Reaching new heights: Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team selects its first-ever female captain

By Julee Cobb

Maddie Perry, junior in professional pilot, Wichita, has been selected as the first-ever female captain of the Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team.

The flight team on the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus has a brand-new leader and for the first time in the student organization’s history, it is a woman.

Maddie Perry, Wichita, junior in professional pilot, was selected to serve as team captain at the recent annual officer elections. She is currently the only woman on the Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team, which is comprised of 25 members ranging from freshmen to seniors. Perry also is the first female to earn the title of captain in the group’s more than 20-year existence. As the team’s leader, Perry will be in charge of fundraising, managing community outreach events, such as their youth aviation summer programs, and preparing members for regional and national collegiate competitions.

“It is such an honor to be chosen captain of the flight team by my peers because it demonstrates to me that they respect my ideas and vision for the team and trust that I will be a responsible and motivating leader,” Perry said. “I promise to work hard every day so that I meet their expectations. It also makes me proud to know that I am the first woman ever to be the team’s captain. I hope to use my position to encourage other female students to get involved in flight team as well as be a good example for young girls in the field of aviation.”

Along with adding more women to the flight team roster, Perry would like to see students beyond the aviation program join the organization. She says other collegiate flight teams have members who are engineering and math majors because they can make strong contributions to the competition events that don’t involve flying. She also wants to elevate the team’s connection with other student clubs and organizations on campus as well as with the Salina community, in particularly with youth; increase the team’s industry sponsorship and fundraising; and create an overall welcoming and encouraging environment.

To be considered for flight team captain, students must meet certain qualifications, including being an active part of the team for the past competition year, having participated in the most recent competition and having been to a minimum of one competition. During elections, which also consist of voting on secretary/treasurer, safety officer and student coach, the captain candidates give a presentation to flight team members on their involvement and accomplishments, goals for the organization and why they are best suited for the position. Members then have an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates before casting anonymous ballots.

“I have watched Maddie mentor and tutor other aviation students as well as contribute to the growth of aviation education in our local schools by working with the next generation,” said Benjamin Jaffee, senior assistant chief flight instructor and flight team faculty advisor at Kansas State Polytechnic. “This is why I was excited for her and our members when I learned she had been selected. Maddie is a natural-born leader with an authentic love for aviation, so I know she will do an amazing job leading the flight team.”

In addition to flight team, Perry manages one of the wings of a residence hall on campus as a resident assistant. Currently, she is working on her certified flight instructor rating and plans to graduate in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in professional pilot. Her ultimate career goal is to be an airline pilot, starting at a regional carrier and then moving to a major airline.

Perry’s interest in aviation was inspired by her father, who is a private pilot. She began flying with him in the family’s Cessna 182 Skylane when she was in middle school, first for enjoyment and later learning how to take the controls.

After hearing that she was selected the next captain – and first female captain – of the Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team, Perry said both of her parents were proud and excited, adding that her dad “is on cloud nine.”

Kansas State Polytechnic offering aircraft certification courses for industry professionals

By Julee Cobb

Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is expanding its offerings in aviation to provide much-needed education for professionals in the field of aircraft certification.

Kansas State Polytechnic is launching a professional development program centered on the understanding and application of Federal Aviation Administration regulations and processes used in aircraft type and production certification. The courses will be taught as a combination of online and in person, with instruction beginning in January 2018 for the first offering. After completion, which can be achieved in one year, students will receive a certificate from Kansas State Polytechnic’s professional education and outreach office and have the opportunity to earn a total of 180 professional development hours.
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Unmanned aircraft systems senior lands back-to-back internships with NASA

By Julee Cobb

Kendy Edmonds, senior in UAS flight and operations and UAS design and integration, Valley Falls, is interning with NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, during the fall 2017 semester. This is Edmonds’ second internship with the space exploration entity.

Kendy Edmonds, a senior at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, is expanding her collegiate experience to include back-to-back internships with the nation’s best-known entity for space exploration.

Edmonds, Valley Falls, who is double majoring in unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, flight and operations and UAS design and integration, was selected for a fall internship at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, after completing a summer stint at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. She is using her aviation background to help NASA with mission planning, procedural development and components testing, all in an effort to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System, or NAS.

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K-State Polytechnic to be part of Kansas Air Tour

Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus is to be part of the 2017 Fly Kansas Air Tour. It takes off from Wellington on Thursday, September 28, for a three-day, 10-city celebration of Kansas aviation. This year’s tour is presented by the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education and the Kansas Department of Transportation and will promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education as well as highlight the benefits of local airports in Kansas.

Stop by the local airports listed below to visit K-State Polytechnic and see planes up close and talk to pilots to learn about the role of aviation in Kansas.

