What do the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Panama Canal all have in common? If you said they are among some of the top engineering wonders of the modern world, you are correct—so get ready to see one of the latest to hit the stage!
Check out the engineering wonder of The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock and Casino in Hollywood, Florida—the world’s first guitar-shaped hotel and the most unique structure to climb the stairway to the sky.
In October 2019, the 35-story, 638-room Guitar Hotel made its solo debut, soaring 450 feet into the skies of South Florida. This architectural wonder took three years to create and is part of the $1.5 billion expansion of the flagship casino resort of Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The hotel is designed to resemble back-to-back guitars. The neck of the guitar extends 75 feet above the roof with light cannons blazing through. Illuminated strings, guitar faces, and floor-to-ceiling glass panels complete the look of a jam that will have you yelling: “Encore!”
So, why the guitar shape? A hotel operations executive explained how the guitar has worldwide recognition as a symbol of music. Additionally, it is the iconic symbol of the Hard Rock. Designed in collaboration with Klai Juba Wald Architects of Las Vegas, De Simone Consulting Engineers worked in strict coordination through all design specialties to complete this challenging, exciting and rewarding project.
How did they build that?
The architectural and engineering genius behind this amazing structure involved skills and expertise across several engineering and construction platforms. Tight controls and flexible designs were key components throughout the project. Experts in the areas of structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering—along with contractors in the construction and related industries—combined forces to meet the demands of this challenging project with its “sexy curves.” Here is a snapshot of how they built this one-of-a-kind guitar-shaped hotel:
Detailed models of the guitar tower—The models of the guitar tower and other on-site projects were critical decision-making tools to address logistical challenges and ensure precision.
Preparing the site for construction—A multiacre retention pond was filled in, along with the excavation of another pond, to create balance of onsite water retention. Crews used vibro compaction to prepare the site for construction and this allowed them to begin vertical construction.
Laying the foundation—Concrete companies partnered to install 36,000 cubic yards of concrete that were used on the guitar tower. Meticulous detail was required for in-slab coordination to ensure that embeds for the curtain wall system, slab edges, plumbing sleeves, mechanical system openings and other openings were precise.
Structural design—Nine inch thick, post-tensioned slabs were used on levels four through-28 to allow for thinner floor plates. This system allowed the crew to install the curtain wall and the guitar shaped design. This was a critical step to ensure the curtain wall embeds were precisely located on the slab edge.
Addressing the curves—Several columns needed to be sloped by as much as 40 degrees, since each floor narrows and widens in the guitar shape. Additional thrust reinforcement was designed into the slabs to help hold back horizontal forces from sloping columns.
Height restrictions—The hotel property lies within the flight path of Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. Design teams worked cautiously to save inches anywhere they could to maximize space for the hotel rooms. More inches could potentially turn into additional floors, thus jeopardizing the height restriction of the structure.
Cost consideration—As you can imagine, a project of this magnitude required laser-focused cost management. The team used 3D, 4D (time) and 5D (schedule) to communicate their ideas about the project.
How an engineering degree from Vaughn can be music to your ears
The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock and Casino is one of today’s coolest and innovative examples of engineering at its finest. As you can see, the field of engineering and technology continues to play a critical role in defining modern day life and society. As technology and infrastructure continue to develop at a rapid rate, the demand for well-trained electrical, mechanical, and mechatronic engineers is greater than ever. Vaughn’s industry-focused degrees and add-on certifications will prepare you for an ever-changing and dynamic career in your chosen field.
November is National Aviation History Month. From the first glider flight over 100 years ago by the Wright Brothers to the largest aviation wonders of present, advancements in aviation engineering and technology have soared to new heights—literally. Airplanes are likely the first things that come to mind when we hear the word “aviation.” But where do helicopters and other vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft fit in to the mix?
This month, Vaughn College turns its sights to the history of personal VTOL aircrafts and chronicles the advancements, benefits, and future of this amazing technology. Did someone say “flying cars?”
For nearly 90 years, Vaughn has been steeped in aviation history. From opening its doors in 1932 as the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics to its present day ranking as one of the nation’s Best Colleges in the Regional North by U.S. News and World Report, Vaughn has remained true to its vision of educating and training its graduates for futureproof careers.
What are VTOL vehicles?
Vertical takeoff and landing aircrafts are vehicles that have the unique ability to depart, hover and land vertically. In addition to their unique take off and landing abilities, they can fly slowly and land in small spaces, unlike conventional aircraft. Today, there are two types of VTOL technology: rotary wing aircraft and powered lift. Here is how they compare:
Rotary wing aircraft or rotorcraft—These vehicles use lift to become airborne. Lift is generated from spinning rotor blades revolving around a central mast. The helicopter is a popular example of a rotary wing aircraft.
