Senior Capstone: Asteria 

By Zoe Crain
Copy Editor 

Team members: Zoe Crain, Madison Padilla, James Wigton, Murtuza Lemonwala, Zachary Gibbons, Alan Davis, Nathanael dePutter, Joshua Pearson, Sierra Dryer, Joseph Guest, and Nicholas Mallott 

One of the four AE Astro capstone projects is being completed by Team Asteria, who operate under Project Manager Zoe Crain and are working on Project Hera. Crain’s team is in Spacecraft Detail Design (AE 445) with Dr. Julio Benavides this semester. 

Hera is designed to be an autonomous landing system consisting of a ground station, an ascent vehicle, and a descent vehicle. The descent vehicle (the main system in the project) is meant to preserve a delicate payload during a fast descent from high altitudes. The project was originally intended to be a preservation system in the event of a plane crash or failed rocket launch. The descent vehicle should pilot itself to a pre-determined location. 

The project was originally proposed by members of Dr. Benavides’ capstone class in the fall semester, and selected by Dr. Benavides to be a viable project idea.  

However, the project itself has proved to have one huge discrepancy. “Our biggest difficulty this semester has definitely been our need to use another team’s design to lift our system,” said Crain. Asteria is using a previous team’s design, a massive hexacopter, to lift their descent vehicle to altitude during testing. “The problem with Team Ascension’s design is literally everything,” said Crain ruefully. “We’ve basically had two projects this entire time, because we had to fix all of Ascension’s mistakes.” 

At this point, however, Asteria has completed their project: for better or worse. “Apollo [the hexacopter] is absolutely destroyed,” reports Crain. “It worked perfectly during a flight test until it hit 65 meters in the air. Then, the flight controller stopped working completely for some reason and it hit the ground at about 80 miles an hour.” Needless to say, Asteria is unable to complete their flight tests for their descent vehicle. 

But the experience hasn’t been all bad. “The most exciting thing about this project is literally that we were even able to get as far as we did,” Crain said. “We fixed one capstone project, plus built our own from scratch. Being able to come into another team’s design blind and still manage to integrate it with your own is extremely difficult, and I am beyond proud of our ability to do it.” 

Finally, Crain notes, “Astro projects are a ridiculous amount of work. Dr. Benavides has done an incredible job of emulating industry standards, but that means Astro teams design an entire system from nothing. Because of this, we had to do research into information way outside our comfort zones, like EE and SE materials.” 

Asteria would like to thank Dr. Benavides, Dr. Bradley Wall, and Dr. Stephen Bruder for the innumerable hours they have put into helping the team understand concepts far beyond the scope of the class. 

Editors Note: Zoe Crain is a copy-editor of Horizons and quotes herself. This is not ethicial.

Featured Features

UAS Capstone Combines Research and Real World Experience for Students 

By: Sean Hernandez
News Correspondent 

The UAS senior capstone course known as AS 475: UAS Mission Execution provides practical field experience for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) students with an emphasis on operating UAS in support of actual commercial or civil operations in the surrounding area.

The work the students do isn’t focused on one single project, throughout the semester they’re given multiple missions to conduct. 

One of these groups is known as the “Railroad Group” which includes students Eric Osmundson, Trevis Shiroma, Jiyoung Hwang, Nicholas Zweifel, and Sean Hernandez.

Though they have more than one project in the works, one project they are working on involves more research rather than delivering a final product to the customer.

Osmundson and his team are researching the best approach to integrate UAS into railroad inspection. 

The group has been considering two specific parts that they believe can be integrated into the current system. If UAS can be used to inspect the geometry and gage of rail road and if it can be used to do visual inspections of tracks.

The teams’ biggest problem has been finding information on UAS being used for inspection railroads. This is truly a market that the UAS industry hasn’t reached yet.

The group has completed their research on inspection of the geometry and gage of the track and is currently working on finding information to determine how useful UAS can be to do visual inspection of tracks. The group has also been working with SJ Homes to see if UAS can be used to help with construction planning.  

Osmundson mentions that one of the exciting aspects of the work him and his team have been doing is learning about other industries and seeing all the applications for UAS in those industries.

Any time the question of whether UAS can be applied to an industry or not the team has had to gain extensive knowledge on how the industry currently works to see if there is in fact a feasible application.   

Osmundson and his team would like to thank All American Track and SJ Homes for taking time out of their busy schedules to work with them and teach them things about the industries they work in.

They would also like to thank professor Johnny Young for providing connections with local businesses who wanted to work with University’s UAS students. 

