As a Vaughn aviation or engineering student, you already know you’re gearing up for an awesome career. But do you have questions about how to position yourself for the right job or how to meet the right people? If you answered “yes,” then you’re not alone. In fact, these are the exact questions you need to ask yourself and the perfect reason to consider attending one of the following conferences we’re highlighting this month. Don’t forget to ask about the financial support that may be available from your college to support your attendance.

Benefits of attending conferences include priceless job exposure, expansive networking opportunities, unparalleled learning experience in the field, chances to present your student research paper or project, and the opportunity to discover more about the companies you’ll apply to after graduation, in the industries you are interested in.

Automated Software Engineering (ASE)

This conference is billed as the “premier research forum for automated software engineering,” which brings together researchers and practitioners from academia and industry to discuss foundations, techniques and tools for automating the analysis, design, implementation, testing and maintenance of large software systems.

ASE is held annually in November. This year, ASE 2019 will be held in San Diego, California from November 11 through November 15, 2019. This  conference has added several new workshops to keep an eye on, and which offer great opportunities to present: 1) The ACM Student Research Competition; 2) Industry Showcase; 3) Late Breaking Results.

American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)

This conference draws thousands of attendees each year who are looking to find innovative solutions that can help airports work smarter. This past June, AAAE was held in Boston, MA. The conference proved successful for Vaughn graduate students as they entered the poster competition for the first time and took third place with their first-of-its-kind partnership research project. Keep this one on your radar for next year.

American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

This is the only conference dedicated to all disciplines of engineering education. The 126th annual American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference, which was held in Tampa this past June, was an exciting time for Vaughn engineering students and faculty. Both students and faculty were commended for their participation at this historic conference, and presented research on braille block language design concept, working mechanism of design, manufacturing process using 3D printing, and electrical construction and Arduino software design of the braille block. You may want to consider putting this conference on your list for next year, too!

Association for Equality and Excellence in Education (AEEE)

This conference is geared toward professional development. In an intimate setting, attendees have direct access to presenters, and they can also share best practices with peers. This conference offers priceless opportunities for networking, product and software innovations, and the chance to participate in open discussions. AEEE is typically held in the spring and is a great one to put on your bucket list for next year.

Latin American and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions (LACCEI)

This non-profit organization of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) institutions is geared toward raising the awareness level and importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), as well as education, research, and development and engineering.

This year’s annual LACCEI 2019 Conference, located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, topped the charts in July, where Vaughn engineering and technology students were awarded for their efforts on a grand scale. Six Vaughn engineering and technology student research papers were accepted for presentation at the LACCEI 2019 International Conference and were among the 10 finalists. Vaughn ended up taking home first, second and third places in the student paper competition.

Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM)

This annual conference encompasses all areas of research and applications relating to a broad focus on experimental mechanics. Topics covered include digital image and digital volume correlations techniques, in addition to several of the latest technologies. This is a great opportunity for students to expand their knowledge in the field of experimental mechanics.

Vaughn engineering students attended the SEM conference in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2017, where they presented their paper, “The Effect of the 3D Printing Process on the Mechanical Properties of Materials.” Read about these students and others at Vaughn who presented at various conferences.

Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)

Known as one of the largest air shows of its kind, the EAA AirVenture features aviation enthusiasts in the fields of homemade flying craft, as well as designers of more serious craft, and an expansive list of government agencies and companies involved in the aviation and aeronautics industries. This is the go-to event for aviation enthusiasts and qualifying aviation students. Read about two Vaughn students who had the privilege of attending past EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and their priceless experiences.

Vaughn’s take

Vaughn is committed to providing its students a futureproof education. Part of that commitment is guiding these students to various paths of success. Supporting student attendance and participation in conferences like the ones spotlighted above is just another way students can up their game for a successful future.

Dr. Hossein Rahemi, chair of the engineering and technology department at Vaughn stated, “These conferences improve students’ presentation and networking skills and provide them with exposure to companies who attend, to ultimately help them secure a position post-graduation.”

