Drone used for photography
Drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) used for photography / filming

Global research experts and aviation industry leaders joined more than 100 high school students, their families and college students representing nearly a dozen Arizona and California schools this past week in Phoenix for the second annual 2015 Aviation, Aeronautics and Aerospace International Research (A3IRCon) Conference.

In addition to witnessing two unmanned aerial vehicle (“drones”) demonstrations presented by students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, Ariz., campus, attendees met with conference keynote speaker National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) board member Robert Sumwalt and others to discuss topics ranging from commercial airline crash investigations and incidents such as missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 to the future of national air space integration, drone regulation, pilot training and cyber security.

The conference, presented by Embry-Riddle’s Prescott Campus and featuring representatives from all three of the university’s campuses as well as university faculty from Purdue, Arizona State University, Tennessee Technological University and the University of South Australia, Horizon Air and SkyWest airlines representatives, and National Aviation Hall of Fame member and pioneering pilot/engineer in aviation safety Dr. S. Harry Robertson, was held Jan. 15-18 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Delegates from Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States presented their latest research during multiple days of concurrent sessions, networking and panel discussions. Outcomes and recommendations in some of the world’s most pressing issues facing aviation include:

  • Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)/”Drones”: The U.S. is falling behind in the development and integration of the UAS into the national airspace system. The delegates issued a UAS collegiate challenge to meet and address at next year’s A3IRCon.
  • Diversity in aviation: Delegates cited the lack of diversity within the industry and recommended the development of a Center for Diversity of Aviation under the A3IRCon umbrella.
  • Safety and human factors in aviation: Experts in the field, including NTSB’s Sumwalt, Dr. Robertson, Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus Chief Academic Officer and global security expert Dr.
  • Richard Bloom and Vahid Motevalli of Tennessee Technological University were part of an interactive discussion on the state of global security. Sumwalt also presented an NTSB 2014 Year In Review. A recently unveiled post-crash survivability presentation by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) wrapped up the conference.
  • MH370: Multinational experts evaluated various theories of what happened to the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, and expressed caution when it comes to various conspiracy theories.
  • Cyber attacks: Experts explored emerging technologies, the role of UAS in proxy warfare, UAS threats and consumer perceptions.

Event organizer and Dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott Campus, Dr. Brent Bowen confirmed preparations are underway for next year’s A3IRCon to be held January 14-17, 2016 in Phoenix.

“As the premier research and information sharing conference devoted to issues vital to the industry’s current and future leaders, A3IRCon’s influence and impact will be felt worldwide,” said Bowen.

Source: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University