I have been an AMA Associate Vice President for District IX, covering the state of Colorado for the past three years. I have been active in RC aviation for more than 60 years, while engaged in a professional career building team experience in design, engineering, and manufacturing of military and commercial technology and I recently retiring after years of startup and managing high technology companies around the world. My work as an inventor and a degree in electrical engineering enabled me to found and participate as a team member to create nine companies specializing in fiber optic communications, computers, human input devices, data encryption and security. I hold nine named US patients for new technology inventions, have published over 40 technical articles, and taught graduate courses at Caltech, UCLA and MIT.
Dream BIG: Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) and Robotics and Our New Future
In a recent article I wrote for Model Aviation magazine, I described an important event I helped organize for small rural schools in my area. We call it Dream BIG and the event is an inspiration of educators in the rural area of Colorado along with the AMA and UAS community in the state. The purpose of this event is to inspire students for STEM-based learning programs and to dream big about the infinite opportunities they have for careers to improve our world. Also, we wanted to provide students with a way to learn about all the exciting new technologies and inspire students who normally do not have access to this technology in rural America.
This year’s event brought together the high school students from ten high schools in the southeastern section of Colorado around the town of Eads. These schools are all small K-12 schools with typical total student population of 100-125 students in all grades. The event was set up to educate the students on the new existing fields of UAS, robotics, cyber-security, aerospace, and 3D printing. Some high school students drove more than an hour to attend the event, coming from an area that is mainly agriculture and cattle farming in the most southeastern section of the state of Colorado. The towns they come from typically have populations less than 1000 residents, real rural communities!
Approximately 250 students from the schools were pre-assigned to 5 groups of approximately 50 students per group, rotating through five technology learning themes in 40-minute sessions throughout the day. We had five major learning areas: 1) Space - Blast off to Mars; 2) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Robotics - Our New Future, 3) E-mission and Cyber-security - The new Threat 4) Aviation - You Can Fly and 5) Advanced Manufacturing (3D printing and design) - Forging Ahead in Colorado.
Each session was made up of two segments: an indoor discussion followed by demonstrations outside. For outside demonstrations we wanted to have students become more involved in these activities so they could see and, some cases, fly a UAS or fly in an airplane. We wanted all sessions to be unique and include multiple simulations and demonstrations. All the events were held on the football field and track area.
More than twenty organizations, from the AMA to the United States ARMY, the Colorado School of Mines, United Airlines and Wings Over the Rockies Museum and others too numerous to mention join our team to help make the event a success. If you would like more details about how we recruited them and organized their participated please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Glenn Smith, Eads District Superintendent, passed on the following comment: "I had a superintendent advisory committee meeting yesterday and several of the superintendents reported that their kids were so excited and inspired by the event; many of the high school students reported it was the best field trip and school day of their life. All were very grateful and appreciative of the experience. It was Grand slam home run!" Thanks to all!"
My previous career as a full-scale aerobatic instructor and current profession as a commercial airline pilot was, in part, motivated by model aviation. Beginning with control line and early radio control as a teenager and returning to the hobby in 2011, I currently enjoy and participate in a dozen electric and gas AMA Special Interest Groups, from micros, foamies, and gliders, to ducted fan and turbine jets. For the past six years I have been a member of the Plum Island Airport RC Flyers and the Freemont Flyers, serving as president of both, and currently serve as an AMA Associate Vice President for District I.
I encourage all clubs in our area to get involved with their communities through school enrichment programs, STEM programming, town recreational departments, festivals, even parades! We “get the word out” to the general public and educators, providing proof of the positive educational aspects of our hobby by sharing flying fields, the extraordinary talent of club members, and promoting AMA’s outstanding safety record. The experience AMA mentors bring to instruction introduces a new generation to life “outside the box.”
Demonstrating RC flying to children and adults at community events and teaching at schools has been a special treat. Some of the activities I’ve been involved in the past few years:
Grades 3 and 5 STEM programing using AMA resources: “Total Control”, “Discover Flight” Videos; FPG-9 Gliders, Flight Test F22 on buddy box for schoolyard demos (teacher on buddy box, big hit!) - practical application for classroom work.
After-school enrichment program: With help from a club volunteer, I provided a static display of several aircraft, simulator experiences, and a Night Vapor ultra-light 3-channel plane for indoor flight demonstrations.
University of New Hampshire: This past winter, I had the pleasure of coaching Mechanical Engineering students from UNH for their intercollegiate design competition and I am proud to note that they placed 1st in the competition.
Plum Island Airport Aviation Appreciation Day- Members of the Plum Island Airport RC Flyers and several others came together for an appreciation day for a local Boy Scout troop that previously helped with a huge brush-clearing project. The day was filled with a ground school on full-scale instrumentation followed by an RC ground school. The scouts were treated to flight demonstrations by several talented RC pilots, as well as offered “stick time” using four buddy boxes. The day was capped off with full-scale airplane rides provided by four area private pilots who donated their time. A true “all-aviation” day.
The talent base of our membership is vast and using these resources at every opportunity is key to the survival of model aviation. Our collective goal must be to get all ages flying, learning on a simulator, a buddy box, in the air at club and community events. This is how the “bug” will bite!
If you have questions or would like more information about our work, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Model aviation has been a huge part of my life starting sometime before I was 10 years old. The early teenage years were mainly control line flying but I started flying radio control when I was 13 years old; in a few years I was competing in RC pylon racing. More recent years have been RC sailplanes, sport electric RC, and free flight. I have been passionate about promoting the model aviation hobby, especially to young people. I have promoted model aviation through demonstrations at schools, community education classes, parks and rec programs, hobby-shop sponsored STEM program, and through a College for Kids summer class at a local university.
Another web article I spent a great deal of effort on was Basic Aerodynamics with a Lesson. Through a series of drawings I tried to convey the basics of model aerodynamics with a few sample questions included. I hope that teachers could include this in their lesson plans. http://ideas-inspire.com/basic-aerodynamics-with-lesson/
Below is a story that Bill received from a student that wanted to thank him for taking the time to help out:
"Hello Mr. Kuhl,
My name is Dhriti Vij and you had helped me with the capacitor plane for the SO event back in 2011 remotely and helped me win the 6th place nationally. I hope you remember me. Working on the capacitor plane under your mentorship was a very rewarding experience for me and in fact, one of my college essays was on that and how it ignited my passion for anything to do with flights. I am currently a sophomore at Virginia Tech majoring in Aerospace Engineering. You will be pleased to know that I have just been selected by Boeing for a summer 2018 internship which is a great opportunity for me. I wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to you.