Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team soars at nationals with several top ten individual finishes, places 13th overall

By Julee Cobb

Members of the Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team who competed at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON National Championship pose with their individual awards, from left: Christopher Pennington, Christopher Jansen, Matthew Katzke, Maddie Perry, Nicholas Terrapin, Jacob Mitchell, Caleb Strahm, Chris Messing, Brendan Borcherding, Brian Kimani, and Jason Rohlf.

The flight team on the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus has landed several individual awards and an overall 13th place finish after competing at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, or NIFA, Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference, or SAFECON, National Championship.

Held May 9-14 this year at Ohio State University, the annual competition brings together the top collegiate aviation teams from across the country to battle it out in a variety of tests both on the ground and in the air. Competing against 27 other colleges and universities made up of more than 250 aviators, the Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team scored four Top 10 awards in individual events: first in message drop, third in certified flight instructor, third in instrument simulated flight and eighth in crew resource management/line oriented flight training. Additionally, the team placed 13th overall and senior Chris Messing won Regional Top Pilot.

“I am impressed by the dedication and perseverance of each member of the flight team to do their best during nationals and am inspired by the way in which they supported one another from practice to competition,” said Ben Jaffee, flight team faculty adviser and senior assistant chief flight instructor at Kansas State Polytechnic. “The flight team represented the university well and while many of them took home honors, they all improved their aviation knowledge and skills and got a chance to meet and network with the next generation of aviation professionals.”

In October 2016, the Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team placed third in their region at NIFA SAFECON, which secured their place at nationals. The team will now reconvene when the fall semester begins and hold tryouts for the 12 open spots. Jaffee says it is not a requirement for students to be a professional pilot major in order to make the team.

“Any student enrolled in a four-year degree program is welcome to join the team – a passion for aviation and aircraft can go a long way on ground events and to compete in flight events, students need to hold at least a private pilot certificate.”

Along with competing annually, flight team members also use their club as way to give back to the community and to connect children with aviation. Throughout the year the team is a part of several events like the All-University Open House and Candy Canes and Airplanes. It also conducts two aviation camps for kids and one for high school students in the summer.

The Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team’s individual events and placings at the 2017 NIFA SAFECON National Championship are as follows:

Nicholas Terrapin, junior, Alma, first in message drop, eighth in the crew resource management/line oriented flight training event, 45th in navigation, 75th in aircraft recognition, 104th in power-off landing, 105th in short field landing and 108th in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation; Caleb Strahm, freshman, Sabetha, 35th in power-off landing, 38th in message drop, 39th in ground trainer, 45th in navigation, 79th in computer accuracy and 107th in short field landing; Brendan Borcherding, sophomore, Salina, 68th in computer accuracy, 93rd in message drop, 104th in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation and 109th in power-off landing; Chris Messing, senior, Wichita, eighth in the crew resource management/line oriented flight training event, 14th in power-off landing, 25th in ground trainer, 33rd in the aircraft preflight inspection event, 55th in navigation, 70th in short field landing, 96th in aircraft recognition and 115th in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation; and Maddie Perry, sophomore, Wichita, 38th in message drop and 55th in navigation.

Jacob Mitchell, junior, Foxfield, Colorado, third in the certified flight instructor event, 36th in the aircraft preflight inspection event, 64th in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation, 65th in short field landing, 66th in navigation, 81st in computer accuracy and 93rd in message drop; Jason Rohlf, freshman, Tipton, Iowa, 37th in aircraft recognition; Brian Kimani, freshman, Middle River, Maryland, 69th in message drop; Christopher Pennington, senior, El Paso, Texas, first in message drop, 35th in aircraft recognition; Christopher Jansen, sophomore, The Woodlands, Texas, third in the instrument simulated flight event, 64th in computer accuracy, 102nd in aircraft recognition; and Matthew Katzke, junior, Waukesha, Wisconsin, 66th in navigation, 69th in message drop, 82nd in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation and 97th in computer accuracy.

For more information on the flight team, including sponsorship, contact Jaffee at 785-826-2978 or bjaffee@k-state.edu.

Kansas State Polytechnic UAS student competes in first-ever collegiate drone racing competition

By Julee Cobb

Michael Wilson, a junior in the UAS flight and operations degree option, competed in the nation’s first collegiate drone racing competition.

The list for unmanned aircraft applications continues to grow – the technology is now being utilized as a racing sport and a student from the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus has participated in the first-ever collegiate competition.