Check out all that’s possible with Vaughn’s aviation and engineering and technology degree programs.

You may have heard that air travel is considered one of the safest forms of transportation—and for good reason. In addition to a checklist of precautionary measures taken to ensure passenger safety, air travel is also the most maintained public transportation system for mass travel. Airplane safety precautions go way beyond the fastening of seat belts and listening to the pre-flight safety drill. As important as these measures are, did you know of the interesting and little-known safety features on airplanes that even the most seasoned air traveler may not be aware of?

This month, we caught up with Fred Parham, associate director of the Aviation Technology Institute (ATI) at Vaughn College, for his take on the subject. So, sit back and relax as we reveal some cool and interesting airplane safety features that just might surprise you. (Oh, tray tables and seats in an upright position do not apply here.)

Interesting Plane Safety Features

Emergency Backup Systems

We don’t want to think about this, but even the best systems need a backup system―or two. Today’s aircraft are equipped with backup systems in the event of a catastrophic failure.

  • Ram Air Turbine (RAT)—Commonly known as RAT in the aviation industry, this small turbine is used as an alternate emergency hydraulic or electrical power source in the event of a catastrophic failure. A propeller-like turbine, which is stowed in a compartment in the fuselage or wing, drops down beneath the plane and generates power from the airstream while being connected to an electrical generator or hydraulic pump. The RAT provides power to vital systems that include flight controls and instrumentation, as well as navigation and communication equipment which aids the pilot to land the plane safely in an emergency.
  • Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)—Did you ever wonder how the air conditioning and electricity operate on the airplane when the engines aren’t running? If so, you can be thankful for the APU should you ever find yourself sitting in an airplane while it’s being serviced or prepared for flight. This small turbine is in the rear of the aircraft and supplies electric power, compressed air and hydraulic pressure to the aircraft systems.

Interesting airplane safety features

Here are some other interesting airplane safety features passengers may be curious about:

  • Floor Proximity Emergence Escape Path Marking System (FPEEPMS)—Do you recall the flight attendant explaining how arrows will illuminate the floor of the cabin in an emergency, serving as a guide to the exit doors? In case you missed it, this system is in place in the event of a fire in the cabin. Thick smoke can make it impossible to find the way to safety. Since smoke rises, passengers can crawl to avoid smoke as they follow the arrows to the exit doors.
  • Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS)—These life-saving systems within aircrafts detect, warn and issue instructions to pilots of two aircrafts in the event of an impending collision.
  • Terminal Control Area (TCA) or Terminal Maneuvering Area (TMA)—In order to reduce the risk of midair collisions, there is a designated area of controlled airspace around major airports where there is a high volume of air traffic. These areas are called terminal control areas (TCA) or terminal maneuvering areas (TMA). Air traffic control ensures aircrafts flying within these areas are safe.
  • Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning (EGPWS)—This electronic system alerts pilots if their aircraft is in immediate danger of flying into an obstacle, approaching terrain or the ground.

Air travel can be an exciting experience. Whether it’s flying off to unexplored destinations, visiting with friends and family or for business, the exhilaration of flying is truly a wonder. We hope these little-known airplane safety features make you feel even more comfortable whenever you fly the friendly skies.

Check out all that’s possible through Vaughn’s Aviation Training Institute and by earning aviation degrees and certificates.

Keeping an Eye on the Sky: The Need for Air Traffic Controllers

Has a career as an air traffic controller been on your radar? Now may be the best time to train for one of the most sought-after and important positions in the industry. See why attending an institution like Vaughn College can give you a competitive edge to landing a job as an air traffic controller.

Growth in the industry

As air travel continues to increase, so does the need for air traffic control. Over the past five years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has hired over 7,800 new air traffic controllers. Just this month, the FAA announced it will begin hiring to fill entry-level air traffic control positions.

Making it happen

Vaughn can prepare you for this exciting career as an air traffic controller in less time than you might have imagined. Vaughn partners with the FAA to offer the Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI). Why is that important? By attending a college like Vaughn, which offers the AT-CTI, you get to bypass the FAA biometric screening exam―which many do not pass. Vaughn is one of only 30 colleges in the country to offer this program, and the only program of its kind in the Northeast.

