Where are they now? Daniel “Danny” Park BS ‘13
Daniel “Danny” Park
What are you doing now?I’m currently working on X-59 in Palmdale. The X-59 is NASA’s effort to encourage the FAA to revise the regulations to allow supersonic flight as long as the noise threshold for the sonic boom is not exceeded. I’m currently the Auxiliary Power and Fire Protection Lead. Auxiliary Power generally deals with starting the engine and distributing power via shaft(s) and gear box (es) to aircraft accessories for things like hydraulic and electrical power. Fire Protection involves detecting and suppressing fires.
How did your education and experiences at Illinois help you get there?
The most useful part of the curriculum is that it exposes you to various aspects of aerospace. It helps you decide what you want to end up doing, and things that that you would otherwise hope not to end up doing. The first class that really clicked was Bretl’s controls class, as it was the first applied course that was available. AE at Illinois is a very mathematical/theoretically focused group of professors, so Bretl was a refreshing change of pace for someone like me. Didn’t do particularly well in controls until then.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done since graduating from Illinois?
I was sent out to Elmendorf Air Force Base back in 2016 to resolve an Aircraft on Ground (AOG). I got to touch an F-22 and get up close and personal. CAD models are great, but nothing beats actually seeing how the kinematics work out.
What advice do you have for current Illinois aerospace students?
Find something that you’re passionate about. Right now, the industry is starving for people. The first couple jobs, the actual job doesn’t really matter, you’re just there to learn. Once you get rolling, you can usually begin to slowly align to the job.There’s also been unprecedented growth. It’s a great time to be in aerospace.