Time passes quickly as it witnesses the transformation of School of Aeronautics, Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), from its first appearance in 1933 resulting from the merger of aeronautics unit of Shanghai Jiaotong University (1935), Aeronautical Engineering Education of Nanjing University (previously, National Central University) (1935) and Aeronautical Engineering Education of Zhejiang University (1933); to the Aircraft Engineering Department of East China Aeronautics College founded in Nanjing in 1952; to the Aircraft Engineering Department of Xi’an Aeronautics College after the westward movement, and to the Aircraft Engineering Department of NPU in the university merging in 1957. The incorporation of the whole Air Force Engineering Department of the former Harbin Military Engineering Institute into NPU in 1970 significantly strengthened both the teaching and scientific research in Aircraft Engineering Department. The department adjustment of NPU in 2003 saw the merger of Civil Aviation Engineering Department of NPU (started in 1994) into the Aircraft Engineering Department, and hence the foundation of School of Aeronautics, NPU. Because of NPU’s self-portrait as “excels simultaneously in aeronautics, astronautics and marine technology and specifically based on aeronautics”, plus the practical situation of many other schools and departments of the schools originating from relevant disciplines of the former Aircraft Engineering Department, the School of Aeronautics was numbered “the first school”.
During its development of nearly eighty years, NPU has been playing a vital and irreplaceable role in the national high-level innovative talents training of aeronautics and astronautics, knowledge innovation of aeronautical science and technology, and social service.
Outstanding graduates from School of Aeronautics take the lead in the field of current China’s aeronautical engineering. Among them, are Mr. Qingwei Zhang, CPC Central Committee member, governor of Hebei Province, the former chairman of the board of China’s Commercial Aircraft Co. Ltd (COMAC), and top 10 Chinese outstanding youth; Mr. Wei Yang, the chief designer of China’s new-generation fighter aircraft; Mr. Changhong Tang, the chief designer of China’s large aircrafts; Mr. Yong Chen, the chief designer of China’s new-generation regional transport aircrafts (ARJ21) and so forth. Based on incomplete statistics, more than 40 alumni graduated after the 1970s worked as principal leaders or generals in the major enterprises in the field of aeronautics and astronautics in China and more than 150 graduates hold the post of administrative deputy or associate chief engineer. Successively the school developed 10 members of the Chinese Academy of Science and Academy of Engineering, 3 members of American Academy of Science or Engineering and International Astronautic Academy of Science, and 8 distinguished professors by the encouragement project of Cheung Kong Scholars set up by the ministry of education.
The school has made remarkable progress in scientific research and knowledge innovation of aeronautical science and technology with successively gaining 16 national science and technology awards, and 16 first prizes of the provincial or ministerial science and technology awards. Teachers and students of the school participated in almost all the major aircrafts and spacecrafts development of our country and serve as an important front-line force in overcoming difficulties and conquering obstacles in developments. More than 400 aircrafts of model J7E, the product of taking technological advantage in the cooperation with industries, have been fit out. Especially, the research team formed by teachers and graduate students of our school plays an irreplaceable role in the research and development of large passenger aircraft C919, large transport aircraft, new-generation fighter aircraft, near-space flight vehicles and other new-concept aircrafts, and consequently, exerted a profound impact on the entire national aeronautical industry.
Presently, School of Aeronautics has established its own “twelfth five-year” development plan with key points giving focus on, first, with the national civilian and military large aircraft projects, new-generation fighter projects, near-space flight vehicle and new-concept unmanned aerial vehicle projects being used as the traction, promoting the developmental level of the disciplines in the school; second, based on high-level faculty procession construction, making first-class team of both teaching and scientific research; third, with the emphasis on the construction of both the national aeronautics experimental teaching demonstration center and the experimental platform of graduates’ Innovative education, comprehensively improving the quality of students’ cultivation; fourth, upgrading the income level of faculty and staff; fifth, creating a new environment of high-level hardware, scientific research-friendly enviroment, and the harmonious development and improvement of the school’s faculty and staff.
Faced with the new opportunity of the great national development of aeronautics and astronautics and the new demand of the national education long-term development planning and implementation outline, now, the faculty and staff of School of Aeronautics, NPU, have devoted themselves with a more pressing sense of responsibility, a stronger spirit of reform and innovation and a more passionate working enthusiasm to the cultivation of new-generation leading talents in aeronautics and astronautics, new and original scientific and technological innovation in aeronautics and related fields, and the service in the main battlefield of national defense and economic construction.
School of Aeronautics, NPU, is marching forward with rock-solid spirit and heroic steps.