Unique job benefits

The steady demand for air traffic controllers and the unique benefits of this position are catching the attention of aviation enthusiasts from all walks of life. With the following standard benefits, it’s no wonder air traffic controllers will be in steady demand for years to come:

  • Potential to earn six-figure salary after first few years of service
  • Consistent work schedule
  • Scheduled breaks throughout your shift
  • Mandatory retirement age at 56, with full federal pension benefits

Student Success Story

Vaughn graduates like Jessenia Diaz ’10 have landed successful careers as air traffic controllers―right here in New York City. Diaz is just one example of how passion and dedication can lead to attaining a dream job.

Learn more by reading: Your Future in Air Traffic Control.

When you think of aviation, you can’t help but think “up”—airplanes flying overhead, rockets launching into space. But did you know the world of aviation is so much more than that? To keep aircrafts safe in the air, we need experts on the ground to make it all happen.

For over 80 years, Vaughn College has been the cornerstone of education for students who choose to pursue careers in aviation. With a vast curriculum encompassing all aspects of aviation, it’s no wonder Vaughn graduates are succeeding at every level and landing their dream aviation jobs in a soaring industry. Want proof? Check out the recent success stories of Alexa Cruz ’22, Kirei Watson ’18, and Jade Kukula ’07.

We’ve narrowed down the top five aviation jobs and salaries in the industry today. See all the opportunities you have with your aviation degree:

1. Director of Aerospace Program Management

Annual Salary: $183,000 (including bonuses and profit sharing).
Education: Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or related field; graduate degree may be required.

This leadership position is one to aspire to as it requires experience and expertise in the field. Directors of aerospace program management lead product and project-development programs and are involved in creating a company’s business strategies, negotiating contracts to build aircrafts, and ensuring budgets and timetables are met. They are typically hired by aircraft or engine manufacturers, or defense, telecommunications or other aerospace-related employers. Other tasks include:

2. Commercial Pilot, CoPilot, or Flight Engineer

Annual Salary: $113,000 (including bonuses and profit sharing).
Education: Bachelor’s degree in aviation.
Certifications: Commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the FAA-issued Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate.

If you ever needed a reason―aside from your passion―to become an airline pilot, here’s one you can’t ignore: According to a recent report from Boeing projects, the airline industry will need more than 637,000 pilots by 2036. There’s never been a better time to pursue your dream and train to become a pilot amidst this staggering pilot shortage. Additionally, pilots have the potential to earn excellent salaries as their careers advance. Airline pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers are on board to perform the same duties, ensuring the safe flight of aircraft from one place to another. Other tasks include:

3. Air Traffic Controller

Annual Salary: $85,000.
Education: Associate or bachelor’s degree.
Certification: Pass the FAA biometric-screening exam or attend an institution like Vaughn which offers the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program―a partnership between the FAA and Vaughn to provide air traffic control (ATC) instruction.

Air traffic controllers (ATCs) are a pilot’s eyes and ears on the ground, assisting with landing and take-off instructions. ATCs are also responsible for rerouting in-flight aircraft when inclement weather strikes. A unique characteristic of working as an ATC is the mandatory retirement age of 56, with full federal pension benefits. Other tasks include:

4. Aerospace/Aviation Project Engineer

Annual Salary: $83,000.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, aviation engineering or another field of engineering or science that is related to aerospace systems.

Aerospace/aviation project engineers have the exciting task of designing aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. They are employed in various fields which include manufacturing, analysis and design, research and development, and the federal government. Note that aerospace engineers working in national defense may need a security clearance. Other tasks include:

5. Aircraft Maintenance Manager

Annual Salary: $81,000.
Education: Bachelor’s degree.
Certification: Requires FAA aircraft and engine mechanic license.

