Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University took a leap forward toward its commitment to become an entrepreneurial go-to resource for the aerospace industry this week when the university announced an agreement with Montreal-based Advanced Aerospace Solutions (AdvAero), a U.S. joint venture with Marinvent Corporation.
The agreement commits AdvAero’s Piaggio Avanti research aircraft as the lead project to the new partnership with Embry-Riddle. This partnership–also designed to attract other aviation research opportunities to Embry-Riddle–will shine a strong light on the rapid-prototyping concept that delivers answers quickly on the viability of potential research projects that AdvAero is known for.
The Piaggio-based research is important because “the industry is having difficulty solving many practical problems,” according to John Maris, CEO at AdvAero. “The only solution is a dynamic partnership between motivated industry players and powerful, capable academic institutions like Embry-Riddle.” About AdvAero’s Piaggio project, Maris said, “Our Piaggio on static display is capable of being flown from an iPhone.” The question of course is why anyone would want to fly an Avanti from an iPhone. “At some point we’re going to need to prove that we can fly unmanned vehicles safely through civil airspace,” he explained. “You can simulate and simulate, but someone needs to drive and aircraft through the airspace.”
With a safely pilot in the left seat of the Piaggio just in case, the aircraft can be flown from the right seat by an engineering pilot or from a workstation in the cabin to simulate a UAV flight, although that work station could just as easily be located on the ground a thousand miles away. Embry-Riddle’s UAV Center of Excellence facilities and personnel will be additive to AdvAero’s work with the university. The point is, Maris said, “We’re solving some real industry problems like this.”