The Railroad group is excited to be presenting their findings and final products from working with All American Track and from working with SJ Homes. They will be presenting with the rest of the College of Aviation in the Stem Building on April 27. 

Senior Design Senior Designs

UAS Capstone Provides Real World Experience for Students 

By: Sean Hernandez
News Correspondent 

The UAS senior capstone course known as AS 475: UAS Mission Execution is wrapping up its first semester outside of the experimental phase.

The course provides practical field experience for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) students with an emphasis on operating UAS in support of actual commercial or civil operations in the surrounding area.

There are two separate groups working on projects for this capstone course. Their work isn’t focused on one single project, throughout the semester they’re given multiple missions to conduct. 

One of these groups is known as the “Bagdad Group” which includes students Dakota Freshman, Tyler Summerlin, Grady Roth, and Chasen Newland. They aren’t in any type detail or prelim with their work.

Once they are given an assignment by the customer, they design a mission to meet their needs, execute the mission, and create a final product to deliver to the customer.  

Their first project had them working with a biologist to survey the Bridle Creek Riparian Habitat in Bagdad, Ariz. The team’s biggest difficulty this semester with the Bagdad project was time.

The class time is once a week for five hours but on average it takes an hour and a half one way to reach the habitat.

Currently the only product the group has made involved using EO cameras to recreate a 3D render of the habitat to identify erosion.

The group plans to go out one last time with an improved mission using a longer endurance aircraft and a multispectral camera to identify areas of poor vegetation.  

The group also worked with Nexus Southwest, a local surveying company, to survey a property and see how UAS can be utilized in that industry. Not every mission is clear cut.

Some of these businesses are considering UAS solutions for the first time and are looking to the students of this course to point them in the right direction on how to implement drones into their business. 

“I really enjoyed how dynamic this class has been so far. It is different when you learn about something in class, but then you have to apply it in the real world.

I think this class has pushed me and my teammates to be better pilots and has taught us a lot about using drones in real life situations,” Dakota mentioned. “It will be a lot of fun to finally show what we have accomplished and what we can do after we graduate.” 

The team would like to thank the UAS capstone professor, Johnny Young for providing connections with local businesses who wanted to work with University’s UAS students.

They would also like to thank Dusty Eiker, the biologist they worked with in Bagdad, and Adam Haywood, their contact with Nexus Southwest.

Dakota also would like to thank the other members of his team, “They are all hardworking individuals and the project would not have come out as good as it has without them.” 

The Bagdad group is excited to be presenting their final products from working in the Bridle Creek Riparian Habitat and from working with Nexus Southwest.

They will be presenting with the rest of the College of Aviation in the Stem Building on April 27. 


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Capstone: Team Impulse  

By Madison Padilla
Chief Copy Editor 

Team Members: Eric Trevenna, Matthew Andrews, Sarrah Bramblett, Michael Calivas, Parker Duncan, Shaban Gakere, Tyler Green 

Team Impulse is one of the three ME-Propulsion teams for this year. Lead by Eric Trevenna, the team has been working on building a cold gas thruster that produces about five to ten pounds-force worth of thrust. The project concept itself was developed by Dr. Brenda Haven and recommended to the team at the start of Preliminary Design.  

When asked what the biggest difficulty the group has faced, Trevenna remarked that, “It was getting our design pressure at the nozzle entrance. Our regulator is not able to get a high enough pressure through the system to our nozzle.” Despite this though, the team was able to design and fabricate their system.  

With the build portion of their project complete, the group just needs to go through their testing phase now. With the testing phase, the team hopes to confirm that their theoretical calculations matches up with their experimentation results. By doing this, the design would be considered a success. As the semester wraps up, Trevenna remarked that, “The most exciting part of this project has been testing our system and watching it work.”  

Team Impulse would like to thank the staff and faulty who helped them design and build their cold gas thruster, including Dr. Murat Okcay, Dr. Michael Fabian, Dr. Matt Haslam, and Dr. Elliott Bryner.  

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Team Eagle Eye designing a new eye in the sky 

By Russ Chapman

Team Members: Chase Bilyou, Scott Bragg, Zach Graeber, Emily Parker, Saravanan R, Megan Riley, David Sanders, Joshua Warshaw, Kyle West 

Team Eagle Eye is an aero preliminary design team working on designing a complex surveillance drone. The premise of the project was presented by Dr. Zwick to the team at the beginning of the semester and assigned to them.  