Aircraft maintenance managers play a leading role of overseeing their team to ensure work is completed and performed according to quality control guidelines. These professionals must possess both technical and leadership skills to efficiently perform maintenance jobs in addition to supervising maintenance operations. Other tasks include:

Are you setting your sights on a career in aviation? Vaughn’s career services offer aviation enthusiasts a wide range of options where they can find the perfect career fit with certificate, associate, bachelor and master’s degree programs.

Check out all that’s possible with Vaughn’s maintenance aviation degree programs and certificates.

Note: Salaries reported by PayScale and based on a national average.

Unique 3D printed sensor technology may be a real gamechanger in NASA’s future efforts to send humans to the moon and possibly Mars. Recent funding is fueling a much-anticipated program that could potentially make great strides in advancing the way NASA can detect life-sustaining elements in space and even monitor the health and safety of its astronauts.

The world of 3D printing really hits home for Vaughn students and alumni. Vaughn College is at the forefront of 3D printing technology, thanks to a 3D prototyping innovation center that was launched just a few years ago. It is equipped with 15 3D printers and two 3D scanners to provide students with hands-on opportunities to transform their concepts into physical objects.

What is 3D printed sensory technology?

Think of the way a printer uses ink to print things such as newspapers, for example. Now, take that principle and add amazing innovations where the ink is replaced with nanomaterials―such as carbon nanotubes and graphene―and applying them, layer-by-layer, onto a substrate to create miniature sensors.

The result is a set of highly sensitive tiny powerhouses that are lightweight, can withstand radiation and require less power, thus keeping them stable in extreme conditions. This 3D printer could produce these tiny platforms that may someday be sent on planetary rovers for further exploration in search of life throughout the solar system.

Vaughn Alumni, Jade Kukula ’07, who earned her bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, is no stranger to 3D printers. She studied “swarm robotics” for her bachelor’s degree project. The term “swarm robots” refers to a coordination of multiple robots that can communicate with one another. Right out of college, she took her learnings from Vaughn and applied them to the Hubble Space Telescope team, where she became responsible for maintaining the health and safety of the telescopes, as well as related science and engineering data.

Making it happen

NASA engineer Mahmooda Sultana won a $2 million technology development award funded by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s (STMD) Early Career Initiative (ECI) to further develop the nanomaterial-based detector platform. As reported by Lori Keesey of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, this potentially revolutionary sensor technology stems from a self-contained platform, measuring only two-by-three inches, that is capable of sensing minute concentrations of gases, vapor, atmospheric pressure and temperature. Additionally, this platform would then transmit the data via a wireless antenna. Pretty cool, right?

For the next two years, Sultana and her team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will be working on this amazing program. They will design the sensor platform to determine the best combination of materials to achieve parts-per-billion concentrations of water, ammonia, methane and hydrogen. Northeastern University will then take Sultana’s design and use the 3D printing system to complete the process, simplifying the integration and packaging process.

Up until now, sensors were built one at a time and then integrated into other components. The advent of 3D printing will change that by allowing technicians to print a suite of sensors on one platform.

Interested in pursuing an engineering and technology career?

Vaughn offers a wide range of associate and bachelor’s degrees to prepare you for an exciting career in engineering, technology, management or aviation, that will set you apart from the competition. Here are a few of the majors offered at Vaughn which provide students with a rigorous and comprehensive course of study to enable them to become successful in their chosen fields.

Did you know over 635,000 new maintenance technicians will be hired worldwide over the course of the next 20 years? There are many possible career paths open to an aviation maintenance technician. Vaughn College Aviation Training Institute (ATI) graduates have found rewarding careers with the federal government, in the telecommunications field and with aerospace companies, just to name a few. From working on turbines found on aircraft, on trains and in nuclear power plants―whether your strengths lie in mechanical, analytical or managerial skills―a career in aviation maintenance can be the perfect fit for your future.

What is an Aviation Maintenance Technician?

Aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs)―also known as airframe and powerplant (A&P) technicians―work around the clock for your safety by ensuring every plane and train passes inspection before leaving for its destination. If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, for example, you know the drill. From waiting on Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lines, to boarding the plane, the endgame is to arrive at your destination safely. If you ever wondered who is working behind the scenes to keep the planes properly maintained, the answer might be―you! Vaughn can help launch your dream career, and in less time than you may think.

