DOD artificial intelligence agents successfully pilot fighter

This is my most recent press release.

The DOD has broken new ground when it comes to tactical aircraft AI-driven autonomy.

Our AFRL & DARPA AI agents piloted the U. S. Air Force Test Pilot School’s X-62 VISTA fighter jet to perform 1-v-1 Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and Within Visual Range (“Dog Fighting”) engagements pushing the state-of-the-art for autonomous systems years ahead.

Incredibly proud of our world-class joint team who worked extremely hard to pull off this “first of its kind” flight test and push the envelope of DOD capability forward.

This is the culmination of 3 years of work across 4 government teams. Collaboration was the key to success.

First Multi-Engine Flight – 1959 Beechcraft (BE95)

Flew a 1959 Beechcraft (BE95) yesterday. Known as the “Cadillac of General Aviation”, it held true to its name. With the mix of a wide, comfortable fuselage (high drag) and two 180hp engines (high thrust), you end up with a ~140 knots cruise speed (kinda slow for a multi-engine airplane). This was my first multi-engine flight and it was loads of fun. We did stalls, steep turns (which were really smooth in this airplane), an emergency descent, and a simulated single-engine failure, which was really fun. It lands really nice too.


Simulated engine failures in a Piper Warrior II (PA-28-161)

Practiced simulated engine failures with a friend today in a Piper Warrior II (PA-28-161). We decided to practice simulated engine failures with a 360 degree spiral down (starting at the edge of the runway), and 180 degree turn backs to the runway after takeoff. We tried different starting conditions and found the following results:

1) In this airplane, it is reasonable to start a 360 degree engine out spiral down to the runway when you are ~1100-1200 FT above the start of the runway (called the “high key” position), when at a starting speed of ~80 Knots or greater, while holding a bank around ~30 degrees, and holding a best glide speed of 73 Knots through the turn. You’ll hit the “low key” position around 700 FT above the ground when you are 180 degrees into the turn and can begin putting flaps in to steepen your decent and then perform a short field landing.

2) In this airplane, it is reasonable to start a 180 degree turn back to the runway in the event of an engine failure after takeoff starting at a best climb speed (Vy=79 knots), then turning at 30 degrees of bank, while holding best glide of 73 knots if you are at least ~900-1000 FT AGL when you lose your engine. If you are higher, you may need to perform a side slip to quickly lose some altitude.

This was a useful exercise for me, and I recommend my flying colleagues try this in their own airplane at an unpopulated airport so that you can be prepared for an engine out emergency and know your airplane’s minimum altitude and speed numbers to begin a turn in the event of this emergency.

(Warning: results may vary for your airplane based on its performance, weight and balance, atmospheric conditions, and winds. This post is not meant to be a recommendation of specific numbers but rather an encouragement to practice engine out emergencies yourself.)

Safe flying!


Just achieved my Amateur (HAM) Radio Technician Class License! (Call sign: K4AGN)

A couple of weeks ago I decided to study and test for my amateur radio technician license. For those of you unfamiliar with art, HAM radio operators are licensed to access to HF/VHF/UHF frequency bands not open to the general public to have general conversations with other HAMs around the world, spread knowledge of the radio art, or help out in emergency situations. I went down this path to learn more about the electromagnetic spectrum and radio operations, and it’s been enlightening. A technician license is the first of 3 license levels, followed by the General class, then Extra class. I plan to continue this journey through Extra class

Hit me up on the radio waves!