Message from Boot Camp Participants
Before attending the ARC-SCI Crash Team Boot Camp, most of the participants had high expectations and were looking forward to an opportunity to work side-by-side with experienced people in the field of crash testing. Others were not sure what they had gotten themselves into and wondered if the benefit was going to justify the cost (expensive, but well worth it, read on). While the boot camp experience is not for the passive or casual member, the long hours, hard work, and active participation met participants’ high expectations and quickly erased any doubts about the benefits of the experience. The experience has delivered what we believe will be long term friendships and given us one valuable tool for our collision analysis toolbox.
This experience was a great way for the Boot Camp members to learn “hands-on” the necessary skills and equipment required for crash testing. Learning from highly skilled individuals who have already made most of the mistakes, (but not all mistakes, as evidenced by an unexpected airbag deployment Rusty Haight and Kent Boots experienced, or an “unplanned” crash of a phantom driver driven vehicle) was invaluable.
Stephen Plourd working on one of the test vehicles
Learning about the equipment and instrumentation the ARC-CSI Crew’s use and its abilities and limitations was an invaluable asset from this experience. The member of the Boot Camp Crash Team would overwhelmingly recommend this experience to anyone who has an in-depth interest related to crash testing, is willing to work hard, and has a hands-on attitude.
What did we learn?
We learned what goes in to planning, executing and presenting a crash test – much more effort than you would believe or understand without this experience.
We learned that while there may seem to be down time as a spectator, when you are on the track, down time does not exist. Between getting vehicles into position, getting them instrumented, crashing them, collecting data, removing instruments, and then repeating the procedure seven or eight times in one day, there is no down time. That doesn’t even begin to address dealing with all of the mechanical issues that old cars always have! In order to crash them, you have to get them to run and drive first.
Lastly, we learned that you will get out of this experience what you put into it. If you choose to stay on the sidelines and do the minimum or nothing just to be able to put this on your resume, you are wasting your time and the team’s time. If you choose to get fully involved and pitch in wherever needed, including weighing cars, pushing cars around, drilling holes or whatever else is necessary, you’ll have a great experience and learn more than you can imagine. You may gain a new respect or appreciation for team members from outside your area of expertise (for instance, on our team, some engineers gained a new appreciation and respect for law enforcement and some law enforcement officer developed a new attitude about engineers!). If you are lucky, you will also make some friends and great contacts along the way!
Much like the military recruit’s feeling of accomplishment on graduation day, the members of the inaugural Crash Team Boot Camp left the experience with a sense of accomplishment and lessons learned that will last a life time.
So, were the hours long, the work a bit dirty? YES!
Did we each learn something from related fields that we hadn’t worked on before? YES!
Did we enjoy each other’s company and solving problems on the fly? YES!
But overall was it worth it? Well, was it recruit? - “Sir, yes sir!!!”