The tour is scheduled to visit the following airports:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

 Wellington

  • 8 a.m.             Aircraft Arrival
  • 10:30 a.m.     Departure

 Liberal

  • 12:30 p.m.     Aircraft Arrival
  • 2:30 p.m.       Departure

Dodge City

  • 3:30 p.m.        Aircraft Arrival
  • 4:30 p.m.        Departure

Hays

  • 5:30 p.m.        Aircraft Arrival

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

 Hays

  • 10:00 a.m.     Departure

 Concordia

  • 11:00 a.m.     Aircraft Arrival
  • 1:00 p.m.        Departure

Atchison

  • 2:15 p.m.        Aircraft Arrival
  • 4:00 p.m.        Departure

New Century

  • 4:30 p.m.        Aircraft Arrival

 SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

 New Century

  • 9:30 a.m.       Departure

Pittsburg

  • 10:30 a.m.     Aircraft Arrival
  • 12:30 p.m.     Departure

Independence

  • 1 p.m.             Aircraft Arrival
  • 3 p.m.             Departure

Benton

  • 4 p.m.             Aircraft Arrival

Gross receives Kansas State Polytechnic’s 2017 Marchbanks award

by Kimberly Bird and Julee Cobb

Bill Gross, professor of aviation, is the recipient of Kansas State Polytechnic’s 2017 Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.

Bill Gross, Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus aviation professor who has received certification as a master flight instructor, has been named the 2017 Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence recipient.

The award was established more than 30 years ago to commemorate a faculty member’s commitment in the classroom, service to students and overall merit as a teacher.

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Airport management, UAS students place second in national airport design competition

By Julee Cobb

Airport management and unmanned aircraft systems students at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus performed a proof of concept at the Kit Carson County Airport as part of their research proposal, “Airport Imagery and Geospatial Data Collection Through the Use of UAS,” which placed second in the Airport Cooperative Research Program’s national University Design Competition for Addressing Airport Needs. From left to right: Daniel Melia, Kit Carson County Airport manager; Hsin Huang, senior in airport management; Preston Renfro, May 2017 bachelor’s graduate in unmanned aircraft systems; Ian Bonsall, May 2017 bachelor’s graduate in airport management; Trevor Witt, data analyst in the Applied Aviation Research Center; David Burchfield, UAS teaching assistant professor and degree option coordinator; Chris Senn, UAS teaching assistant professor; and Elliot Rogers, May 2017 bachelor’s graduate in airport management.

Airport management and unmanned aircraft systems students from the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus are receiving national recognition for their interdisciplinary research on a current airport industry challenge.

The Airport Cooperative Research Program, which is managed by the Transportation Research Board and sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration, has selected the team of Kansas State Polytechnic students as second place winners in its annual University Design Competition for Addressing Airport Needs. The five students submitted a project examining an alternative to typical aerial data collection methods at airports titled, “Airport Imagery and Geospatial Data Collection Through the Use of UAS.”

The contest, now in its 11th year, invites collegiate students from across the country to propose innovative designs and practical solutions to various airport issues facing the industry today. All of the proposals, which do not have to originate from an aviation-related degree program, were entered into one of four categories in the competition — Airport Operation and Maintenance, Runway Safety/Runway Incursions/Runway Excursions, Airport Environmental Interactions, and Airport Management and Planning — and awards went to the top three schools of each group. Kansas State Polytechnic took second in the Airport Operation and Maintenance category behind Tufts University.

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After dark: Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus approved to conduct UAS flight operations at night

By Julee Cobb

Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus has previously only been authorized to fly unmanned aircraft during the day, whether for research or in professional and undergraduate flight training. The campus has now received approval from the FAA to operate UAS after dark.

The Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is expanding its unmanned aircraft systems capabilities to now include flight operations after dark.

Kansas State Polytechnic’s Applied Aviation Research Center, which houses the unmanned aircraft systems research program, has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct UAS flights at night. It was granted a special waiver because flying unmanned aircraft after the sun sets is currently not permitted under the FAA’s Part 107 rule – the regulatory framework for civil and commercial small UAS operations. In addition to the campus’s research sector, the night flight waiver will be utilized in commercial flight training courses and in forthcoming curriculum in the UAS degree option.

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Unmanned aircraft systems student lands summer internship at NASA

By Julee Cobb

Kendy Edmonds, senior in UAS flight and operations and UAS design and integration, Valley Falls, has been selected for a summer internship at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Kendy Edmonds, a senior at Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus, is spending the summer advancing unmanned aircraft systems technology at the nation’s best-known entity for space exploration.

Edmonds, Valley Falls, who is double majoring in unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, flight and operations and UAS design and integration, has been selected for an internship with NASA where she is focusing on data management of small UAS. Based at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, which is NASA’s first space flight complex established in 1959, Edmonds hopes to gain insight and experience in creating a streamlined process for collecting, storing and managing UAS data, including best practices in organizing and labeling the digital information as well as how long it should be saved and what can be deleted.

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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.

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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.