Michael Wilson, a junior in the unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, flight and operations degree option, Iola, Kansas, was the only student from the state of Kansas to be selected for the inaugural Collegiate Drone Racing National Championship held April 15 at Purdue University. Representing Kansas State Polytechnic, he joined nearly 50 other pilots from schools across the country using UAS to battle it out on a complex obstacle course. The national competition was hosted by Purdue University’s student drone club, who wanted to create an event that promotes UAS education, and featured more than $15,000 worth of equipment and prizes for the winner.

Wilson says each participant was required to build the unmanned aircraft that was being raced. In each of the heats, the pilots flew around the course using first person view – cameras mounted on the aircraft to see where they were going – attempting to score as many laps as possible in two minutes. The top 16 pilots with the most laps moved on to the finals, which a student from Georgia Tech eventually won.

Wilson competing at the first-ever Collegiate Drone Racing National Championship.

Though Wilson didn’t bring home the national championship title, one of his professors, Christopher Senn, says he is “hands-down one of the best UAS flight instructors at Kansas State Polytechnic.” Students can act as a flight instructor for other UAS students once receiving a certain rating.

“Michael holds an extensive amount of knowledge in unmanned aircraft systems and is one of my top students,” said Senn. “Every chance he gets, he is outside flying his aircraft, and as a flight instructor, he has successfully taught a number of other students how to proficiently operate multirotor unmanned aircraft in a safe manner.”

After graduation next year, Wilson plans to work either as a UAS test pilot for various industries or as a UAS pilot performing inspections.

To learn more about Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS academic degree options, contact the option coordinator, Michael Most at 785-826-2681 or mtmost@ksu.edu. For professional UAS training offerings contact the campus’s professional education and outreach office at 785-826-2633 or profed@k-state.edu. To inquire about UAS opportunities with the campus’s Applied Aviation Research Center, contact Kurt Carraway, UAS executive director of the center, at 785-826-7170 or kcarraway@k-state.edu.

Kansas State Polytechnic awarded airport improvement grant from Kansas Department of Transportation

By Julee Cobb

The grant announcement was made March 29 during a ceremony in the aviation maintenance hangar at Kansas State Polytechnic. Pictured, from left, is Dr. Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research, Eric Shappee, aviation professor and director of flight ops, Dean Verna Fitzsimmons, Richard Carlson, Kansas secretary of transportation, and Merrill Atwater, director of aviation for KDOT.

The Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, which is connected to the Salina Regional Airport, is the recipient of an airport improvement grant.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has selected Kansas State Polytechnic for a Kansas Airport Improvement Program grant totaling $428,990 to help renovate portions of the campus’s and airport’s shared area known as the ramp. The award was announced March 29 by Richard Carlson, transportation secretary, and Merrill Atwater, director of aviation for KDOT, during a ceremony in Kansas State Polytechnic’s aviation maintenance hangar.

“Aviation is a cornerstone of this campus that dates back more than 50 years and we have proudly continued that focus through the current professional pilot, airport management, aviation maintenance management and UAS programs,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of Kansas State Polytechnic, at the announcement. “With this grant, we can keep providing a safe environment to our aviation students, CFIs, faculty and staff as well as the public. It also allows us to keep working toward our 2025 goals, which include improving facilities and infrastructure.”

Kansas State Polytechnic was selected as one of 26 recipients around the state for airport improvements. The grant will be used to refurbish portions of the engine run-up area and taxi routs located on the campus’s ramp and connected to the Salina Regional Airport. The combined total value of the approval projects is estimated at $4.45 million, with Kansas State Polytechnic receiving the third largest amount.

“It is imperative that the ramp area is maintained because that will reduce damage to our state and visiting aircraft from ground debris,” said Eric Shappee, aviation professor and director of flight operations for Kansas State Polytechnic. “This ultimately results in saving our students money and the campus additional man hours as well as supporting economic development in regards to campus and city guests.”

Tissa Salter, an instructor in technical communication, provided her expertise in writing the grant and Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research and engagement, Joe Harrison, director of facilities, and Dean Fitzsimmons, also contributed to the process. The grant is expected to be dispersed during the state’s fiscal year of 2018.

Kansas State Polytechnic UAS professor keynote speaker at Kansas Natural Resources conference

By Julee Cobb

Another industry is seeing the potential of unmanned aircraft systems and has asked a professor at Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus to serve as educator on the possible applications.

David Burchfield, a teaching assistant professor in the UAS program at Kansas State Polytechnic, was the keynote speaker at the 2017 Kansas Natural Resources GIS Technical Meeting on April 6.

