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Daniel Field

Stratoship designer

Engineering has led Daniel Field to work on everything from aircraft maintenance to a giant airship that travels around the edge of our atmosphere

Daniel loves coming up with creative engineering solutions, which is how he ended up designing a ‘stratoship’ that could provide mobile communications to remote areas. The helium-filled aircraft is designed for the stratosphere – a layer of our atmosphere that extends from six to 20 kilometres above the Earth’s surface. “It provides a satellite-like service to a fixed, targeted area,” Daniel explains.

The stratoship is remotely piloted and equipped with electric propellers powered by batteries and solar panels to control and direct its flight. It can stay in the air for up to a week!

Daniel and his daughter Lillian constructed the high-flying stratoship ‘envelope’ (a balloon the size of a basketball court) in their dining room.

Multi-skilled

Daniel started his career with a four-year apprenticeship in avionics and aircraft maintenance. Because he was interested in design, Daniel decided to study electronics at RMIT. This gave him a broad range of skills for future employment. While studying, he spent a semester in Germany on exchange. At the end of his degree, he went back to Germany to work on car braking systems as an intern, then got a job as a reliability engineer with a satellite company.

When he returned to Australia with his family, Daniel worked in several roles, including asset planning for communications and navigation projects with Airservices Australia. Now, he has his own business designing stratoships.

Focus on creativity

Daniel says he was drawn to engineering because it’s full of creativity and inventiveness. He even imagined he would get to design a flying car! “For me, that’s what real engineering is about,” he says.

And design isn’t the only engineering skill required for lighter-than-air vehicles. Wind prediction, atmospheric modelling and creating on-board AI, edge computing and image processing systems are also important.

Daniel’s study and career path to becoming a stratoship designer

  • Avionics and aircraft maintenance engineering apprenticeship, AAMS
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics) (Honours), RMIT
  • Reliability engineer, Tesat-Spacecom
  • Director and consulting engineer, Aerogetic
  • Senior engineering specialist, Airservices Australia
  • Managing director, The Stratoship Group
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