Powered-lift aircraft—These aircraft have a fixed wing design. Although they take off and land vertically, they perform differently than rotary wing aircraft when in flight. Some rely on the rotor for lift, and then switch to a fixed-wing lift while in flight, while others involve tilting the aircraft forward to achieve horizontal flight. Today, some powered-lift aircrafts are considered vertical and/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) vehicles that can switch to conventional takeoff and landing (CTL).
The history of VTOL technology
Most would never connect the dots between Leonardo Da Vinci and helicopters. But did you know the famous Renaissance painter sketched an image resembling a helicopter that he named the “aerial screw.” It is believed he made small models of the design but never pursued vertical flight any further. One Italian who did make his mark in vertical flight was Enrico Forlanini. In 1877, Forlanini became the first to build an unmanned steam-powered helicopter that remained in the air for about 20 seconds. This first flight laid the foundation of rotary aircraft for years to come. Test your knowledge on more historic first flights in our blog: “Greatest First Flights in Aviation History in Honor of Aviation History Month.”
Advancements in engineering and technology
From the 1920s through the 1940s, inventors across the globe attempted to design and fly their experimental helicopters. Unfortunately, some met with disastrous results. It wasn’t until the 1950s when the widespread use of turbine engines helped lead the way to building the helicopters and modern VTOL aircraft we know today.
The “flying car” concept was first introduced after World War II. Even Henry Ford predicted it would be a reality in the near future. Ford, along with several automobile manufacturers and the US Army, delivered prototypes of “flying jeeps” The Ford Motor Company created a personal aircraft named the Volante Tri-Athodyne—a 3/8-to-scale concept car model that used three ducted fans to enable VTOL. Unfortunately, Ford abandoned the project. In 1956, the US Army initiated the largest innovation when it began investigating “flying jeeps” as an alternative to helicopters on account of their smaller size and ease of flying. Although the research was dismissed, the concept still lives on today. Read more about the future of flying cars in our blog: “Urban Air Mobility: Transforming Sky Transportation.”
Benefits of VTOL technology
Today’s engineers are designing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that use electric motors or batteries instead of fuel. This advancement is proving beneficial on several economic and environmental fronts. Here are some benefits of VTOL technology we are seeing today:
Lower overall vehicle costs due to a reduction in maintenance and fuel costs
Noise pollution and gas emissions reduction with more energy efficient vehicles
Combat or rescue situation usage stemming from more landing flexibility in small areas
Speed and accuracy due to wing optimization, since they do not control takeoff and landing
Faster aircraft due to less drag
The fast and futuristic
Aircraft racing is putting eVTOL on the fast track. Alauda Racing, an Australian aviation firm, is introducing the Airspeeder, the new electric VTOL that was modeled after the 1960s British Formula One race car. With original plans to race this year, Air Race E is organizing a World Cup of electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) aircraft. Pilots will experience onboard cameras and racing speeds up to 125 mph.
Closer to home at Vaughn
Vaughn’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team has bragging rights of its own. For the past two years, the team placed first and second place, respectively, at the 2018 and 2019 Micro Air Vehicle Student Challenge Competition. They developed two drones to compete in both the manual and autonomous categories. Both drones were designed to perform VTOL with onboard flight-stabilization and camera. Way to go, team!
What do wearable technology, robotics, computer tablets and unmanned aerial vehicles all have in common? Here are some hints: George and Jane Jetson, Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk. If you guessed “The Jetsons” and “Star Trek,” you’re no doubt a sci-fi guru who knows their stuff. But were you aware of how these iconic television shows inspired some of today’s most popular technological innovations?
This month, Vaughn College is taking a fun look back on how the cool gadgets and gizmos used in these shows from the 1960s—and beyond—went from futuristic technologies to current day realities.
Today’s generation may not be familiar with “The Jetsons,” but they are more than likely familiar with some of the cool technology that was adapted from this animated comic sitcom that premiered in 1962. To get you caught up, the Jetsons were a middle-class family who lived in the future. George and Jane Jetson had two children—Judy and Elroy—and a robot maid named Rosie and their beloved dog, Astro. Here is a flashback to “The Jetsons” and how this show proved to be ahead of its time by predicting some of our everyday technology:
Skype, Zoom and FaceTime—When characters on the show made a phone call, they would see the person they were calling on a television screen. Who ever thought back then that we could have face-to-face chats via Skype, Zoom and FaceTime?
