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Coffee Students Hear UTSI Grad Discuss Canadian Fighter Plane

Four months after defending his thesis for a second master’s degree, Maj. Mike Michaud came back to The University of Tennessee Space Institute in a CF-188 fighter plane – a Canadian variant of the U.S. Navy F/A-18 — to lead a seminar.

He also presented a plaque from the Canadian Flight Test Centre at Cold Lake, Alberta, to John E. Caruthers, associate UT vice president and UTSI’s chief operating officer. It was given “in recognition of the long standing and productive relationship between the Aerospace Engine Test Establishment (AETE)
at Cold Lake and UTSI.”

“Nothing is more gratifying than to learn of our graduates’ successes,” Caruthers said, noting that, “We have had many Canadians graduate from UTSI.”

Michaud, who is officer in charge, fighter and trainer evaluation, with the AETE, assisted by U.S. Air Force Major Jason (Bernie) Schott of North Dakota, a test pilot assigned to Cold Lake, gave the seminar dealing with the mission of AETE.

Seven of 44 students from Coffee County’s Central High School in Manchester attending two days of “mini-courses” at UTSI, chose to attend the seminar at UTSI’s Flight Research Center at Tullahoma Airport Friday. Major Schott, who piloted the CF-188 “Hornet,” conducted a “walk around” tour of the plane for the students and other visitors.

Michaud and Schott arranged the visit to UTSI while attending the U.S. Air Force Test and Evaluation sessions in Nashville. Schott referred to the Hornet as a “nephew of the F-15,” multi-roll fighter developed in the 1970’s by McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing.)

Eighty percent of the engineers at Cold Lake are post-graduates with master’s degrees, Michaud said. The majors discussed some of AETE’s “numerous” unique test and evaluation capabilities. The establishment has 240 personnel in positions of qualified test pilots, flight test engineers, aircraft maintenance, photo and instrumentation technicians, Navigators, system engineers, and support personnel, they said.

The visit was a reunion of sorts as Michaud hobnobbed with the major professors for the two master’s degrees he’s earned at the Space Institute. Ralph D. Kimberlin was his major professor for the M.S. degree in Aviation Systems. Ahmad D. Vakili was his major professor in 2001 when he received a master’s in Aerospace Engineering. Both professors attended the seminar.

Michaud noted that he also recently completed lengthy test pilot training. He discussed major modernization work on the Hornet, which he started in 2003. He is now heading the second phrase of this work.