The project had a very specific mission in mind. Team lead, Megan Riley, described the mission parameters. The team is designing a long range drone to survey a gas pipeline that runs from Tucson, Ariz., to El Paso Texas.  

The purpose of the drone is to be a compact modular design that can be transported in the bed of a pickup truck to the launch location. The aircraft is then to be assembled and launched and should be able to survey the entire pipeline on one flight to look for security risks. If accomplished the drone design would be safer, and more cost efficient than the company’s current method of surveying the pipeline. 

The team’s greatest challenge this semester has been coordinating times to meet with all the members. Managing the schedules of nine senior engineering students made it very hard to find times when the entire team would be available to meet. 

However, the team did find its stride and has accomplished much this semester. Team Lead Megan Riley commented on their progress, “We have completed the preliminary design phase which involves creating the complete design for the aircraft. All sizing for wings, fuselage, tail, etc has been completed, and all payload components have been selected.” 

Next order of business for the team is to assemble a testing model to be analyzed in a wind tunnel as well as for structural integrity. Once the analysis has been completed and the design finalized the team will build a half-scale model to be flown next December. Riley mentioned being excited for the team moving forward. She looks forward to the manufacturing phase of the project. The success of manufacturing will be a good demonstration of the quality of the preliminary design.  

The team would like to thank Professor Zwick and Dr. Haslam for their continued guidance in the project. They would also like to thank Dr. Morris, Dr. Helbling, Dr. Traub, and Dr. Bordignon for their expertise and assistance in overcoming obstacles the team encountered.

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Detail Team: Project Strickland 

By Brandon Dudley 
Online Editor  

Team Members: 

  • Michael Chastain – Design Team Lead 
  • Zechariah Anderson – Assistant DTL/Test Lead 
  • Brian Stull – Fabrication Lead 
  • Tim Taylor – Instrumentation Lead 
  • Phil Kyler – Instrumentation Assistant 
  • Ifa Abdul Latiff – Safety Lead 
  • Katie Powell – Liaison Engineering Lead 

The detail team, Project Strickland, guided by Dr. Murat Okcay and Dr. Michael Fabian sought to research, design, and test an air heater to be used in the ME 446 Thermal Fluids Lab. It was required to heat an air flow to 300 degrees Fahrenheit above ambient temperature. We had to use propane as a fuel source while maintaining the air flow as non-vitiated. Non-vitiated means that none of the byproducts of the propane flame combustion can come in contact with the air flow.  

The idea of the project was to provide a heated airflow to pass through a test chamber. Inside this test chamber, the students of the ME446L Lab Course could place a test specimen and practice taking different measurements within the flow. 

The biggest difficult for them was fabrication. Although they moved through smoothly, it is something not many students have experience with. They were lucky enough to have most of the team have experience, so it wasn’t as difficult as it could have been.  

Thus far, the detail design and fabrication of the prototype has been completed; currently testing to confirm the specifications they had initially designed for. Once that is completed, we can analyze the data taken from testing to find out if what we designed for was achieved. 

Team Lead Michael Chastain is most excited by the fact that Project Strickland started from scratch. The team began with a few different designs, analyzed them and discussed them. “We ended up on the idea of a cross-flow heat exchanger, but further than that, we were all on our own. I know both the team and myself are most excited to see something we built from the ground up complete our goals”. 

Furthermore, Chastain mentioned that when he “[Began] school here, I knew I wanted to be engineer. I had no idea which path to head down as far as mechanical, aerospace, etc. I am glad I went with mechanical (and I’m sure my team would concur) because we were given the opportunity to build something that hadn’t necessarily been done before. We learned more than we could have imagined throughout our time in Prelim and Detail. I am extremely proud of my team and how far we have all come.” 

Project Strickland wanted to thank the professors they’ve been in contact with all semester: Dr. Murat Okcay, Dr. Michael Fabian, Dr. Daniel Dannelley, Dr. Elliot Bryner, and Dr. Brenda Haven, all for helping them answer the most complex questions to helping them through times when they knew the answers to questions Strickland didn’t know they had. “I’d also like to thank the AXFAB technician team for the long hours put in to get our prototype fabricated and assembled. Lastly, we’d like to thank our sponsors Barrett Propane, Banker Insulation, and the College of Engineering here at ERAU” Chastain mentioned as a final note. 