Roomba—Rosie the robot maid was way ahead of her time. Let’s face it. Who wouldn’t want a robot maid? Rosie cleaned the house by gliding across the floor on wheels, much like the way the Roomba is designed. Today, the Roomba is literally making sweeping strides in today’s market, as this autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner can clean multiple rooms, detect obstacles and sense steep drops. (Sorry, it doesn’t do windows!)
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles—Jane and Elroy didn’t have to worry about missing the school bus. They flew to school in their own personal pods!
3D Printed Food—Cooking was easy for the Jetson family. (No slaving over the stove for Jane.) Their favorite foods were just a touch-of-a-button away. Did you know some of today’s 3D printers allow you to “print” food, too!
Smart Watches—Can you believe the Jetsons used watches that incorporated video? Just like our smart watches of today, we can watch videos and do other cool things, such as answer phone calls, send text messages and track fitness goals, among so many other tasks!
Capsule Endoscopy—This one will really blow your mind. On one episode, George’s doctor had him swallow a camera as part of his physical exam. Today, doctors use a procedure called “capsule endoscopy,” where the patient swallows a pill-sized camera. This camera travels down the patient’s digestive track and takes thousands of pictures and transmits them to a recorder. Talk about being ahead of the times!
Doggie Treadmill—We can’t forget about Astro. After all, they say a dog is a man’s best friend. George Jetson kept his Astro in shape by having him take a walk on the treadmill. Today, we have treadmills to help keep our dogs healthy and fit.
“Trekkies” (which is the nickname for die-hard “Star Trek” fans, just in case you were wondering) will be the first ones to tell you of how the “Star Trek” franchise has inspired some of the most innovative and widely-used technology today. We may not be at the “beam me up, Scotty” phase at the moment—but one never knows, as technology is surprising us at every turn. Here are some amazing similarities to the gadgets used on the starship U.S.S. Enterprise when compared to what we are using here on Earth today.
Voice Translators—We may not have the need to translate Klingon (or any other alien language) as they did on the Enterprise, but the invention of today’s voice translators has revolutionized the way we communicate with those who speak foreign languages. This breakthrough technology can be viewed as a decoder of sorts that’s similar to the universal translator used on the show. There’s even an app for that! Trekkies will recall how in later shows, the universal translator was integrated into communication badges. Today, this wearable technology is used in a variety of locations, including hospitals, where communication in real time is critical.
Lasers—One can’t think of “Star Trek” without thinking of the fictional phasers the crew used on the show. From stunning an enemy to slicing through materials, one could surmise that phasers may have inspired the invention of laser technology. Some of today’s most widely used electronics and weaponry uses lasers, which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of R Examples of real-world devices that use lasers include laser pointers, handheld laser cannons and CD and DVD players. Did you know Lockheed Martin designed a prototype laser weapon known as ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset System) to defeat low-value threats such as drones, improvised rockets and small boats? Now that’s futuristic technology at work!
Natural Language Queries: Apple’s Siri and Google Now—Of all the far-fetched gadgets found on early sci-fi shows, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to understand verbal commands may be one of the coolest. Who would have ever imagined having a conversation with a computer, let alone a mobile phone? Today, we turn to Apple’s Siri or Google Now for real-time answers to a plethora of questions, queries and even directions!
Tablet Computer—Tablets are so commonplace today that some of us may not realize how futuristic this technology really was on the show. We may not be entering coordinates for the next star system, but the crew also used their PADDs (Personal Access Data Devices) to listen to music and play videos, just as we do today.
Vaughn programs turn science fiction into science fact
As a leading institution in engineering and technology, management and aviation, Vaughn offers programs that meet today’s demands head on. As we discovered in our journey back to sci-fi programming from years ago, technology that seemed unattainable is now part of our daily lives. Vaughn offers programs that are built around this technology. Here’s a snapshot of how they match up:
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) (Personal Flying Pods)—George Jetson may not have had an aviation degree, but you must admit the futuristic concept of flying cars was not far-fetched. Vaughn’s UAV club and drone courses take aviation and engineering to a higher level. Read all about last year’s International Drone Day celebration, hosted by the engineering and technology department and Vaughn’s own Adjunct Professor Loretta Alkalay, who teaches a drone law course at Vaughn—the only one of it’s kind in the country. Alkalay brings years of experience as an aviation attorney and former regional counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration.
3D Printing—The world of 3D printing technology comes to life at Vaughn College, thanks to a 3D prototyping innovation center. They may not be printing lunch just yet, but the numerous 3D printers and scanners provide students with hands-on opportunities to transform their concepts into physical objects. Read how 3D printers are revolutionizing the world of prosthetics, as well as how Vaughn graduate Kirei Watson ’18 said having the knowledge of 3D printing helped her land her dream job as a mechanical design engineer.
