July 18, 2013
The trip to Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) began at 7:15am in the hotel lobby when both Academies started loading cars and prepared for the three hour drive. The accommodations were nicer than usual, Kyle had worked his magic and obtained two full-size rental cars for the trip to Dayton, OH and the Aero Academy was overjoyed. After loading the cars, both Academies met Dr. Kankam in the Glenn Hanger parking lot, bringing the car total up to five.
Upon arriving at the Air Force base, Capitan Easterday greeted the Academy and led everyone to the Pulse Detonation Engine Research Facility (PDERF). With temperatures in the mid nineties and a humidity level to match, the walk between facilities was immediately noticeable. After the sweaty Academites reached the PDERF, they were shown a quick video describing pulse detonation engines (PDE’s) and the accomplishments WPAFB had made in the past few years. Relying on waves of detonation to burn the fuel/oxidizer mixture, PDE’s are inherently more efficient than traditional turbine engines and WPAFB contributed to the first PDE powered aircraft. After asking a few questions while still grasping the idea of PDE, the tour was hurried off to another facility. The next facility was centered around real-time monitoring of engines using laser detection methods. Relieved by the above average air-conditioning, the group listened to a description of the three main laser laboratories found within the building. The tour guide also revealed his pet-project aimed towards using vibrational energies from laser excited molecules to generate high resolution images of organic material such as cell walls and membranes. Finally, the tour stopped at the vertical airfoil testing rig building for their last location. Modeling directly after a facility at NASA Glenn, the facility featured the ability to test multiple airfoils in a linear orientation at high air velocities. The advantages of the test frame were that it easily allowed for quick removal and placement of new test specimens. Next to the airfoil testing rig was a student-run project modeling the heat transfer modes of structural pieces in a wind tunnel. After much excitement, the tour was concluded as the Academites hurried off to the cool welcome of air conditioned vehicles ready to sweep them away to the highly regarded Wright Paterson Air Force Museum.
The museum was a collect of three very large hangers filled to the brim with planes and other flying crafts from all eras of man’s excursion in flight. Starting off with Max meeting a potential relative sharing the same last name, the Academites entered the museum and instantly dispersed into groups of two or three to explore the fascinating exhibits independently. The museum exhibit areas were as follows: Early Years Gallery, World War II Gallery, Korean War Gallery, Southeast Asia War Gallery, Cold War Gallery, Missile and Space Gallery, Presidential Gallery, and finally the Research and Development Gallery. Having only a mere two and a half hours to explore and enjoy the sights, the Academites were there until closing. After the museum, the group decided on a local Mexican food restaurant that was downright amazing.