Capstone: Industry Engineering Designs with PEAC 

By Russ Chapman

Team Members: Nicholas Nuyn, Sean Gaffney, Kevin Prasad, Lukas Everhart, Robert Graham, Isaiah Martinez, Justin Nguyen, Benjamin Stolte, Jason Evans, Lauren Barthenheier, Colton Campbell, Alexander Nuyn, Jared Rosenkrance, Ryan Poppert 

The largest detail design team this semester is Prescott Experimental Aircraft Concepts (PEAC).The team was originally two individual preliminary design teams working in competition to design an innovative vertical take off unmanned aerial vehicle (VTOL UAV). The two teams had consultant specialists from the Bell Engineering Innovation project that supported the project. At the end of the prelim phase the two projects were downselected to one and the teams merged for the detail fabrication and testing. 

The project was proposed by Dr. Crisler and Kirk Groninga, the project manager for the Bell Engineering Innovation Project. The idea of the project was to have Bell, a division of the Textron conglomerate, sponsor a detail design team in their design of a new proprietary system that would go on to be patented. It gave the students experience with a simulated industry scenario. 

At this point in the process the team has completed two wind tunnel models and their testing. A one-third scale flight test model has also been designed, fully assembled and fabricated. Testing of this flight model is currently in process. Further flight testing on the model and the resulting data analysis remain to be completed by the team, as well as the final report submission.  

When asked what about the project most excited the team, team lead Nicholas Nuyn said, “The team is excited to have a working flight demonstrator and have high probability to be allowed to present publicly in the capstone symposium.” This is exciting for the team as one of the biggest challenges they faced in the process was dealing with the dissemination of information under the non-disclosure agreement the team signed in order to participate in the project.  

The team would like to thank Dr. Criser and Mr. Groninga for making their project a possibility. They would also like to thank other professors and machine shop staff who helped them along the way, namely Professor Mangum, Jim Weber, Patrick David, and Jeff Hiatt. They also extend their thanks to the employees of Bell who aided them in the project as well, namely Mr. Scott Drennan, Mr. Brett Zimmerman, and Mr. Al Brand.  

Featured Features

GSIS Senior Capstone Class 

By Marquette Davis

For the GSIS Capstone, the entire class is participating in this project and is split up into six teams of four members each.  

The group is designing a Wargame in which they play out potential conflict scenarios on the Korean Peninsula. Our teams consist of North Korean, South Korean, Russian, Chinese, and US teams made up of students in the class. The managers of the wargame are the Administrative Team, or Umpires, who have led the class in the development and production of the game. Each of these teams will participate in playing out the scenarios of the wargame, meaning the students will be participating in and analyzing the current potential conflict development on the Korean Peninsula.  

Dr. Daniel gave the order, “Students will produce a high quality table-top exercise that games out at least one possible scenario for a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.” From there, he left the students to their own creativity from coming up with the scenarios to producing a playable tabletop board game with real-life global implications. 

When asked what was the most difficult part of the semester, students just remarked, “Mitch Major.” 

At this point, the class has completed the rulebook and the entire physical production of the game (with just some small corrections to make). They are now in the troubleshooting phase, in which the class plays through the game until they have made all the improvements they can –as Mitch Major, a member of the GSIS Capstone class says, “If you’re not doing it wrong the first time, you’re not doing it right.” It must be ready for playing by the April 20, after which the class will begin playing. Our class will be sharing our product with DOD professionals and several faculty members and hope to make it a permanent relic in the College of Security and Intelligence.  

They have several playtests yet to do before they finalize our product. Besides that, they just need to make it look good. Overall they are most excited about finishing it. They invite everyone to see their game in Building 17, where it will be proudly displayed from this semester on. 

The GSIS Capstone Class would like to extend a special thank you to the College of Security and Intelligence for granting us the resources to produce a kick-butt wargame they are proud to display and excited to play! 

Featured Features

News: Alpha Xi Delta Philanthropy Week 

By: Reece Cabanas
Chief Distribution Officer 

During the week of April 2, the Alpha Xi Delta chapter at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Prescott launched one of their biggest and most successful philanthropy weeks to date.

The fundraiser aimed to fulfill their national philanthropy: Autism Speaks.  The chapter successfully raised nearly double their original $3,000 goal.  

Founded in 2005, Autism Speaks was adopted by Alpha Xi Delta as their national philanthropy in 2009.

According to online advocacy sites, raising a child with autism can cost, on average, between an additional $25,000 to $60,000 a year.

Autism Speaks raises funds to help relieve some of these extra costs through family support services, following their main four pillars of advocacy, awareness, research, and family support. They have succeeded in requiring 47 states to have insurance coverage for people with autism. 

