Air Force Academy cadets finsih AEDC duty

1st Lt. Ryan Hawley and Air Force Academy Cadet Greg Guy observe the critical pressure changes in AEDC's small vacuum research chamber. (Photo by Rick Goodfriend)

1st Lt. Ryan Hawley and Air Force Academy Cadet Greg Guy observe the critical pressure changes in AEDC's small vacuum research chamber. (Photo by Rick Goodfriend)

1st Lt. David Cancel tells Cadet Remington Barnes about the 1-1/15 scale model of the F-22A Raptor that sits in the Propulsion Wind Tunnel Facility Lobby. (Photo by Rick Goodfriend)

1st Lt. David Cancel tells Cadet Remington Barnes about the 1-1/15 scale model of the F-22A Raptor that sits in the Propulsion Wind Tunnel Facility Lobby. (Photo by Rick Goodfriend)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- A group of nine Air Force Academy cadets finished up nearly five weeks at Arnold Engineering Development Center yesterday.

The cadets were competitively selected based on academic performance for the opportunity to complete a research project or internship as part of the Air Force Academy's Cadet Summer Research Program (CSRP).

The cadets at Arnold Air Force Base, mostly scientists and engineers, worked on a wide range of projects - everything from capabilities integration, wind tunnels and engine testing, to business development and economics.

The Academy program places about 200 cadets each year, offering real-world experience at military installations, with the federal government and defense contractors, as well as universities and other organizations outside the federal government.

"When they go out and put their hands on a project, that's the ultimate teaching tool," explained Maj. Kurt Rouser, an Air Force Academy graduate and Assistant Professor of Aeronautical Engineering, who is the CSRP coordinator at Arnold. "The best way to learn is through a contextual framework."

Project sponsors at Arnold are often surprised at the high quality and quantity of work that the cadets accomplish in such a short period of time. Major Rouser said this is due to the tight focus cadets are able to maintain on their individual projects. Each cadet is uniquely matched to an AEDC project based on their academic background, allowing them to hit the ground running.

Through CSRP, cadets are able to dedicate a great deal of effort to a project,
offering the sponsoring organization with an additional, highly educated person to help them accomplish their mission.

For example, Cadet Kim Kallabis worked on technology development supporting the Characterization of Combined Orbital Surface Effects chamber and the Space Threat Assessment Testbed.

Her work, which was lauded by her sponsor James Burns from the 718th Test Squadron, was technically challenging, delving into high-level calculus and the distribution of protons and electrons.

Cadet Remington Barnes researched concepts being developed for future air vehicles, trying to determine which wind tunnel resources would be needed for testing and what AEDC will need to be ready to test those concepts.

"They usually wow everybody," the major said. "They're not only getting the job done, they're getting accolades from their sponsors."

Major Rouser reiterated the importance of the program for the cadets, saying "The peak of the whole learning experience is to be able to take all their academic knowledge and associate it with real-world Air Force projects."