Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Paper to Be Published and Presented at 2012 I/ITSEC

I was just informed my paper, Effects of Visual Interaction Methods on Simulated Unmanned Aircraft Operator Situational Awareness, was accepted for publication and presentation at the 2012 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, FL this December.  My material has also been selected to be appropriate for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through a partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF; Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference, 2012). For additional detail, see the following excerpt from an email received from Program Chair, Ron Smits:

The purpose of this letter is to confirm that your paper has been selected for both publication in the proceedings and presentation at this year's Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, December 3 - December 6, 2012, in Orlando, FL, at the Orange County Convention Center.

Please accept my congratulations on behalf of the entire Conference Committee. The Subcommittee will be providing comments on your paper for you to incorporate in your paper. Your bird dog will be contacting you with this information in early August. Final revisions must be completed by August 17, 2012. Once your content changes are made and approved, you may be contacted by the editors at "" regarding the processing of your paper for publication. Your prompt attention to their requests will enable us to meet our timelines for the CD production.

Additionally, your paper was chosen to be designated as appropriate for Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Congratulations! As a result of this designation, you will be required to develop four questions and responses pertinent to your accepted paper/presentation. Your bird dog will forward a spreadsheet to you for the submission of those questions and responses. Attendees seeking CEU credit will have to attend your presentation at I/ITSEC and answer those questions on-line to obtain credit. Please ensure that you cover the answers to the questions in your presentation.

(Smits, 2012, para. 1-3).


Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference. (2012a). CEUs. Retrieved from

Smits, R. (2012, July 25). Your I/ITSEC 2012 paper has been approved [Electronic mailing message].

Monday, July 23, 2012

Preparing for a Career in Simulation

I developed a presentation detailing an overview of a career in simulation for an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Industry Day that I organized last Fall (Terwilliger, 2011). The aim of the event was to bring together ERAU alumni from various aviation/aerospace industries (eg., program management, maintenance, simulation, and airline pilots) to discuss their careers, educational and training backgrounds, and recommendations to students for entrance into each respective field. To view my presentation regarding a Career in Simulation, click the following link...

Terwilliger, B. (2011, September). A career in simulation. Presented at An Afternoon with Industry Alumni, Daytona Beach, FL. Retrieved from

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Teaching Philosophy

As an alumni of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach campus and two online post-graduate education environments, I have participated in multiple forms of learning, including live classroom, tutorial/laboratory, and asynchronous instruction.  I do not believe there is a single right way to instruct.  Instead, all modalities need to be considered and the right method be selected based on the requirements of the given scenario.

It is essential that learners be treated as equals in the quest to understand the history, theory of operations, and applications associated with the topic.  While the students have enrolled in a class to learn, the instructors have an opportunity learn from them as well. The role of faculty is to guide and mentor learners by furnishing a comprehensive and thorough foundation of knowledge.  Teaching how to critically think, frame logical arguments, present information, and challenge expectations creates an environment where the learner can actively engage the subject matter.  Having an in depth understanding of these concepts will prepare learners for more advanced studies and career growth once their degree is complete. 

My primary goal for students is to relay knowledge in a manner that ensures comprehension, understanding practical application, and realization of why what they are learning is relevant.  The ability of a professor to motivate their students, while remaining quick to react to change, is necessary to realize success.  Success as an instructor is learner-centered, where the challenge is to identify student weaknesses and strengths, while promoting a flexible approach to ensure maximum growth and development. An instructor needs to understand how to communicate effectively to prevent confusion, inspire trust, motivate, understand, and set goals with students.  When a goal is important to a student, they are more likely to succeed. Likewise, providing a learner with opportunity to accept responsibility, such as learning to use a system, can improve their overall effectiveness. 

I have developed and presented courses describing the theory of operations of a simulation system to operators, including the user interfaces and data inputs.  I tailored my instruction design to focus on making the material relevant to how students use the system, to improve their understanding and motivation to learn.  When the material was introduced as a way to simplify use of the system, they became invested in the learning process, desiring to learn more.  Through our interaction, they began to understand new ways to make their jobs easier, providing the motivation to delve deeper into the material.  The students wanted to become experts, understanding the intricacies of the design to lead their fellow operators and provide higher fidelity experiences for their system users (i.e., military pilots and soldiers).  The key to success was finding out what was most important to them and leveraging that desire into a motivating factor.

