Each year, cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy visit Connecticut to present notional engine designs to a panel of Pratt & Whitney engineers, who provide feedback on whether the engine would meet performance requirements in the real world. On April 24 and 25, cadets arrived accompanied by their professor, Lt. Col. Devin O'Dowd, and were joined by 11 Pratt & Whitney engineers along with Frank Gillette, father of the F119 engine.
"It is a pleasure to introduce our engine designs and validate them with engineers at Pratt & Whitney," said Lt. Col. O'Dowd, associate professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy and director of the academy's Aeronautics Lab. "Visiting Pratt & Whitney gets the cadets prepared for their future in the Air Force and future of their lives after that."
The visit kicked off with a welcoming brief from retired Col. Jack Swift, associate director of Business Capture, and some brief comments from Matthew Bromberg, senior vice president, Military Engines, and John Niemeyer, chief engineer, Military Development Program.
"This team and Pratt & Whitney have an incredible history - the ideas you have will influence us here in the future," Bromberg said to the cadets.
Throughout the course of the semester, Gillette frequents the academy to provide assistance and advice to the cadets as they make progress on their final propulsion projects.
"It's fantastic what the students are doing at the academy with preliminary designs of engines that most students don't get to do at the master's level," said Gillette. "It's great that Pratt & Whitney takes the time to give feedback to these students year after year."
All in all, this year's cadet visit was beneficial for both the Air Force and Pratt & Whitney, and contributed to the maintenance of a longstanding positive relationship between the two.
"The most important outcome of this is the intellectual tie between developing Air Force leaders and Pratt & Whitney," added Swift. "It is invaluable to propulsion."
The group also had the opportunity to network with U.S. Air Force Academy graduates who currently work at Pratt & Whitney and enjoy a dinner with members of Pratt & Whitney's Engineering and Military Engines organizations. Many of the cadets will continue on to pilot training while others will begin their first assignments in the Air Force.