General Gregory S. (Speedy) Martin was “very impressed” with The University of Tennessee Space Institute’s variable stability Navion during a recent visit to Tullahoma, Ralph D. Kimberlin said.
The four-star general flew into Tullahoma on a Learjet, had lunch with AEDC Commander Brig. Gen. David Stringer at UTSI’s Flight Research Center, and was briefed on the Institute’s Aviations Systems program by Kimberlin, who heads it.
Martin, commander of the Air Force’s Materiel Command of Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, then flew with Kimberlin in one of the Navions to AEDC for a tour there.
“We flew the Navion that we’ve modified for use in our anti-icing short course and flew some of the configurations from that course,” Kimberlin said. “He seemed very impressed with the plane, its capabilities, and that it doesn’t cost much to operate. We also showed him around the hangar where he saw our other planes including the ‘flying classrooms’ – a Piper Navajo and a Piper Saratoga — that we use to give students first-hand flight experience.”
Kimberlin, a test pilot, gave Martin an autographed copy of his book “Flight Testing of Fixed-Wing Aircraft,” published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
Richard J. Ranaudo, research assistant professor with UTSI’s Aviations System, has twice taught a short course on “In-flight Icing and Its Effects on Aircraft Handling Characteristics.” For this course, the variable stability Navion – which can be programmed to fly like any other airplane – is programmed to handle like NASA’s icing aircraft when its wings and tail surfaces are iced up. A third such course is planned for October.
“General Martin seemed to especially appreciate our capability as far as demonstrated in-flight simulation,” said Kimberlin, Alumni Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of the Institute’s Aviation Systems Graduate Program.