Set Your Sights on Vaughn College

The ATI at Vaughn is the perfect launching pad where you can earn your Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) A&P certificate to prepare for a high-paying career. In fact, the latest forecast from Boeing revealed the industry will need as many as 635,000 new technicians by 2037―and that’s just on the commercial aviation side.

Vaughn offers many degree programs in this exciting, high-paying field that can open many doors for students interested in aviation careers:

Aviation Maintenance Certificate Program

Looking to start your career sooner than later? This certificate program will give you the skills to install, build, diagnose and maintain multimillion-dollar equipment and systems in today’s aviation industry. Students who have a passion for hands-on learning in mechanical skills that involve airframe and powerplant maintenance operations are instructed on servicing, repair and maintenance of airframe structures and powerplants. This program can be completed in as little as 16 months, equaling four semesters, getting you out of the classroom and working on the ground sooner than you could have imagined.

Once you complete a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technical program―such as the one offered at the ATI at Vaughn―you’ll be qualified to take the required Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) exams. To earn your A&P certificate, you must pass the written, oral and practical exams. If you hold a GED or high school diploma, you can also obtain an associate in occupational studies as part of this FAA-approved program. Students who complete their A&P certification―and who decide to pursue a more advanced degree at Vaughn―will be awarded 30 credits toward a bachelor’s or associate degree in aviation maintenance.

Aviation Maintenance Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

This two-year college degree incorporates a balanced combination of theoretical study and practical hands-on laboratory experience, along with an emphasis on computer applications and manufacturing practices. Graduates with an aviation maintenance associate in applied science degree will have the expertise to work in entry-level aviation maintenance positions. Additionally, they will be qualified to work in aircraft manufacturing or related fields within the general, corporate or airline maintenance industries. Other career opportunities include positions at any airline or flight operations department, component manufacturers or repair shops. Graduates who earn an AAS then have the option pursue a bachelor of science degree in aviation maintenance.

Aviation Maintenance―Bachelor of Science (BS)

Looking to take your skills to the next level? The aviation maintenance bachelor of science degree will prepare you with a keen ability to communicate and provide a high level of critical and analytical skills to land supervisory positions in the aviation maintenance field. Graduates will have a well-rounded understanding of theoretical study, complemented by practical hands-on laboratory experience. Additionally, graduates will become thoroughly knowledgeable in computer applications and a receive a sound background in manufacturing practices. Career opportunities related to this degree include maintenance line manager, specialized shop manager and maintenance quality auditor.

Don’t miss out on capitalizing on this exciting aviation career opportunity. You have what it takes to be a part of this growing industry―and Vaughn has what it takes to get you there!

Check out all that’s possible with Vaughn’s maintenance degree programs and certificates through the Aviation Training Institute.

Have you ever dreamed of turning your hobby of flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, into a full-blown career? Well, we at Vaughn College are here to say that dream is possible. The UAV industry is soaring to new heights as enthusiasts are turning their aviation hobby into one of today’s most unique and sought-after careers.

Wondering what kind of UAV careers are out there? We’re here to help you figure that out. Vaughn College is one of the select colleges in the country that offers classes in UAV technology, usage, and drone law―all of which will help fully prepare you in every aspect of the field. We also have communities for like-minded UAV hobbyists, such as the UAV club, where students and faculty put their heads together to build, program and compete in top contests around the nation.

Below, we have listed various industries that are seeking UAV pilots to give them a bird’s-eye view to enhance their specific niche or field.

Real estate

The booming real estate industry is capitalizing on the talents of UAV pilots to provide aerial stills, videos and 3D maps of properties for sale. This technology is taking virtual tours up a notch with their capability to showcase aerial and ground footage.


Have you ever watched a movie or television show and wondered how they shoot those amazing aerial shots? These sequences can be filmed quickly and efficiently using a UAV.