We hope you enjoyed this technology journey through time. Are you interested in a futureproof career? Discover all that’s possible with an engineering and technology from Vaughn College. Apply today.
Travelers are beginning to spread their wings a bit further these days as air carriers are pulling out all the stops to ease the minds and wallets of passengers who choose to fly during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Despite their eagerness to travel, some passengers may still be on the fence as far as booking their next flight is concerned. The good news is that most US airlines have created new guidelines and restructured their schedules to make travelers feel more confident.
This month, Vaughn College is highlighting five ways airlines have pivoted to make traveling a more passenger-friendly experience during the pandemic.
It comes as no surprise that the influx of customers seeking refunds was staggering, as travelers scrambled to cancel their existing flights that were booked prior to the pandemic striking the US in mid-March.
Here are two ways some airlines are accommodating their customers:
Loosening restrictions on vouchers and travel credits
Extending time frames for travelers to rebook their trips
Travelers want peace of mind when traveling by plane, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines have upped their game by making significant changes to their cleaning procedures to minimize the risk of passengers contracting the virus.
Here are steps some airlines are taking to maintain cleanliness on their planes:
Electrostatic spraying with disinfectant before every flight, with close attention to high-touch areas like overhead bin handles and arm rests
Deep cleaning each plane for six-to-seven hours every night, from back-to-front
Holding flights if airline personnel feels cabin is not clean enough prior to boarding
On the ground experience
A smooth experience in the air begins with a positive experience on the ground. Travelers have been seeing significant changes at airports as they navigate through the coronavirus pandemic. Here are safety measures some travelers may notice which could help reduce the spread of the virus:
Plexiglass shields at check-in counters and gates
Frequent sanitation of touch points, including kiosks
Touch-free transit, using mobile boarding passes
Use of electrostatic spraying in the gate areas and jet bridges to help keep pre- and post-flight process areas sanitized
Back-to-front boarding or limited number of passengers boarding at once
For the lounges that are open, travelers should expect a “scaled-back” experience such as limited capacity, disposable glassware and pre-packaged snacks
If you haven’t flown in a while, you can expect changes to the onboard experience. Aside from the mandatory mask requirement, passengers may be noticing other significant changes including:
Blocked middle seats on larger aircraft, and aisle seats on smaller ones
Reduced passenger capacity
Limited passenger and flight attendant interactions
Refreshments may be provided in individually sealed bags only
Loyalty is more important now than ever before when it comes to airlines supporting their loyal fliers. Here is how some airlines with loyalty programs are supporting their members:
Extending the elite status
Earning bonuses via credit card spending
We hope this glimse into what airlines are doing today during the pandemic will help you prepare for your next flight.
Are you interested in a futureproof career? For over 85 years, Vaughn College has been training people from all walks of life to work in the aviation field. From pilots and air traffic controllers to aircraft maintenance mechanics and engineers, Vaughn offers the degrees that can give you a competitive edge in some of today’s hottest markets. Discover all that’s possible with an exciting career in engineering and technology, management or aviation.Apply today.
Since the coronavirus pandemic struck the United States earlier this year, engineers and technologists have remained in high demand. Dice, a leading technology career hub which connects employers with skilled technology professionals, analyzed the job positions and skills that rose highest in demand between February and March of 2020.
According to the results of the Dice Tech Job Report*, the need for technologists is more critical than ever, as technology plays a key role in making this unexpected transition to a remote workplace a smooth and successful one.
Why techies are critical employees
Source: Labor Insight Jobs (Burning Glass Technologies)
The shift from businesses operating from their headquarters to a remote workplace had employers— almost overnight—examining their remote frameworks. Technologists were needed just as quickly to execute critical components to expedite the widespread conversion.
Here are some examples of how businesses pivoted to maintain communication and operations between employees and clients:
Meetings became video calls (Zoom being one of the most popular)
Conferences turned into webinars
Conversations shifted to instant messaging
To keep business flowing as usual, engineers and tech professionals were needed to work behind the scenes to meet the demands of a changing world and workplace. Here are a few job titles of the tech professionals needed to make all of this happen:
And, here are two critical components that tech professionals addressed to keep the remote workplace running smoothly:
Ensuring remote frameworks and infrastructure are secure
Ensuring employees had reliable connectivity to work from outside the office
Where the jobs are
Source: Labor Insight Jobs (Burning Glass Technologies)
Technology, or tech giants, consulting agencies and government contractors top the list of tech employers who were hiring during the first quarter of 2020, according to the Dice report. This is great news for Vaughn College students who are currently pursuing engineering degrees, as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and the Boeing Company fall among the list of the top 25 tech companies listed in the Dice report.
