to be getting far away, but I do believe, I do have faith as I know that with great determination comes great success. It has been my ambition ever since I was 9 and as I go through difficulties in life, I would only see myself getting closer to becoming what I really want to be. The competition is strong and tough, but I will not give up on what I promised myself. There are lots of people out there fighting for their lives daily, so who am I to choose not to fight for my dream and to give up? I have faith, I have courage, and I am determined. I am prepared to go beyond whatever it takes to BE A PILOT. I will not sit and wait, but I will take the chance!

Now, I think I can start to answer this question directly. I don’t remember or even don’t know when this crazy enormous passion about airplanes and aviation emerged in me, but I do know exactly when I stepped into this long and mysterious adventure of my life; a life dream that has been with me since 8 years ago.


I entered to aviation world by getting my certificate of designing and building radio controlled (R.C.) airplanes at 2007. I started to design and build dozens of R.C airplanes. Even though I would achieve two invention patents in 2008 and 2009, those didn’t satisfy my excitement of flight. I was asking myself why somebody else would do the test flight of the airplane that I made. This led me to get my unmanned aerial vehicle pilot license in 2009, a license that gave me a feeling of controlling a flying object.  This achievement not only thought me all the theories of flight and principals of physics and aerodynamics I know, but it also gave me the ability to become a pilot of large-sized unmanned aircraft and drones. Nevertheless, I still didn’t want to stop there, I knew that I have a big goal in my life and will not stop proceeding forward until I attain it.


After gaining 5 years of experience flying a vast number of R.C airplanes and helicopters, U.A.Vs, and multi-rotors, I stepped into the biggest and most serious stage of my life. I got into Carleton University as an aerospace engineering student while trying to pursue getting my Private Pilot License parallel to my studies at Carleton. This is exactly when that I started to dream myself in the cockpit of an Airbus A380. I was and I still am incredibly certain that I will never stop fighting for my future until the day that I say:

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, from the flight deck this is your captain speaking…”

Erfan with his Cessna 172

Erfan with his Cessna 172

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gaelan's title

Gaelan Kirby                                                                                                                                           Cive

Normally after the first year of university concludes, after being away from home for the first time, many students return home for summer break and get a part time job. I was planning to do this as well, but I ended up with a paid summer internship foreshadowing a tenure professor and assisting them with their research.

Gaelan Kirby, recipient of NSERC USRA

Gaelan Kirby

Over this time, I was able to develop my problem solving skills and had the opportunity to apply what I had learned in my first year of engineering to various problems. This position introduced me to the world of research, and has opened up further opportunities for me to work on exciting research projects in the future.

Now, how do you get involved with something like this?

If you’re an undergraduate student in engineering, you’ll have to apply for an NSERC USRA (National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Student Research Award *out of breath*). Last year, students with a high CGPA were sent an email with details and information on how to apply.

The application process depends on you finding a professor to do research with, and on your grades. It’s a competitive process, to my knowledge ~24 students are selected by the faculty each year to participate in the research.

So if you work hard and keep your grades up, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to have an awesome summer!

What is Geared Up?

Geared Up is the official CMAS publication generally published 2 to 3 times throughout
the Fall and Winter semesters. Since electronic publications get as much (or more) traffic
as print versions, Geared Up will be changing format this year.

The editor for the 2015/16 year is Ana Alarcon. She can be contacted during her office
hours in the CMAS office or at cmas.dir.publications@gmail.com.

Each issue will still be comprised of news, articles, comics or discussions written by students and faculty members. All articles are of an engineering nature, mostly concerning mechanical and aerospace topics such as planes, trains and automobiles. To submit an article, just find an interesting topic, add an interesting picture and submit it to the current editor.