by Tony Rubino
F-22 Combined Test Force

6/16/2010 – EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Fresno State engineering students gained valuable flight test experience as they demonstrated their unmanned aerial vehicle project June 11 to several Air Force Flight Test Center engineering representatives.

The Lyles College of Engineering at CSU Fresno received funding to stimulate interest in technologies and techniques that would prepare students for careers in test and development upon graduation.

This project helped the students understand requirements, then develop and execute a plan and associated tests and then test against the requirements. They then determined if the requirements were met and documented the results. Future work could include conducting research for future applications and implementation.

The faculty and students organized and defined the project during fall of 2008. The team was composed of sophomore through graduate students studying in the fields of electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering. Students researched various motors, planes, power sources, sensors, video equipment, and data acquisition systems before deciding which equipment would be suitable for integration into the project. The students encountered many problems during the course of the UAV project that required them to systematically identify and understand each of the problems as well as implement the best solutions.

The project team had several questions about UAV technologies and sensors during the project and said they appreciated the technical support they received from base workers during the Fresno State UAV project.

During their visit, students were able to meet and interact with the AFFTC engineers that had given them guidance on the UAV project. At the conclusion of the phase one demonstration in June 2009, which included radio-controlled flight, students expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to gain invaluable engineering experience while participating in the project and having a chance to demonstrate their UAV at Edwards.

This demonstration of the second phase of the project included an onboard laser tracker plus additional environmental sensors and totally autonomous flight.

After the Fresno State UAV demonstration, students were given the opportunity to learn about some of the flight test activities going on at the AFFTC. Led by Tony Rubino, F-22 Combined Test Force chief engineer, CSU Fresno students were treated to tours of the 452nd Global Vigilance CTF, the Benefield Anechoic Facility and received a planeside briefing at an F-22.

During the students’ lunch break, weapons engineer Leslie Van Peteghem gave a presentation encompassing the various engineering opportunities at the AFFTC including college internship positions, graduate school funding and engineering careers.

By Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.