David Burchfield, a teaching assistant professor in the UAS program at Kansas State Polytechnic, was the keynote speaker at the 2017 Kansas Natural Resources GIS Technical Meeting on April 6. Burchfield, who specializes in UAS remote sensing data acquisition and processing, presented to geographic information systems, or GIS, professionals from across the state. His discussion, titled “Unmanned Aircraft Systems as a Geospatial Tool for Natural Resources,” explored how UAS, or drones, can be valuably utilized in GIS mapping and data collection.

“Professionals in this industry are often looking for new ways to collect aerial data that can be incorporated into geographic information systems for many different purposes, and UAS represent an exciting, low cost approach to collecting that data,” said Burchfield.

The conference, now in its second year, is a venue for GIS professionals in natural resources conservation to collaborate on potential projects, share technical knowledge, build professional and organizational relationships and learn from other natural resources GIS professionals. Along with Burchfield giving the gathering’s keynote address, there were also a variety of presenters from state, federal, tribal, local and non-governmental organizations.

“We really enjoyed having David give the keynote at our meeting,” said Erika Stanley, a representative from the Kansas Water Office. “We asked him to speak because unmanned aircraft systems is receiving a lot of attention in the GIS field and they have so many potential applications. David’s expertise in the use of UAS platforms for the collection of natural resource data and his experience with forestry applications in Kansas was spot on for the audience of this meeting.”

Prior to arriving at Kansas State Polytechnic, Burchfield worked as an image analyst, GIS specialist and UAS pilot for AgPixel in Des Moines, Iowa, creating aerial map products primarily for the agricultural industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geography from Brigham Young University and a master’s in geography from K-State, where he was involved with a multidisciplinary team of scientists that was exploring agricultural and natural resources applications of UAS-based remote sensing. Also while he was a K-State graduate student, Burchfield worked at the Kansas Forest Service in Manhattan as their GIS specialist.

To learn more about Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS academic degree options, contact the option coordinator, Michael Most at 785-826-2681 or mtmost@ksu.edu. For professional training offerings, including customizable courses, contact the campus’s professional education and outreach office at 785-826-2633 or profed@k-state.edu. To inquire about UAS opportunities with the Applied Aviation Research Center, contact Kurt Carraway, UAS executive director of Kansas State University’s Applied Aviation Research Center, at 785-826-7170 or kcarraway@k-state.edu.

Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program expands Part 107 short course to Dallas, May 12-14

By Julee Cobb

Travis Balthazor, UAS flight operations manager for Kansas State University’s Applied Aviation Research Center, prepares students for the written FAA exam during a Part 107 training course.

The nationally ranked unmanned aircraft systems program on Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus is taking its Part 107 preparation course on the road and heading south.

Designed to help professionals successfully complete the Federal Aviation Administration’s new remote pilot in command certification, Kansas State Polytechnic is offering a UAS commercial pilot training course in Dallas from Friday, May 12, through Sunday, May 14. It will focus specifically on preparing attendees to pass the FAA’s Part 107 written test, which is required for anyone who wants to operate an unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes and does not have a manned pilot certificate. The UAS commercial pilot training course complements the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual conference, called AUVSI Xponential 2017, which is in Dallas earlier that week.

“Since the UAS program was established on K-State’s Polytechnic Campus 10 years ago, it’s been aim toward helping broaden the commercialization of the industry, so expanding our reach to another state is a significant contribution to that goal,” said Kurt Carraway, UAS executive director of Kansas State University’s Applied Aviation Research Center, which is on the Polytechnic Campus. “This course is perfect for any professional who wants to fly an unmanned aircraft for commercial operations and needs to pass the FAA’s Part 107 exam because it explores complex topics covered in the test that those outside the aviation industry might not understand. It also provides a personalized experience where interested UAS operators can connect with our program experts and have their questions answered immediately.”

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Kansas State Polytechnic’s Civic Luncheon Lecture Series to feature presentation on Muslims in American society

By Julee Cobb

Moussa Elbayoumy, co-founder and current board chairman of the Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, will lead a presentation on “Muslims in American Society” at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus on April 13.

Exploring Muslim culture and its contributions to the United States will be the focus of the latest Civic Luncheon Lecture Series offered by Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus.

The presentation, “Muslims in American Society,” will feature speaker Moussa Elbayoumy at noon Thursday, April 13 in the campus’s College Center conference room. Elbayoumy is the co-founder and current board chairman of the Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations – the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Elbayoumy will lead a discussion on the country’s current environment and how it’s impacting the Muslim community as well as notable Muslim contributions to America’s history and modern society. Gerald Gillespie, a retired professor and current member of the Spirituality Resource Center of Salina, will act as moderator.