One personal area I would like to focus on building is experience with University administration and education from a faculty perspective.  While I do have some experience developing and leading courses, I would benefit from a mentor/mentee relationship with senior faculty to gain a more thorough understanding of how to teach using various modalities, such as the blended methods.  I believe that improvement is a constant cycle, there is always room for it, it is driven by the desire for personal growth, and it is focused by feedback from our colleagues, students, and leaders.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Expanded Electric Motor Propulsion Duration for UAS

Lockheed Martin announced the successful operation of a remote laser power transfer technology using their Stalker UAS in a wind tunnel test that proved the capability of 48 hour operational duration (Quick, 2012). The remote power transfer system, Power Link developed by LaserMotive, has the potential for significant refueling and endurance expansion of the silent Stalker UAS (Cook, 2012; Quick, 2012). The test, stopped once the goals of the analysis were met, indicated positive endurance results with more energy stored in the battery system at the conclusion than at the start (Cook, 2012; Frink, 2012).

This announcement is a clear indicator that the usability of electric propulsion systems has matured to the point of serious performance gains over their internal combustion (IC) counterparts for small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS). In 2005, I developed a research study that examined the cost and performance associated with these two types of propulsion systems (i.e., IC and electric motors), which indicated the smaller the airframe the more efficient and cost effective it becomes for unmanned operation (Terwilliger, 2005). My study relied upon a direct comparison of standard brushed electric motors and nickel metal hydride (NiMh) batteries, which have been supplanted by use of brushless motors and  lithium-polymer (LiPoly) batteries (expanded capacity, lower weight; Terwilliger, 2005). The following comparison depicts the differences between equivalent (i.e., voltage and capacity) NiMh and LiPoly batteries:

NiMh to LiPoly Size and Weight Comparison:
The following information was taken from the product description of the Venom Racing 6-cell 3300 mAh NiMH Battery (Hobby-Lobby, 2012b):
Length (L): 5.375"
Width (W): 1.75"
Height (H): 1"
Total size/area (L x W x H): 9.4063
Weight 12.1oz

The following information was taken from the product description of the 3300mAh 2S 7.4V 25C LiPo Battery (Hobby-Lobby, 2012a):
Length: 5.35"
Width: 1.69"
Height: .51"
Total size/area (L x W x H):7.55 (80% of the size of NiMh equivalent)
Weight 5.93oz (49% of the weight of NiMh equivalent)

This comparison indicates the current generation of LiPoly batteries have a reduced footprint and weight for the equivalent voltage (7.2v) and capacity (3300 mAh). With the enhanced capabilities of such components, a new examination into cost and performance to determine where the line between the two technologies now meet would merit consideration.

13 July Update: BAE Systems has announced the development of a solar power system that can be used to form the structure of an airframe (Leung, 2012). Such as system, composed of hard composite material,  is believed to eliminate the need for batteries altogether for some uses (Leung, 2012). Coupling this technology with Power Link, backup high capacity-low weight batteries, and increased efficiency motors has significant potential for extending the endurance of unmanned aircraft.

8 November Update: A joint research effort between Rice University and Lockheed Martin have found a potential method for increasing the capacity of Lithium-ion batteries by almost three (Falconer, 2012).  This increase would be made possible by crushing a silicon anode film so that is has a total surface area 50 times more than crushed silicon alone (Falconer, 2012).  Such an increase is believed to be a significant power storage breakthrough with implications for mobile electronics and electronic vehicles (Falconer, 2012).

Cook, J. (2012, July). Laser power test extends flight time of spy plane to 48 hours. Geekwire. Retrieved from

Falconer, J. (2012, November). How to boost lithium battery performance - just add crushed silicon.
Retrieved from

Frink, T. (2012, July). Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive user laser to power UAV for 48 hours. Retrieved from

Leung, I. (2012, July). Integrated solar power storage eliminates batteries. Electronic news. Retrieved from

Gizmag. (2012). laser-power-stalker.jpg [image file]. Retrieved from

Hobby-Lobby. (2012a). 3300mAh 2S 7.4V 25C LiPo battery [product description]. Retrieved from

Hobby-Lobby. (2012b). Venom Racing 6-cell 3300 mAh NiMH battery [product description]. Retrieved from

Quick, D. (2012, July). Stalker UAS flight time improved by 2,400 percent using laser beams. Retrieved from

Terwilliger, B. (2005). Cost and performance analysis of internal combustion (IC) engines versus electric motors for use as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) propulsion system. Daytona Beach, FL: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Extended Campus. Retrieved from

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Privacy Concerns Represent Another Hurtle in Domestic UAS Operations

Concern over the potential for privacy invasion is another of the major hurtles domestic developers and operators of UAS will have to overcome before the systems can be fully integrated into the national airspace (Catch-up time on drone regs, 2012; Ryan, 2012; Surveillance drones drive privacy fears, 2012). Domestic surveillance concerns include law enforcement monitoring without warrants, businesses monitoring consumer behavior, and invasion of constitutional rights to privacy (Catch-up time on drone regs, 2012).The potential for domestic spying does exist with this technology, much like other technology we rely on (i.e. cellular phones, internet connection, and credit cards/banking). However, before outright rejecting the use of UAS domestically, the benefits need to be considered including, remote surveying, three-dimensional mapping services, border and drug protection, search and rescue (SAR), fire fighting, and weather monitoring that will not place operators in danger (Ryan, 2012; Surveillance drones drive privacy fears, 2012). In order to effectively ease concerns and ensure continued protection of personal privacy, a set of enforceable Federal and State guidelines/laws will need to be established with serious repercussions and public exposure for violators.

