International travel at a young age inspired Yichuan (Edison) Luo ‘15 to explore the aviation management industry. When he was in middle school, his family moved from his hometown of Shanghai, China to California. Traveling back and forth between the two international cities during his school years piqued Luo’s interest in aviation, but it wasn’t until a high school trip to the East Coast of the United States that Edison knew he found his niche.

“I fell in love with New York City and knew I wanted to move there to attend college,” said Luo. “My passion for the aviation management sector, combined with the location of Vaughn College in the city, was the perfect fit for the two things that were driving my passion at the time.”

Luo enrolled in the airport management program at Vaughn in 2012, where he embraced his courses and excelled in the program.

“I chose airport management so I could learn about one of the most global businesses in the world,” Luo explained. “The courses at Vaughn allowed me to appreciate other strategic backgrounds in the mainstream business sector.”

During his time at Vaughn, Luo launched into his field as vice president of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) student chapter.

“We organized two luncheons and invited over 10 industry experts in the aviation industry, including airport managers, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, National Security Agency (NSA) members and aviation educators,” said Luo. “It was an instrumental opportunity to hear them share their industry insights, knowledge and personal experiences with the students.”

The chapter didn’t stop there. They organized four field trips for a group of over 20 members and students to airport terminals, air sides (sections of the terminals where aircraft can be observed), land sides (sections of the terminals where the public has unrestricted access), and airline headquarters for educational events.

Luo graduated valedictorian of his class in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in airport management. At 24 years old, he’s living back in his hometown of Shanghai, where he works as an analyst at a global information technology firm that specializes in market research.

“My work has given me the grounding to appreciate some of the strategic drivers behind the cyber and technology industry,” Luo explained. “One of my major clients is a worldwide national defense, aerospace and cybersecurity service provider. I am currently writing about the current trends, risks and products in the aviation, national security and cyber industry.”

Although Luo says he continues to learn about the many other aspects of the aerospace industry, the knowledge he learned at Vaughn, particularly in airport management and air traffic control, gave him a solid foundation to build his career.

“The professors and faculty at Vaughn were more than just that; they were mentors and friends and for that I am truly grateful.”

If you are interested in a career in aviation, and want to learn more about Vaughn, and the incredible opportunities we offer, please take a look at our prospective students page.


Move over, first class. Air travel as we know it may be taking a back seat to modular airplanes, offering passengers a “cruise ship-like” experience with the comforts of home.

Let’s face it. Commercial flying leaves much to be desired: crammed seating with limited legroom, few dining options, and basically nowhere else to go. All of this may be changing, and it could happen sooner than we think.

Is this the future of air travel?

Last December, innovators at Airbus revealed Transpose, a futuristic modular cabin concept that was in the works at their Silicon Valley labs. This full-sized Airbus A330 prototype takes the concept from cargo planes and applies it to passenger planes.

Here is how it would work:

Just as palettes of cargo are loaded onto cargo planes, Transpose engineers have designed a way to load pre-built modules onto commercial planes―each with specific “experiences.” Imagine being able to roam freely about the cabin and stop off at a coffee shop or work off a few calories at a cycling studio?

Check out this video to see the inner workings of a modular plane.

How soon will they fly?

As exciting as all this sounds, you won’t be booking a ticket any time soon. The Transpose engineering team is still facing some design challenges, not to mention getting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Transpose has already engaged in conversations with the FAA and hopes to have its aircraft flying “within a few years.” This estimate, however, may be premature, considering the strict rules and regulations of the FAA. The FAA has not officially commented on the project but did state―depending on the complexity of the project and the experience of the manufacturer―the certification process can take anywhere from less than one year to more than five years.

How much will a ticket cost?

Cost also comes into play, as today’s avid air travelers are already paying a premium for extra legroom and the niceties of first class. Transpose engineers predict modular cabin seats would be priced at the premium economy level, but this prediction depends upon whether the seating density remains the same as a standard aircraft. Ultimately, the airlines will have the final say in determining the price of a ticket.

In an everchanging world of technology, Airbus has a proven track record backed with years of experience building airplanes. Transpose is just another example of how innovation and engineering can one day make flying the friendly skies even friendlier.

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