Public Safety

Last year, over 900 public safety agencies used drones. That’s more than double the number that was only two years earlier. Our country’s fire and police departments are using them to create specific maps of local schools and buildings, determine exit points in the case of a fire or police emergency, and to locate victims after a natural disaster.


In the past, insurance inspectors or adjusters would physically evaluate the damage done to a home by severe weather. Today, drone insurance inspections are being done by drone pilots who can fly a set pattern over a damaged roof or other area and retrieve the necessary images to evaluate the claim.


Drones capture the drama of breaking news stories that range from flooded disaster areas to raging wild fires, using documentary-type footage, as well as stills for an artistically written piece.


Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) maps help farmers assess the condition and location of their crops, eliminating the need for farmers to walk their fields. New software can process the raw data collected by drone pilots, which in turn can help increase crop yields.


UAV pilots can assist cities in reducing the time and money it takes for inspections of critical infrastructure in transportation, while increasing the accuracy of the collected data. Thirty-five states are already using UAVs for their regular transportation activities.


Inspections are a big part of the energy industry, so it comes as no surprise that UAVs are providing faster, less expensive ways to inspect power lines and solar panels, among other tasks.


UAV pilots are playing a key role in this industry and they’ve changed the landscape of necessary operations, such as tower surveys and inspections, making the process safer and more cost-effective for telecommunications giants like AT&T and Verizon, as examples. In fact, Verizon was so impressed with this potential, they purchased the drone company Skyward in 2017.


From elementary schools to colleges and universities, educators are weaving this powerful technology into their classroom activities, sparking interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), geography, and collaborative work.

Have questions about a UAV career? Our drone law professor, Loretta Alkalay, brings years of experience as an aviation attorney and former regional counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA.)

Vaughn’s UAV Club has been instrumental in getting the word out in the past by hosting the highly anticipated festivities surrounding International Drone Day (IDD). This year, IDD will be celebrated on Saturday, May 4, marking this aviation phenomenon’s fifth anniversary. Stay tuned for this year’s event!

Image Source: NASA

As a finish to Vaughn College’s celebration of Women’s History Month, we present this blog about Expedition 57―the first space mission where the only two astronauts representing the United States were both female.

Setting the pace

Launched on June 6, 2018, Expedition 57 began a 197-day mission where it circled the globe 3,152 times, covering 83.3 million miles. The crew consisted of expedition Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), Soyuz Commander Sergey Prokopyev, Oleg Kononenko (RSA), and David Saint-Jacques (CSA). Completing―and distinguishing―this crew were NASA flight engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and NASA astronaut Anne McClain. Together, they formed a highly successful―and fun―space-traveling team.

Science in the making

Fondly referred to as a “world-class orbiting laboratory,” the Expedition 57 crew worked aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where they contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, and physical and Earth science. Some exciting discoveries on this space mission included investigations into new cancer treatment methods, algae growth in space, and the installation of a new Life Sciences Glovebox, which is a sealed work area for life science and technology investigations that can accommodate two astronauts. And look at which two crew members were diligently at work in the ISS robotics workstation! The two United States female astronauts made history for women in space.

Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Anne McClain










Image Source: NASA

Timeless activities

The Expedition 57 space mission was all about science―but not without some fun thrown in for good measure. To lighten the mood, the crew had no problem showing off their personalities by d­ressing up in costumes on Halloween. They might have missed out on trick-or-treating, but they wasted no time relaying photos back to Earth to give everyone a good laugh.

Expedition 57 Halloween










Image Source:

The crew returned to Earth on December 20, 2018, closing out a groundbreaking trip which conducted many successful experiments.

The momentum of women empowering other women―along with recognition of their achievements and successes―motivates them to reach for their dreams. Many of us might not make it to the stars as Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Anne McClain did, but our confidence can lead us to our own happy place.

Visit Our Open House on Saturday, April 13

Are you a woman interested in a career in aviation? Register for our Open House on April 13 at 10 a.m. to learn how you can take your future to the skies.

