This paper describes an undergraduate program at the USAF Academy that uses the threads of engine design and research to teach and reinforce the fundamentals of gas turbine engines. Each year approximately twelve cadets who have chosen to specialize in the propulsion track of the Aeronautical Engineering major enter a five-course sequence that includes 1.) engineering thermodynamics, 2.) intro to propulsion (advanced cycle analysis), 3.) advanced propulsion (focus on engine component performance), 4.) intro to aircraft and propulsion system design, and 5.) aircraft engine design. During the fifth course, the cadets perform a preliminary engine design to meet various specified performance requirements unique to that semester. The cadets must select the engine cycle, size the engine considering installation effects, design the major components, select the materials, and consider safety, reliability, maintainability, and cost issues. The cadets then make an oral and written design presentation to a group from government and industry. In addition to the course work and the detailed design project, the cadets take a course in experimental methodology that is centered around an actual ongoing research project. The cadets are teamed up with experienced faculty researchers who lead them through each step in the research process. Examples of past research projects include: boundary layer separation on linear cascade blades, enhanced heat transfer in internal blade passages, and high-cycle fatigue forcing functions. Facilities that are available for cadet propulsion research include: a linear cascade wind tunnel, a Garrett F109 turbofan engine, a Continental J69 turbojet engine, and an Allison T63 turboshaft engine. Cadets are also encouraged to participate in a six-week research experience at one of several government, industry, or university laboratories. Finally, cadets can continue their participation with an independent study project. The design and research threads that are woven through the course work equip the cadets for success in graduate school or for making immediate contributions in the USAF propulsion community.

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