Elbayoumy is a native of Egypt and graduated from Ain Shams University, a medical school, in Cairo in 1980. He also holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Maryland and along with his activist role, is the president and CEO of Healthcare Innovations Consultants, Inc. Prior to starting his medical advisory practice in 2012, Elbayoumy worked for numerous hospitals, particularly in the cardiovascular arena, including serving as director of cardiology at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.; director of the St. Francis Heart and Vascular Institute in Topeka; and vice president of heart and vascular services at Adventist Healthcare in Rockville, Maryland.

The Civic Luncheon Lecture Series is free and the public is invited. Attendees are welcome to eat during the discussion, and can bring their own lunch or purchase a lunch at the K-State Café and then bring their tray into the conference room.

Greg Stephens, an associate professor of communication and business management at Kansas State Polytechnic, created the Civic Luncheon Lecture Series to provide the campus and the community with an opportunity to learn about and participate in various current events impacting local issues. For more information on the series, contact Stephens at 785-819-6887 or gregs@k-state.edu.

Andrew G. Talbott, 2005 graduate of the Polytechnic Campus, named Kansas State University Alumni Fellow

Andrew G. Talbott, a 2005 graduate of the professional pilot program on the Polytechnic Campus, is selected as one of this year’s Kansas State University Alumni Fellows.

Andrew G. Talbott is one of 12 distinguished Kansas State University alumni honored as 2017 Alumni Fellows.

Talbott is an Alumni Fellow for the College of Technology and Aviation, which is located on K-State’s Polytechnic Campus, and will be honored during a celebration April 19-21. He will return to his alma mater to present guest lectures and discuss current trends while meeting informally with students and faculty.

Talbott, along with the other 11 Alumni Fellows, was chosen for the award based on his high level of professional accomplishment and distinguished service within his respective career. Based in Hanford, California, he is a strike fighter pilot for the U.S. Navy and a former member of the Blue Angels. Talbott has accumulated more than 3,600 flight hours and has 335 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include a Meritorious Service Medal, a Strike Flight Air Medal, four Navy and Marine Corps achievement medals and various personal and unit awards. He holds the rank of lieutenant commander.

Prior to joining the Navy, Talbott was a flight instructor for K-State for two years and earned a bachelor’s degree in airway science in 2005 from K-State Salina, now Kansas State Polytechnic. A native of Sedan, Kansas, Talbott completed two deployments aboard the USS Enterprise and flew in support of Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom. He and his wife, Missy, have two children, Noah and Cora.

For more information about the Alumni Fellows program, including a full listing of the 2017 Alumni Fellows, visit www.k-state.com/fellows.

Kansas State Polytechnic professor selected as aviation maintenance educator of the year

By Julee Cobb

Andrew Smith, professor of aviation maintenance management at Kansas State Polytechnic, has been chosen as the 2017 Ivan D. Livi Aviation Maintenance Educator of the Year by the Aviation Technician Education Council.

Andrew Smith, professor of aviation maintenance management at Kansas State Polytechnic, has been chosen as the 2017 Ivan D. Livi Aviation Maintenance Educator of the Year by the Aviation Technician Education Council.

An aviation professor on Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus is being acknowledged for his work in the classroom with a national educator of the year award.

Andrew Smith, a 13-year veteran of the aviation maintenance management program at Kansas State Polytechnic, has been selected as the 2017 Ivan D. Livi Aviation Maintenance Educator of the Year. The honor is presented annually by the Aviation Technician Education Council, or ATEC, to recognize the outstanding achievements of a collegiate professor or instructor in the aviation maintenance technology field. Presented since 1990, Smith will receive his award on April 1 at the organization’s annual conference in Seattle.

“Andrew is an incredible resource for ATEC,” said Crystal Maguire, executive director of the organization. “As longtime chair of the regulatory committee, he is the go-to person for regulatory compliance questions for instructors and administrators across the country. His approachable personality and willingness to assist, coupled with his knowledge and experience of Federal Aviation Administration certification requirements, are an invaluable asset for the entire aviation maintenance technical school community.”

“I love working with students every day and helping them develop into aviation professionals ready to serve and lead, so being recognized with this special award is a true honor,” Smith said. “I am thankful to those who nominated me and to the selection committee who chose me out of a pool of deserving candidates.”

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Kansas State Polytechnic elects new student body president, vice president

By Julee Cobb

Christian Coker, left, a sophomore in professional pilot from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Nicholas Ramirez, a freshman in professional pilot from Wichita, were elected as the 2017-2018 student body vice president and president of Kansas State University's Polytechnic Campus.

