Engineers celebrate donation of Global Hawk

By Joseph Muldoon

The aerospace engineering department held a dedication ceremony
Thursday for a recently donated scale model of a Northrop Grumman
Global Hawk remotely controlled reconnaissance plane.

The one-fifth-scale model has a more than 23-foot wingspan and
is suspended outside the engineering building. Northrop also
presented the department with a grant of $5,000 to support
technology in the study of unmanned aerial vehicles.

According to Northrop Grumman, an aerospace engineering
corporation, the RQ-4 Block 10 Global Hawk is an unmanned aerial
vehicle that can fly intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
missions.

The Global Hawks are operated around the world from Beale Air
Force Base in Northern California to aid military personnel with
information about areas that may be too dangerous or inaccessible
to troops on the ground.

“This event celebrates the relationship the College of
Engineering has had with Northrop Grumman for many years,” said
President Michael J. Ortiz in an acceptance speech. “The
partnership that was formed allows us as an institution to stay on
the cutting edge of what’s happening in the real world.”

Frank Flores, the Northrop Grumman vice president of
engineering, presented the model along with a plaque and the grant
to Ortiz, Dean Ed Hohmann and Ali Ahmadi, the chair of the
aerospace engineering department.

Aerospace engineering students are familiar with some of the
design principles behind the Global Hawk. As a senior project, some
of the aerospace engineering students are designing an unmanned
crop duster.

“I don’t want to give away too much of what we are doing because
it is a competition with other schools, including the other Cal
Poly and schools around the nation,” said Tim Steckman, a
fifth-year aerospace engineering student. “Northrop would be a
really great place to work, and UAVs would be cool to work with –
they are a higher technology than regular aircraft.”

The relationship between Northrop Grumman and Cal Poly started
nearly 50 years ago, only a few years after the engineering
department was established. During that time both institutions have
benefited greatly.

“When you look at the Northrop Grumman logo you see right
underneath it. ‘Defining the future,'” said Flores. “The good
synergy between Northrop Grumman and the university is that we are
both about the future.”

A number of aerospace engineering students expressed an interest
in working for Northrop Grumman after graduation. Several Cal Poly
graduates have already made their way into the corporation.

“I definitely wanted to be in the aerospace industry, and a good
education from here at Cal Poly prepared me for Northrop,” said Rob
Sheehan, a Northrop engineer and 1985 Cal Poly graduate. “Northrop
is really about spirited innovation. You can see it in our designs,
and it was a perfect fit.”

Northrop Grumman and the engineering department hope the model
will remind students their work translates directly into real-world
applications outside Cal Poly.

“We would like to help students envision where all your hard
work is going to go in the future,” said Flores. “Hopefully when
you’re working through those differential equations, you can look
up and say, ‘I can see where this is going.'”

Engineers celebrate donation of Global Hawk

Marcus Hildum/Poly Post

Engineers celebrate donation of Global Hawk

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