As part of the ongoing celebration of Women’s History Month, the Women in Aviation International Conference (WAI) celebrated its 30th Anniversary last week in Long Beach, California. This milestone celebration hosted attendees from around the globe, representing all aspects of the aviation community and recognizing powerful women who have not only paved the way to help change the landscape of women in aviation but empowered other women to do the same.

In recognition of their groundbreaking achievements, we are spotlighting five influential women in aviation who have been inducted into the WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame.

Bessie Coleman

First African-American to Earn International Pilot’s License

Bessie ColemanBessie Coleman broke the racial barrier and became the first African-American to earn an international pilot’s license. Born in Atlanta, Texas in 1892, Coleman moved to Chicago after briefly attending Langston University in Oklahoma. She was an avid reader and worked as a laundress, but it was during her time in Chicago, where she was inspired by World War I pilots, that she decided to pursue a pilot’s license.

Knowing Europe had a more liberal attitude toward women and people of color, Coleman learned to speak French and worked hard to earn enough money to move to Paris. On June 15, 1921 she earned her pilot’s license from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. She moved back to the United States, where she flew at air shows and taught aviation to African-Americans.

Sadly, she didn’t live long enough to make her dream of establishing a flying school for African-Americans a reality, but her legacy inspired the Bessie Coleman Aero groups in the early 1930s, which held the first all-black air show in America and attracted 15,000 spectators. Almost 90 years later, the event has become an annual aviation celebration.

Harriet Quimby

First Licensed Female Pilot in the United States

Harriet Quimby On August 11, 1911, Harriet Quimby became the first licensed female pilot in the United States, ten years before Amelia Earhart. Her daring and adventurous side put her name in the books on April 16, 1912 as the first woman to fly across the English Channel. This incredible feat catapulted her name in the industry, but the sinking of the Titanic two days earlier overshadowed her accomplishment in the news. She is also credited with being the first woman to fly over Mexico City.

Prior to earning her pilot’s license, Quimby was an accomplished writer. In 1911, she managed to write seven screenplays which were made into silent movies. At that time in history, she was the only woman who wrote about and encouraged other women to enter the field of aviation.

“In my opinion, there is no reason why the aeroplane should not open a fruitful occupation for women. I see no reason why they cannot realize handsome incomes by carrying passengers between adjacent towns, why they cannot derive incomes from parcel deliveries, from taking photographs from above or from conducting schools for flying.”

Katherine Cheung

“China’s Amelia Earhart”

Katherine CheungListed in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum as the nation’s first Asian aviatrix, Katherine Cheung switched gears from studying music at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the University of Southern California to obtaining an international commercial airline pilot’s license.

Born in China in 1904, Cheung moved to the United States to live with her father and attend college. She married in 1924 and fell in love with flying a few years later while taking an airplane ride with a relative who was a pilot. Soon after, she enrolled for flying lessons, and in 1932 received her pilot certification, the first Asian-American female pilot in the United States to do so. Aerobatics soon became one of her passions. She entered competitive air races and became a member of the Women’s International Association of Aeronautics that same year, launching her aerobatics/air show career. Three years later, Cheung was invited to become a member of the International Association of Women Pilots – the Ninety-Nines – where she befriended Amelia Earhart.

Aside from being honored in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, the Beijing Air Force Aviation Museum calls Cheung “China’s Amelia Earhart.”

Jeana Yeager

Member of the Groundbreaking Voyager Team and Winner of the Collier Trophy

Jeana YeagerJeana Yeager was born in Fort Worth, Texas on May 18, 1952. She moved to Santa Rosa, California in 1977, where she worked as a draftsman and surveyor for a company specializing in geothermal energy. Her fascination with helicopters prompted her to earn her private pilot’s license at the age of 26. In 1980, Yeager met fellow pilot Dick Rutan and his brother Burt, an aircraft designer, at an airshow in Chino, California. The rest, they say, is history. The three innovators brainstormed their dream of flying around the world without stopping and without refueling. After six years of design, construction and development, the Voyager team constructed the unique aircraft made almost entirely of lightweight graphite-honeycomb composite materials. Expected to take 18 months, the milestone flight― which took place between December 14 and December 23, 1986―set the record, taking only nine days, three minutes and forty-four seconds.

