June 21, 2024

TechPort, FIT Team Up for Hands-On Learning

TechPort FIT

Florida Institute of Technology and TechPort have teamed up to give students a hands-on experience by flying actual airplanes.

Dr. Bob Schaller, director of Florida Institute of Technology Southern Maryland Center, went to Tommy Luginbill, TechPort director, with an interesting idea. “What if we taught a real hands-on class with an airplane?”

The two agreed it would be a great idea to host and run the FTE 5702 Airplane Stability and Control Flight Test Engineering Course at the TechPort facility at the Aviation Technology Park at the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport, so they could utilize the airplane hangar.

With the course, students were able to “examine techniques to evaluate airplane stability and control flight testing.”

Dr. Brian Kish, program chair of FIT flight test engineering, and David Callender, pilot and certified flight instructor, taught the class to a group of seven NAVAIR flight test engineers during the week of June 8. With the combination of classroom work and experiential learning, the students gained great experience and collaboration to build on their existing skills.

The arrangement had never been done before at TechPort.

Mr. Luginbill was thrilled to see the relationship between TechPort and Florida Tech produce great opportunities for students.

“Collaboration with Florida Tech and their stability flight engineering lab is the perfect use of TechPort’s airplane hangar and a prime example of multiorganization collaboration,” he said.

Additionally, Dr. Schaller was thrilled that the collaboration was going on in the Southern Maryland community.

“The partnership between Florida Tech Southern Maryland and TechPort UMD enabled a vital course to be delivered to NAVAIR flight test engineers that would not have been possible under current facility access restrictions,” he said. “The unique arrangement of running flight test labs out of a hangar made the experience that much more meaningful.”

Both agreed that the partnership is a perfect example of how shared resources benefit numerous parties.

TechPort, operated under contract by the University of Maryland, is a technological incubator that offers many services, such as developmental space and a general machine shop, but TechPort is also a creative workspace. It provides the ability to connect with people in the community to make a difference.

TechPort is becoming a community hotspot, where visionaries can collaborate, and new interesting ideas can thrive and grow.

To stay up to date on TechPort’s innovative projects, go to its website or follow it on social media at @TechPortUMD.

This article was written by Alexandra Walker, TechPort community manager.

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