13 July Update: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virgina has partnered with Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert to introduce unmanned aircraft regulation into the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session (The Associated Press, 2012). The legislation would require law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before using unmanned aircraft, set standards for public monitoring, and necessitate the destruction of any  imagery data captured without authorization (The Associated Press, 2012).

Catch-up time on drone regs. (2012, July). Pocono Record. Retrieved from

Surveillance drones drive privacy fears. (2012, July). San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved from

Ryan, M. (2012, July). Worried about your privacy? Don't forget to look up. Retrieved from

The Associated Press. (2012, July). Gilbert, ACLU say bill will regulate drones. Retrieved from

Monday, July 9, 2012

ERAU to Explore UAS Testing

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)-Daytona Beach is working with Volusia County to establish a UAS operation framework, which would support the anticipated growth of the unmanned market, integration of UAS into the national airspace, and consideration to be one of six UAS testing sites nationwide (Gant, 2012; Sanford, 2012; Tracy, 2012).  This agreement would provide a path forward for obtaining an FAA Special Certificate of Authorization for routine flight operations (Gant, 2012).  The initial UAS proposed under the agreement is a small UAS (SUAS), featuring electric propulsion capable of 20 to 30 minute flight durations (County council to consider Embry Riddle Drone Testing, 2012). Considering the initiation of the UAS major this fall at ERAU (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 2012) and their involvement in unmanned research & development (R&D; Circelli, 2012), this agreement represents an important step to establish the University as a foundational institution for unmanned research, education, training, and operation.

Full disclosure: I am an alumnus of ERAU (BS Aerospace Studies 2000/MS Aeronautical Science 2005) with continuing ties to the University.

Circelli, D. (2012, June). ERAU advancing the science behind drones. Daytona News-Journal. Retrieved from

County council to consider Embry Riddle Drone Testing. (2012, July). News Daytona Beach. Retrieved from

eagleNEWS. (2012). Team_awesome.jpg [Image File]. Retrieved from

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (2010, Feb). Embry-Riddle to train unmanned aircraft pilots [News Release]. Daytona Beach, FL: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Retrieved from

Gant, A. (2012, July). Volusia County, Embry-Riddle consider testing unmanned aircraft. Daytona News-Journal. Retrieved from

Sanford, B. (2012, June). Unmanned aircraft systems market to hit $51 billion by 2018 says report. ReportBuyer. Retrieved from

Tracy, D. (2012, June). Drones could soon be flying in Florida skies. Retrieved from

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

AUVSI Posts UAS Operations Industry Code of Conduct

The news wire is buzzing with the release of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) "Unmanned Aircraft System Operations Industry 'Code of Conduct'," guideline (AUVSI, 2012a; Begos, 2012; Calamur, 2012; Wolfgang, 2012). The guideline, developed to direct industry designers and users, features recommendations for "supporting the growth of the industry in a safe and responsible manner" (AUVSI, 2012b, para 2). Membership in AUVSI and adherence to the code is not mandatory, with no penalties for those who chose to breach or opt out of participating in the code (Wolfgang, 2012). The development of this code represents a major step towards fulfilling the need for safe integration of UAS into the national airspace by September 2015, as identified by the FAA Modernization and Reform act (AUVSI, 2012b; Begos, 2012; Calamur, 2012; Wolfgang, 2012).

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. (2012a). Unmanned Aircraft System OperationsIndustry “Code of Conduct”. Retrieved from

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. (2012b, July). AUVSI releases "Code of Conduct" for unmanned aircraft systems operations: Promotes safe, responsible use as integration into airspace proceeds. AUVSI News. Retrieved from

Begos, K. (2012, July). Conduct code for unmanned aircraft is unveiled. Associated Press. Retrieved from

Calamur, K. (2012, July). A code of conduct, for drones? National Public Radio. Retrieved from

National Public Radio. (2012). ap1203280109207_11858769_wide.jpg [Image File]. Retrieved from

Wolfgang, B. (2012, July). Rule book for drone operators released: Voluntary guide as use expands. The Washington Times. Retrieved from