Read about Vaughn graduate Atif Saeed ’20 who started a job at Lockheed Martin this summer working as a mechanical engineer.
Engineers and tech professionals may be interested to learn that between February and March of this year, online retail giant Amazon increased its technology job postings by 110 percent—looking specifically for software developers and network engineers. This comes as no surprise since consumers used Amazon as an alternative to shopping at grocery stores and other essential retailers during the lockdown. Walmart increased its technology postings by 64 percent in March—in addition to the 150,000 employees they pledged to hire—and specifically sought to hire software developers and project managers.
Source: Labor Insight Jobs (Burning Glass Technologies)
According to the Dice report, different states showed varying growth, depending on how each state reacted to the COVID-19 lockdown. In New York, for example, the state was quick to enforce a stricter “stay at home” order, compared to other states that were slower to require that non-essential employees work remotely.
Shift in job postings due to pandemic
Cybersecurity engineering jobs topped the list of having the most uptick in job postings, according to the Dice report. Cybersecurity engineering job postings surged by 20 percent during February and March of this year, as businesses took a proactive approach to combating pandemic-themed phishing and cyber-attacks. System engineers were also in demand, having placed at 11 percent, and showing a clear indication that companies were concerned with maintaining their network and computer infrastructure.
Discover a futureproof career at Vaughn
The job outlook for the engineering and technology fields remains bright, and will remain so, despite the recent surge in demand during the pandemic. If your passion lies within these futureproof fields, then now is the time to capture this opportunity by earning your engineering and technology degree from Vaughn College.
Job numbers are on the rise as the economy begins to open up after the economic shutdown due to COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, several industries actually saw a rise in demand as they became an essential part of assisting in critical operations.
This month, Vaughn College is spotlighting three industries that are thriving during these uncertain times. The exciting news is how the College’s futureproof degrees in engineering and technology, management and aviation are showing their value, even during a pandemic, as some of these essential industries made the list. Read on to learn more about them. We have even matched up the degree you will need to land the job. Which one suits you?
The air cargo market has seen a recent surge in demand, as airfreight and cargo companies have become an essential part of transporting medical supplies and other life-saving equipment during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a recent market report—“Global Air Cargo Market 2020-2024”—released last month by Technavio (a global technology research and advisory company), the air cargo market is expected to grow by 16.75 million tons during the four-year time frame. It is reported that an increase in e-commerce sales has been a key factor in driving the growth of the cargo aviation market. Airlines that include The Emirates Group, United Parcel Service (UPS) Inc., Delta Air Lines, FedEx Corp., and others are among the market participants.
Boeing is also finding its way back to the runways as the revival of the air cargo market is fueling new deals for its cargo planes. With three different types of cargo jets and converted passenger-to-cargo planes in its fleet, the company is receiving orders from delivery service giants like UPS and FedEx.
Closer to home, Vaughn’s long-term relationship with Atlas Air has resulted in several alumni landing internships and ultimately full-time positions with this renowned aviation cargo company. Karen Batson ’04, Vaughn alumna and adjunct faculty member, has been instrumental in hiring more than 30 of the College’s graduates to work at Atlas Air because she knows how Vaughn prepares graduates for the aviation field and successful careers. Last year, Vaughn honored William J. Flynn, chair of the board and chief executive officer of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. at their annual gala that celebrates professionals in the industry. In his speech, Flynn stated: “Ten percent of our workforce in our New York headquarters are Vaughn College graduates. Many more graduates work elsewhere across our company. Several of our employees are now teaching at Vaughn. And countless more have mentored Vaughn students through our ongoing internship program. The work that Vaughn is doing is so critical to propelling this industry forward. Vaughn is developing some of the best and brightest minds in the workforce today.”
Interested in working in cargo aviation? Vaughn offers the following degree that could land you a job in the field. Which will you choose?
The urgent demand for medical technology during the pandemic has placed engineers front and center, as their skills and knowledge continue to play a significant role in patient care. From building life-saving ventilators to managing and tracking medical technology in hospitals, engineers are proving to be more essential now than ever before. Biomedical engineers, along with engineers who specialize in the mechatronic or robotics field, are also making their marks.
The use of robotic technology is on the rise, aiding the medical profession in ways that we once thought of as futuristic possibilities. Robots are stepping up in a big way as COVID-19 has shifted us from being a “hands-on” society to a “touchless” one. In fact, it’s believed the longest lasting effect of the coronavirus will be the use of automation. So, what does this all mean? To reduce human exposure in high-touch areas, robots are being used to disinfect and deliver goods and services, among other tasks. Additionally, robotics technologies are being valued for their profitability and are now viewed as critical components in a company’s infrastructure, similar to the way organizations may see computers and other key infrastructure.
