What is Aerospace Engineering?

What is Mechanical Engineering?

What is Aeronautical Engineering?

What is UAV and UAS?

Lee Paddock

I am a certified Project Manager PMP (Project Management Professional) with Boeing Engineering Propulsion. My education is in Urban & Comprehensive Planning / Civil Engineering.

My initiation to aviation was growing up in the military as my father was an Air Force Coronel. I started flying control line at the age of six & progressed to RC (Radio Control) at age eleven. I am an avid R/C 3D / XA pilot, race FPV fixed wings & I am an RC flight instructor at my local club.

My role as an engineering project manager is in between leadership, customers, stakeholders & resources to accomplish technical solutions related to 787 / 777 commercial aircraft. My role jokingly is referred to as a “Cat Herder”, because it can be just that difficult to influence / lead a group of multi-disciplinary stakeholders to project success / completion on time, on budget & within scope. What I like most about my role is working on cutting edge technology, amazing future products & collaborating with absolutely brilliant people. What I don’t enjoy as a project manager is corporate politics & bureaucracy getting in the way of creativity & innovation.

Michael Mackowski

I am a retired electrical engineer who mostly worked on satellite electrical power subsystes. I started in the late 1970s at McDonnell Douglas (St. Louis) and retired in 2018 from Northrop-Grumman in Gilbert, AZ (formerly Orbital Sciences).Growing up in the 1960s while intensely following NASA’s Apollo program and watching Star Trek inspired me to be a part of the space program. My plan involved getting an engineering degree and finding a job building spacecraft. I took some college courses in astronomy to get a better understanding of what the spacecraft would be observing, and I spent three semesters as a co-op student, working at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. I was rather proud to be a nineteen-year-old with a NASA badge.That experience got me the McDonnell Douglas job, where some of my assignments included the Space Shuttle, several NASA science missions, and the X-30 National Aerospace Plane (NASP). When the space side of the business wound down in St. Louis, I transferred to an office in Maryland that supported NASA Goddard programs. That was a good move since I made many good connections with the NASA staff there.By this time, I had family in Arizona, and McDonnell Douglas was supporting Motorola’s Iridium communications satellite constellation near Phoenix. They needed people willing to relocate there, so I jumped on that chance. After Iridium wrapped up, I jumped to Spectrum Astro, a small space company in Gilbert, AZ. They were building satellites for the Air Force and NASA. There, I was the power subsystem lead for many projects, including various missile defense satellites, two NASA gamma ray science missions (Swift and Fermi/GLAST), Landsat 8, and ICESat-2.

My advice to early career folks is to have a “Plan B.” In your career path there will be events that affect your career that you have no control over. For me, that included the Challenger disaster (cancelled a lot of missions I could have worked on), our company losing a competition (which changed their business plan), and having your employer offer you a position in a different city. You need to keep your eyes open for such opportunities and always be thinking of “what if” scenarios. What if your company had sudden financial issues? What if a customer cancelled your program? What if your spouse had an unexpected health issue? What if your boss offered you an exciting new position but it was in an area you were not confident of your skills there? You need to keep these scenarios in mind and plan ahead should a change in direction be needed.

Travis Palmer

I’m a leader and program manager for commercial & Space Tourism programs at Paragon Space Development Corporation. I earned my Aerospace and Systems Engineering degrees at the University of Michigan while supporting combustion research for 6 years. 
I was not the smartest kid in school, but my love for space, flight, and working with teams on exciting challenges led me to some interesting experiences in Aerospace. In 2004 I led a team of fellow students who conducted combustion experiments aboard the NASA Vomit Comet. Once I graduated, I joined Paragon in 2006 and later became a team member on the record breaking StratEx program where we dropped Alan Eustace from 136,000 feet above the ground using a massive stratospheric balloon. It was a life altering experience to be a part of the hardware and operations teams that made this happen. This experience really showed me how powerful the process of trial, failure, learning, and trying again can be in successful engineering endeavors. 
When not working, I spend most of my time building and flying FPV RC aircraft with friends. I’m constantly seeking out and collaborating with them on new FPV adventures, such as Stratojourney 2019. 

2004 NASA Microgravity Campaign

2019 StratoJourney -Team Icarus Plane 

2014 StratEx Suit & BEM at Smithsonian

Eric Gever

I am a Flight Systems Engineer at Boeing Defense, Space & Security.  Through my 15+ year career in the aerospace industry, I have designed, integrated, and operated both commercial and defense related spacecraft and satellite systems.  I have a Masters degree in Astronautical Engineering from USC, and a Bachelors degree in Aeronautical/Mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
I have a passion for engineering and STEM related projects.  Since flying radio control for the first time in high school, I became interested in building custom high powered rockets, drones, and fixed wing aircraft ever since.  I have been a lead FIRST robotics mentor of multiple teams since 2007, and enjoy spreading my passion for STEM with students of all ages.  I have also competed on Battlebots and I’m known for having a huge amount of enthusiasm for 3D printing.
I became interested in space exploration after getting the opportunity to visit several NASA facilities and wanting to learn more about how aircraft and spacecraft work.  Through high school, I tinkered with programming, Computer Aided Design, and participated in robotics projects available at my school.  In college, I started the Rensselaer Radio Control Aircraft Club, and participated in competitive design projects such as Design, Build, & Fly (AIAA DBF).  I was offered a co-op (extended internship) position at Boeing, El Segundo, where I worked directly with a team of engineers to improve our spacecraft simulator and incorporate important new functions that allowed the operations team to more realistically test guidance, navigation, & control (GN&C) performance.
At work, I have served a range of roles in space systems design, including Concept of Operations (ConOps) development, fault design, payload/experiment integration and test, flight performance analysis, mission operations, on-orbit anomaly recovery, ground systems, and mission test.  I consider myself to be a problem solver, constantly looking for new, innovative solutions to complex technical problems in space.

Kevin Garland

My name is Kevin Garland and I am an Test Associate Manager / Flight Operations Manager for L3Harris Latitude out of Tucson, Arizona. I graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor in Aeronautics and a Minor in Air Traffic Control and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. I currently have my Commercial Pilot Certificate for both Multi-Engine and Single Engine Aircraft. I am also an Instrument rated pilot and Certified Flight Instructor with over 1000 hours of flight time. Back when I was 7 years old my Grandfather introduced me to Radio Control Aircraft. Still today I fly every weekend I can get and fly anything from small FPV aircraft to 3D Giant Scale aircraft. Recently I have started flying R/C Turbine powered jets. This hobby lead me to my career in Aviation and was a huge help to land me my career I have today in the UAS Industry. I am currently the Test Associate Manager for L3Harris and what I do is managed all flight test on the FVR-90 and FVR-55 UAS. The Fixed Wing Vertical Rotator (FVR) UAS is a VTOL aircraft capable of flying more than 8 hours while carrying 10-20 pounds of payload. While I am not managing Flight Test I manage our Flight Operations Team. I have over 3000 hours flying variety of UAS. I am currently the President of the Tucson Radio Control Club and the Contest Director for the Tucson Aerobatic Shootout, which is the biggest R/C Aerobatic Competition in the world. I compete in a competition in the Unlimited Class called IMAC which is Precision Aerobatics using a 40% Scale Extra 300 Aircraft. I believe R/C Flying is the perfect way to begin your career in aviation as not only it teaches you the basic skills, but you meet so many people in the industry that have similar stories to mine to help you get where you want to in life.