Christian Coker, left, a sophomore in professional pilot from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Nicholas Ramirez, a freshman in professional pilot from Wichita, were elected as the 2017-2018 student body vice president and president of Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus.

The student body of Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus has elected its new undergraduate leadership.

Nicholas Ramirez, freshman in professional pilot, Wichita, has been chosen as student body president of Kansas State Polytechnic. Christian Coker, sophomore in professional pilot, Tulsa, Oklahoma, will serve as student body vice president. When the two take office in the Student Governing Association, or SGA, on Tuesday, March 28, they will begin implementing their platform of advocating for students’ needs and increasing student involvement on campus.

“I believe students on this campus deserve to have a SGA that really cares about them, their challenges and their ideas. It is important to Christian and me that students feel like their voices matter and that we’re here to represent them,” Ramirez said. “Despite having a little bit of a learning curve, I am honored and humbled that my fellow students have faith in me to lead their student government.”

“We just want to encourage students to make the most of their four years in college, which Nicholas and I believe includes engagement outside of the classroom,” said Coker. “Whether it’s a club, activity, campus job or even SGA, students will make connections and build friendships when they are actively involved, which will result in a better college experience and better campus environment.”

Ramirez, who graduated from Andover High School, got started in SGA last semester when he acted as a senator for the aviation program. Though initially he didn’t have any intention of running for president when the elections were first announced, he received an outpouring of support that swayed his decision.

“I was hesitant to run in the beginning, but was given tremendous encouragement from my professors, advisor and other senators. I also was inspired by the hard work and leadership of the current president and vice president,” Ramirez said. “After a lot of consideration and prayer, I decided to take a leap of faith in the hope I could demonstrate my passion for the campus and bring about the change students desire.”

In addition, Ramirez is a peer tutor for the residence halls, was a member of the Women in Aviation student club in fall 2016 and is on the Honor Council. He decided to pursue a degree in aviation because his father is a pilot for American Airlines and he has always loved flying. After graduating, Ramirez’s ultimate career goal is to sit beside his father in the cockpit of an airplane as his first officer.

Coker, a graduate of Broken Arrow High School, was also an aviation senator in SGA last semester and teamed up with Ramirez on the ballot after his running mate dropped out. He works at the front desk of his residence hall and would hear students bring up valid ideas and issues that he decided he wanted to represent. Along with student government, Coker was previously a member of K-State’s ROTC program and hopes to start a running club on campus. After graduation, he wants to shift his career focus to corporate aviation while continuing to fly as a hobby.

Senator positions in arts, sciences and business, aviation, engineering technology and social work/family studies and human services also were selected during the 2017-2018 election.

Wildcat Safety Stand Down: Kansas State Polytechnic hosts aviation safety practices event March 31

WildcatSafetyStandDownBy Julee Cobb

From advice on mastering an aircraft to insight into upset recovery, the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus will be hosting an aviation seminar focused on strengthening flight safety within the industry.

Wildcat Safety Stand Down will be 4-8:30 p.m. Friday, March 31, in the College Center Conference Room at Kansas State Polytechnic and will feature presentations from four industry experts with a variety of backgrounds and proficiencies. Initiated by the campus’s nationally recognized flight team, this half-day seminar is designed for aviation professionals and general aviation enthusiasts to gain enhanced awareness and knowledge of safety practices while networking with each other and learning more about the aviation program at Kansas State Polytechnic.

“One of the flight team’s goals is to contribute to the growth and advancement of the aviation industry,” said Matthew Katzke, Waukesha, Wisconsin, a senior in professional pilot and flight team secretary/treasurer. “For many years, we have been able to share our knowledge of and enthusiasm for flying with the younger generation through summer programs, and now we want to expand our reach and connect with adults and professionals in the industry. We really hope this will be a helpful event that strengthens safety within the aviation community.”

During Wildcat Safety Stand Down, participants will experience four safety sessions covering a variety of different areas: Tom Turner, executive director of the Air Safety Foundation at the American Bonanza Society will present on mastering your aircraft; Seth Short, an aviator in the U.S. Navy and 2005 alumnus of Kansas State Polytechnic’s professional pilot program, will speak about safety culture in the military; John “Dusty” Dowd, owner of Syracuse Flying Service and an air race pilot, will discuss safety from an agricultural and air race perspective; and Troy Brockway, professor of aviation at Kansas State Polytechnic, will present on implementing a safety management system in a collegiate or training environment and upset recovery.

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