Do you have a passion for robotics and engineering? Vaughn offers New York’s first bachelor of science degree program in mechatronic engineering, a unique curriculum that combines mechanical, electrical and computer engineering. This degree program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET (abet.org).
In addition to robotics, Vaughn offers several engineering and technology degrees that can set you on a path to a futureproof career. Are you ready to join one of the world’s fastest growing fields? See which one is right for you?
Most of us do not think about how we get our electricity. We just flip a switch and expect it to be there. With the majority of us under quarantine and working from home due to the coronavirus, the demand for electricity is higher than ever. Utility workers have always had an essential role in our daily lives. Add a pandemic to the mix, and their roles are even greater.
Vaughn College’s Aviation Training Institute can prepare you for a high-paying career as a certified airframe and powerplant technician. Did you know there are many reasons to launch a career in aviation maintenance? Aviation maintenance technicians have well-rounded knowledge and skills to work in a variety of fields. And those who are trained with an airframe and powerplant certification can work on any turbine engine. This valuable skill opens the doors to work on aircraft, trains and automobiles, and in power generation for electric, solar and wind companies.
Are you interested in working in the utility industry? Vaughn offers programs that can help you secure a job in the field.
In these times of uncertainty, one thing is certain. Now is the time to set yourself on a path to a futureproof career. See how a degree from Vaughn College can get your there. Apply today.
The friendly skies are quieter these days, as the coronavirus crisis has lessened the demand for air travel. While airlines are reporting a new record low in terms of recent air traffic, there is good news on the horizon that shows airlines and travelers are striving to get back on track.
One unanticipated impact that COVID-19 has had on the airline industry is the increased demand for cargo carriers, like Atlas Air. Air freight demand is up, reflecting the important role chartered cargo plays in maintaining the flow of goods in the best of times, and now in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Aviation and management degrees from Vaughn College are proving a valuable resource amidst the pandemic, as several alumni and recent grads are employed by Atlas Air and in other cargo-related positions within the industry. With the proper training students receive at Vaughn, combined with the boost in relief dollars from stimulus relief package, the future is looking bright for students who are seeking a futureproof career in the aviation industry.
Stimulus Relief Package
On March 27, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (or CARES) Act as an emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic. The $2 trillion stimulus package includes appropriations to aid the airline industry, transit agencies and related infrastructure. What does this all mean? Here is how it breaks down.
Of the $339.9 billion in appropriations included in the CARES Act, the Engineering News Record estimates more than $40 billion could be eligible for construction. It will be up to the states, localities and other aid recipients, however, to determine the distribution between operations and construction in certain cases. As it stands, the stimulus bill allocates $25 billion for “transit infrastructure grants,” but it states funds can be used for transit agencies’ “operating expenses related to the response to a coronavirus public health emergency.” Agencies could be seeing an additional benefit as these funds may help with lost revenue from sharp declines in ridership.
Airlines and The Aviation Industry
The CARES Act sets aside $61 billion in funding and loans for the airline and aviation industry. Of that allocation, the airlines will see $29 billion—with $25 billion going for passenger carriers and $4 billion for cargo airlines. Aviation contractors will see support of $3 billion.
Airports across the country are earmarked to share in $10 billion in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants, which will provide them much needed relief amidst the coronavirus pandemic. In the past, AIP was used to fund runway work and other infrastructure. To provide additional relief, the CARES Act expands the $10 billion for “any purpose for which airport revenues may lawfully be used”—including non-infrastructure purposes. According to American Association of Airport Executives President and CEO, Todd Hauptli, although some of the $10 billion may be used to finance construction, the funds “will help keep people at work, avoid defaults on bonds, allow critical projects to continue and assist with recovery efforts that will be massive over time.”
Closer to home
Parts of the $8 billion rebuilding project at LaGuardia Airport were halted in March when dozens of construction workers contracted the coronavirus, thus sending an unknown number of workers into quarantine after potential exposure. Governor Andrew Cuomo said despite the worker shortage, it was vital that construction at LaGuardia Airport continue.
You should know that the future of air travel and the aviation industry is bright and will bounce back quickly, especially with the additional funding and grants coming in. By the time a four-year degree program is completed, the industry is predicted to be back to where it was pre-pandemic. You can learn more about Vaughn College, its programs, student life, financial aid and more by viewing the recorded presentations from our Virtual Open House.