In recognition of this revolutionary aviation accomplishment, President Reagan presented the Voyager crew with the Presidential Citizenship Medal, which had been awarded only 16 times before in history. In addition, Jeana Yeager earned the Collier Trophy―aviation’s most prestigious award.

Bernice “Bee” Haydu

Former WASP President Who is Among the First Women to Fly Military Planes for the Army

Bee HayduBernice “Bee” Haydu was born on December 15, 1920 in Montclair, New Jersey. After graduating high school, she enrolled in aviation classes on the weekends while working as a secretary. She attended the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in Sweetwater, Texas and completed her training in March 1944. Haydu is among the first women to fly military airplanes for the Army Air Force. Her dedication to WASP placed her front and center as president of the organization from 1975-1978, where she led the fight in Congress to recognize the WASP as veterans. In 1977, President Carter signed the bill into law, allowing the WASP access to Veterans Administration benefits.

Haydu was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000, the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame in 2012, received the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2014, and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Vaughn College in 2015.

Are you a woman interested in a career in aviation? Register for our Open House on April 13 at 10 a.m. to learn how you can take your future to the skies.

The Mars exploration exhibition has a new robot and its name matches the mission as NASA’s InSight spacecraft is gearing up to give scientist’s “insight” into the Red Planet’s interior as it studies the Martian underworld.

Sticking the landing

Excitement filled the control room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory last November when the InSight spacecraft sent back confirmation of its safe arrival on Mars’ surface. After launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California six months earlier, InSight travelled 300 million miles and landed flawlessly on the Red Planet in what NASA engineers and scientists are calling “a nail-biting descent.”

Traditionally, Florida’s Space Coast is the launching pad for such voyages; however, this was the first interplanetary mission lift-off from the West Coast of the United States. InSight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is the ninth lander in history to be sent for Mars exploration by the United States.

Robotics in motion

InSight is equipped with a robotic arm that will lift a dome-shaped package containing seismometers and a heat probe up from the main deck of the spacecraft and on to the surface of Mars. These instruments will burrow about 16 feet down into the planet’s interior structure, where the seismometers will measure surface movements and produce sonograms of its interior.

Vaughn College has a keen interest in mechatronic engineering and the development of robotic equipment, having set the stage for excellence in robotics. Its robotics team earned the world championship title in the 2016 VEX Worlds Robotics Competition and placed among the top three in the world in the 2017 and 2018 competitions.

Unlike temblors caused by plate tectonics found on Earth, Martian temblors are generated when crust cracks due to the cooling and shrinking of the planet’s interior. This groundbreaking mission, no pun intended, is extraordinary since the interior of Mars has been basically frozen in place since it formed almost 4.5 billion years ago. That’s billion with a ‘b’! Scientists are hopeful to record anywhere between 10-to-12 marsquakes over the next two years.

Hitching a ride

The InSight spacecraft wasn’t alone on its rocket ride last year. Two CubeSats―or miniature satellites―named MarCo-A and MarCo-B, hitched a ride for their own Mars exploration mission to show how tiny spacecraft can explore deep space. This new technology tested flawlessly as NASA scientists stated the MarCo duo was instrumental in the landing, having been able to relay data from the InSight spacecraft to mission control.

Fun fact: CubeSats are no strangers to orbiting the Earth. In fact, hundreds have been launched in recent years, although the InSight spacecraft mission marks the first interplanetary voyage for the identical satellite spacecrafts.

Mission possible

Over the next two years, the InSight spacecraft will have an unprecedented look at the interior structure and composition of Mars as it listens for marsquakes and tremors while collecting data. These findings will help scientists understand how Mars and other rocky planets like Earth formed, and could also serve as a time machine to give scientists a glimpse at what Earth may have looked like tens of millions of years after it formed.

Robotics at Vaughn College

Are you interested in learning more about robotics? Vaughn’s mechatronic engineering degree program can prepare you for an exciting future in robotics and may even set you on a trajectory to discovering possibilities that are out of this world.