Fulbright Scholars research UAVs and aircraft acquisition

Dr. Brian Butka from the College of Engineering at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach and conduct research at Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) in Austria this fall. Meanwhile, the College of Business at the Daytona Beach Campus is hosting a Fulbright Scholar from Ukraine, Dr. Viktoriia Myroniuk, through this August.

During Butka’s stay at MCI, an internationally oriented entrepreneurial spin-off of the University of Innsbruck, he will teach classes in the design and operation of fully autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Collaborating with MCI faculty, he will use the alpine environment to research methods of extending autonomous UAV flight time by identifying and exploiting naturally occurring ridge lift and thermals.

“Wind deflected from an obstacle, such as a large or steep mountain ridge or cliff, produces a column of rising air,” Butka said. “My research will focus on whether air deflected in this manner can measurably increase UAV flight duration.”

Butka is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering who teaches avionics, advanced mechatronics and aerospace and aviation computing. His specialties are field-programmable gate array semiconductor devices, communications and safety-critical hardware. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering, both from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Myroniuk, an associate professor of aviation economics with the National Aviation University in Kiev, is coordinating with the faculty of Embry-Riddle’s College of Business while researching aircraft acquisition as practiced in the United States to develop recommendations for Ukraine and other nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that formerly were part of the Soviet Union. She is examining the differences, advantages, and disadvantages in aircraft acquisition by airlines, state agencies and institutions, corporations and individuals.

“The goal is to gather data that will assist the CIS nations in analyzing the whole range of aircraft acquisition and financing alternatives as well as the associated risks,” Myroniuk said. “My findings will improve the content of many courses taught at my university and will establish scientific ties with Embry-Riddle’s College of Business for future research projects.”

The Fulbright Scholar Program is the flagship program in international educational exchange sponsored by the U.S. government, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Selected on the basis of their academic merit and leadership potential, participants study, teach, and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. For more information: CIES.org

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