Amazon customers may soon be priming for a special delivery. And, it’s not about what they ordered but how it’s being delivered. Amazon unveiled its Prime Air delivery drone last summer, which has left consumers and drone enthusiasts on the edge of their seats.
If this sounds familiar, it is. The internet retailer has been improving on its drone technology over the years to bring its next-generation electric drone closer to the skies and to your doorstep. Who knows? It may be at your home sooner than you think.
Named the “MK27,” Amazon’s delivery drone service Prime Air is breaking barriers over the more than two dozen drone designs the company has tested in the past. This new “hybrid design” can show off its moves by taking off and landing vertically, like a helicopter, and flying horizontally and aerodynamically, like an airplane. This latest advancement is considered to make this drone safer, more efficient and more stable since it operates on six degrees of movement instead of four. Watch the video to see for yourself.
You may have some questions about how the Amazon drone delivery service can navigate around obstacles, let alone on its own. Here’s how: Artificial Intelligence (AI), combined with some pretty cool technology and features, allows the delivery drone to operate more autonomously. Thermal cameras, depth cameras and sonar are used to detect hazards while onboard computers are programmed to automatically identify obstacles and navigate around them. For example, Prime Air drones will be able to detect people, animals and even wires or backyard clotheslines. Even more impressive is the drone’s ability make appropriate moves and delivery decisions based on changes in the environment, either while in transit or if it encounters a moving object. Amazon took drone safety one step further by protecting the drone’s rotors with covers, which serve as wings during sustained flight. The company said that in addition to acting as a safety feature, the rotor covers allow for a more dynamic and faster flight.
Amazon is working hard toward its goal to design a drone with a 15-mile range that can deliver packages under five pounds within 30 minutes. If you’re thinking that limits deliveries to small packages, you’re correct. But did you know that 75 to 90 percent of items purchased on Amazon are under five pounds?
On the horizon
As exciting as the thought may be of having an Amazon drone delivery service deliver a package to your home, there’s still no definitive timeframe on when it will happen. Over the years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Amazon drones for test flights; however, regulations require each new prototype to have a special airworthiness certificate. Additionally, Amazon is still faced with overcoming certain social and technological obstacles, which include drone noise and the challenges of flying in inclement weather (e.g., rain or snow). The good news is the company is working hard on making drone delivery a reality. When that will happen, is up in the air.
Are you interested in the aviation industry, or learning how to design and build an unmanned aerial vehicle? Discover all that’s possible with an engineering degree from Vaughn College.
At some point in time, you may have heard the expression―“It’s not rocket science!”―in relation to a subject. For most of us, the vastness of outer space, the building of spaceships, space travel and planet exploration can be a mind-blowing topic and a hard one to wrap our heads around. Yes, in this case, rocket science does come into play. And, yes, it’s a difficult job. But for gaming and space engineering enthusiasts, the virtual reality of being a space engineer and experiencing it all is only weeks away. After five years, the wait is almost over for the release of the highly anticipated voxel-based sandbox game―Space Engineers for Xbox.
This month, Vaughn College explores the exciting roles aerospace engineers (aka ‘space engineers’) play in the world of spacecraft design and the science and technology behind it all. See how the work of real-life space engineers plays into the virtual reality of the upcoming launch of Space Engineers for Xbox.
What is a space engineer?
Space engineers are professionals who design and build machines that fly. They solve practical problems in space and on planets by applying scientific knowledge, in-depth skills and an understanding of mathematics, physics, aerodynamics and materials science—not to mention manufacturing ingenuity. Over the years, two specialty areas of engineering emerged: aeronautical and astronautical. Here are the differences between the two:
Aeronautical engineering involves designing aircraft that flies within Earth’s atmosphere. Some examples include powered lighter-than-air craft gliders, fixed-wing airplanes, jets and helicopters.
Astronautical engineering focuses on the science and technology of spacecraft that fly outside of Earth’s atmosphere. These engineers work on the design and development of the spacecraft.
Together, space engineers design aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missiles, along with the components and subassemblies which include engines, airframes, wings, landing gear, control systems and instruments. When these engineers have completed designing these crafts, they are responsible for testing prototypes to ensure they function according to plan. Virtual testing of engines, wings and control surfaces is a true gamechanger, as computer simulations are having a great impact on projecting how aircraft and spacecraft will perform under different conditions. Using computer-aided design (CAD) allows for a more seamless process in drafting and modification of designs and 3D visualization.
Space Engineers for Xbox
Speaking of visualization, imagine yourself in outer space. You are building spaceships or traveling through space to explore the planets. Space Engineers for Xbox is the latest gaming phenomenon that virtually places gamers in the middle of the action. In this game, each player’s astronaut is referred to as a “Space Engineer.” The game designers must apply real-life aeronautical engineering concepts, physics and volumetricity to make the game realistic. This is vital as players build their own spaceships, space stations and planetary outposts.