Several on-campus philanthropy events were held throughout the week, with a semi-formal event concluding the string of fundraisers.

Various advertisements such as chalk art and posters were spread around campus to promote fundraising efforts and raise awareness.

Monday’s Advocacy Day event asked fellow Embry-Riddle students to wear blue to show support for the cause. A day later, the sisters held a Mac n’ Cheese sale outside AC-1. 

Continuing with advocacy and awareness, a movie titled “Sounding the Alarm” was shown in one of the AC-1 classrooms on Wednesday. Thursday consisted of a puppy kissing booth and bake sale in the Student Union quad area. 

To wrap up the week, the sorority held their Blue Dress Affair event in the Eagle Gym. People attending the semi-formal event had the option to either  pay $10 at the door or RSVP online for a discounted admission fee.

The costs included dinner and one raffle ticket, all of which would be donated to the cause. In addition, extra raffle tickets could be purchased to increase chances of winning the prizes such as spa treatments, gift cards, and scented candles among other things. 

Alpha Xi Delta’s timing was executed perfectly, with April 2 being recognized internationally as World Autism Awareness Day and marking the beginning of World Autism Month.

The total amount raised throughout the week reached nearly $6,000, making this the Theta Zeta chapters’ most successful philanthropy week since its founding in 1991. All money raised will go directly towards family funding and support services. 

In the past few weeks, the sisterhood has received some pushback from the campus community due to Autism Speaks’ blurred reputation and the national sorority’s ties to the organization.

They have also received accusations that their philanthropy week is focused around finding a cure for autism, of which is entirely untrue. False accusations, misleading information, and quick judgement have attributed to these claims. 

Autism is still a diagnosis that is not very well understood, a reason why awareness groups such as Autism Speaks conduct research into it.

While their philanthropy is titled Autism Speaks, Alpha Xi Delta works solely to fund families and research into the autism spectrum, stating they will faithfully support the organization and stand by their values above all else and regardless of any pushback. 

Aside from the April philanthropy week, the sorority has held previous fundraisers during the school year.

Currently there are plans to continue holding on-campus as well as off-campus events for the remainder of the month. Another philanthropy week is also planned for the fall semester. 

The Alpha Xi Delta women’s fraternity was founded on April 17, 1893, at Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois.

With over 175,000 initiated sisters and approximately 130 institutions nationwide, the sorority focuses on providing its members with sisterhood, leadership, knowledge, and service. Just earlier this month the sisterhood celebrated its 125th anniversary. 

Featured Features News

Capstone: Aircraft design living up to the name, FAST Aerospace Technologies 

By Russ Chapman

Team Members: Benjamin Jackson, Jacob Curl, Evan Estep, Alexandre Fraga, Trent Martinez, Mark Miller, Zach Parrish, Shlok Patel, E. Alex Robertson, Andres Sandoval, Alex Young 

FAST Aerospace Technologies is completing work on an ambitions detail design project. The premise of the team’s work is to design a Supersonic Transport (SST) capable of carrying 80 passengers up to 7,500 nautical miles at an impressive cruise speed of Mach 2.2. The project comes with recent industry interest in SST development following the cancellation of the Concorde. 

Team member Evan Estep proposed the idea for the project with interest in a unique and challenging aircraft design. From there the team, was built of other students that would be passionate despite the difficulties. 

According to team lead Benjamin Jackson, the greatest challenge to the team would be the distribution of work among team members. Regarding the workload, “Tasks from last semester were very specific to sub-teams, but this semester the project mainly has large, whole-team tasks that must be completed consecutively. The nature of these tasks have made it difficult to evenly divide tasks between all 11 members of the team,” said Jackson. 

The team has, however, made great progress in their work. Thus far they have completed two wind tunnel tests on the assembled model of the aircraft; one serving to validate the performance expectations from their preliminary design work, and the second to test modification and improvements made later. 

While the team is happy with their accomplishments thus far, there is always more to be done. They are in the process of finishing data analysis from the final wind tunnel test. From this information they still wish to develop a final recommended configuration of the aircraft based on all of the testing accomplished. Once the final configuration is complete the team will prepare the final report and presentation for submission. 

Jackson commented, “The most exciting part of this project has been overcoming obstacles to meet incredibly demanding requirements.” He mentioned both preliminary and detail design difficulties and lessons learned that the team has overcome. 

Finally the team would like to thank Dr. Ashworth, Dr. Haslam, and the other professors who have all offered their expertise and guidance to the project. 

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