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UWAL Employment as a wind tunnel Crew Member (UW undergraduates only!). Part-time during A/W/Sp quarters and near full-time in summers.

The University of Washington Aeronautical Laboratory (UWAL) offers undergraduate engineering students a unique opportunity to add to their education while earning an income. By working at UWAL on the wind tunnel Crew, you will gain valuable industry-related, hands-on experience.

Default hours of operation are weekdays 7:30 AM until 4:30 PM. Sometimes customers contract with us for longer shifts that go into the evening, or they may contract for testing on weekends and holidays. We attempt (usually successfully) to keep the test schedule clear during Winter Break. During Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, crew members are scheduled for about 14 hours per week and work schedules are set around classes. If testing has to be scheduled on holidays or during breaks, sign up sheets are used, with unfilled shifts assigned as necessary. During the Summer, we require crew members to work a normal 40-hour work week, although exceptions for a class or two are usually granted.

New Crew Members quickly learn many operations tasks. But gaining the skills and knowledge of at least the basics of operations and computing requires several months of on-the-job-training. Therefore we like to have you stay with us for at least two years and we rarely hire anyone less than 90 credits away from graduation.

Job Description:

Organizational job title: Crew Member.
Alternative job titles: Student Engineer, Engineering Technician, Test Technician.
UW HR job title and job class code: Student Assistant, 0875.

Work with a team of other Crew Members to perform aerodynamic tests for customers. The position has elements of operations and computing. Examples of operations include running the fans, data acquisition, installing the model in the test section, maintaining the wind tunnel, and shop work. Examples of computing are writing test reports, trouble-shooting VisualBASIC computer codes and reducing data. The job requires the ability to carry tasks through to completion with little supervision and the ability to maintain a courteous professional attitude in a customer oriented environment.

Summary of Eligibility:
Official employment requirements are on the job application form. Those requirements include the following:

  • US citizenship
  • You must be enrolled at the UW as a matriculated undergraduate for at least 6 credits per autumn/winter/spring quarter.
  • There are a few physical requirements consistent with job duties.
  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements are incorporated in the application form.
  • Legal signature on the application form.


Hiring cycles usually happen each Winter. UWAL will set a two or three week timeframe during which employment applications are accepted.
Reviewing applications, interviews, and reference checking generally takes three to five weeks, depending on the demands of whatever other tests or tasks happen to be going on at the same time.

Application deadlines are posted on the application webpage (link below). Also watch for flyers posted in various engineering buildings late Fall Quarter or early Winter Quarter.

Link to Application Page

Running the tunnel

Model flow visualization

Model installation