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Sat, Dec. 07

ERAU science program receives donated aircraft

(ERAU/Courtesy)

(ERAU/Courtesy)

The newest member of the Robertson Aircraft Accident Investigation Lab (i.e., Crash Lab), a 1976 Beechcraft Baron, arrived on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s main campus on Monday, Nov. 25.

Some may recall the aircraft’s entrance to the university early that morning, when it was transported from the Prescott Airport to the campus via police escort (https://bit.ly/2P2Dp5i).

The aircraft, donated by Honeywell in Phoenix, will be studied and used by students in Embry-Riddle’s Safety Science program.

Prior to the donation, the Baron had been used for research, development, certification and demonstration of Bendix King products for the past 40 years. When Honeywell recently reevaluated its current fleet, the company found the 40-year-old aircraft was no longer needed and it approached the university about donating the aircraft.

“We are extremely grateful to Honeywell for this donation,” said Ed Coleman, Embry-Riddle Safety Science Department chairman. “This donation will enable us to expand our lab, and is part of an ongoing effort to increase the exhibits available for our students.”

Initial plans are to keep the aircraft intact and remove some of the panels to allow students to study aircraft components on a complete aircraft prior to examining accident aircraft in undergraduate and graduate accident-investigation courses.

It will also be utilized to study human-factors design. For example, the Baron does not have engine controls in the typical configuration seen in most other aircraft, and thus will allow students to examine how this minor change could affect pilots who move between different aircraft types. There are other idiosyncrasies that will also be studied as part of the human factors curriculum.

Students will also be able to study the aircraft as part of the aircraft survivability course. Interior design, seats, restraints and exits will all be used to demonstrate survivability aspects of small aircraft.

Embry-Riddle’s Robertson Safety Institute will also take advantage of the aircraft for use in professional education courses offered to industry. These courses are designed for current industry personnel to increase their knowledge base and expose them to actual aircraft in the crash lab. The addition of the Baron will elevate this hands-on experience.

“Embry-Riddle has a long-standing, robust relationship with Honeywell,” said Steve Bobinsky, Executive Director of Development. “More than 250 employees are among those that call Embry-Riddle their alma mater. Over the years, Honeywell has provided Industry Advisory Board (IAB) members, and worked with faculty and students on capstone and other research/hands-on design and development projects.”

For more information on Embry-Riddle’s Safety Science program, go to https://erau.edu/degrees/master/safety-science.

Information provided by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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