Inaugural Charles F. Kettering "BUG" Award presented to UAS researchers
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the dawn of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), the Engineers Club of Dayton in collaboration with the Sinclair College National UAS Training and Certification Center recognized The Ohio State University’s Aerospace Research Center as pioneers in the field of UAS technology. The inaugural presentation of the Charles F. Kettering “BUG” Award coincided with the exact date—October 2—of the first flight of the U.S. Army Signal Corps’ first aerial torpedo, dubbed “BUG” in 1918.
The award is presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated outstanding improvement or advancement in UAS technology or systems.
Professor Jim Gregory, director of the Aerospace Research Center, and Research Scientist Matt McCrink, both leaders in the interdisciplinary Unmanned Aircraft Systems group, represented the center at the awards ceremony. The two led the university’s effort to set a world speed record in 2017 for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of any size. Ohio State’s UAV flew autonomously with sustained average speeds of 147 mph over an out-and-back course approximately 28 miles long, which also set a record for the longest UAV flight over an out-and-back course.
“The economic and societal benefit of UAS cannot be truly achieved until the levels of autonomy, situational awareness and redundancy enable long-distance flight of goods and even people,” said McCrink. “Our team believes that the best way to push forward these ideals is through cutting-edge flight demonstrations with an aim towards setting and breaking aviation records.”
Gregory commented on the significance of the timing of the UAV’s flight. “It’s notable to mention that our 2017 record-setting flight occurred 100 years after Charles F. Kettering became the first member of the Ohio State Board of Trustees to arrive at the university by airplane for a trustee’s meeting in 1917.”
“His key flight inspired the university to obtain funding for a building for instruction in aeronautics, laying the foundation for a long, storied history of aviation and aerospace at Ohio State.”
According to the Engineers Club of Dayton, the “BUG” Award’s namesake, Charles F. Kettering, partnered with Orrville Wright to become the driving force behind the flight of the first aerial torpedo. Kettering was also one of the founding executives of the Engineers Club of Dayton—coincidentally also in 1918, the same year of the flight of his autonomous torpedo—and served as its president. In his honor awardees must epitomize key qualities exhibited by Kettering, summarized in the four award criteria: concept, value, delivery and impact.
Watch a video of Ohio State’s record-setting flight!