The game is designed around surviving in space and on the planets using engineering, construction and exploration. It’s all about reality and how things work. Here are some cool features and tasks you can practice:
Using a hand drill to mine an asteroid for resources
Adding new components to an existing structure
Working from the cockpit of a small ship
It was paramount to the game’s designers to follow the laws of physics and not use any science and technology that may not be possible in the future. Did you know the construction toys LEGO® and LEGO® TECHNIC served as inventor Marek Rosa’s inspiration to design this game?
Here are more fun facts about Space Engineers for Xbox:
Releases on April 15, 2020
Four million copies have been sold so far
Can be played as a survival shooter as well as construction and exploration aspects
Artificial intelligence (AI) is proving to be a real game changer in the aerospace industry as engineers are implementing various AI applications that are having a positive impact on aerospace. From manufacturing to customer relations, there’s nothing artificial about these changes that are making a real difference.
We’d like to take a closer look at the ways AI is impacting the aerospace industry and what it means for the future.
Streamlining the process
There are―literally―several moving parts to aerospace engineering. From the design process and prototyping to budgeting and manufacturing, artificial intelligence is setting the pace for streamlining design and manufacturing systems over the next 15 years.
Lightweight and sturdy parts
Think about it. Lighter airplane parts make for more efficient flying. The use of AI algorithms combined with generative design is helping designers develop new parts that are both lightweight and sustainable. Add in the use of 3D printing with AI-enabled generative design and you have a more efficient way to supply airplane generators and wings.
Here are some additional advantages of using artificial intelligence in the production design process. The use of AI can:
Perform inspections faster and more efficiently
Improve operational effectivity
Improve proficiency of supply chain management, thanks to automated data
Be more economical
Research collected information from sensors that gather information―like temperature and moisture―and pinpoint faulty plane parts beforehand.
Conserving fuel is a major concern in the aerospace industry. With almost 100,000 flights in the air every day across the globe, it’s no wonder experts are looking for ways to reduce gas consumption. Did you know industry forecasters estimated the global commercial aircraft industry could tap out at a record-breaking 97 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) gallons of fuel in 2019?
Previously, we mentioned how the use of AI―together with the assistance of 3D printing―can fabricate lightweight parts. This process, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. Now, let’s take that one step further. Airplanes use the most fuel on the climb. Experts say AI-created climb stage profiles can be created by using artificial intelligence models to analyze how much fuel is used by pilots during the climb phase. These profiles can then help streamline fuel usage so that pilots can adequately preserve fuel during flights. Less fuel means cleaner skies.
Pilots are gaining valuable training through AI simulators, combined with virtual reality frameworks. Here are a few cool ways AI is improving pilot training on the ground to keep us safer in the skies:
Pilots get a progressively realistic simulation experience
Training information is gathered and analyzed
AI used in a cockpit can improve a flightpath by:
Evaluating and alerting information on fuel levels
Determining framework status
Reporting climate conditions and other vital parameters
It goes without saying that safety is of the highest priority in the airplane industry. Artificial intelligence plays a significant role in keeping everyone safe by providing efficient options. Here are some of these options:
At the airport, AI-enabled cameras use facial recognition to identify suspicious individuals. (Some programs may even provide photographs of individuals with felony data.)
AI-enabled cameras can be used to detect malicious activity in the airport.
Threats and dangers can be detected by utilizing AI in machine studying and geospatial sign processing, as well as by the use of photographs and movies extracted from aerial automobiles and satellites.
There are two words that come to mind in regard to consumers: customer satisfaction and loyalty. The airline industry knows this. With their competition flying past them in the skies, it’s up to the particular airlines to rise above their competitors when it comes to making their customers happy. But is using artificial intelligence really the answer? You would think customers would want human interaction, but the latest statistics show otherwise. AI-enabled chatbots (yes, chatbots) are today’s latest conversation starters. Chatbots are digital devices that simulate conversation with human users and answer any requests and questions in real time. Here’s how the current use of chatbots breaks down by location and industry:
Airport terminals—9 percent
Future use in airline industry—68 percent of airlines want to utilize AI-driven chatbots
Emirates Vacations, part of Emirates Airlines, saw an 87 percent expansion in the engagement of chatbot-incorporated advertisements following a 30-day trial campaign when compared to standard advertisements.
As fascinating a role AI plays in our daily lives, it’s important to remember that it takes the knowledge and skill of humans to make it all possible.