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Walker and UAVs travel with Science For Alaska

Greg Walker shows interested audience members various unmanned aircraft at the 2012 Science For Alaska Lecture Series, held at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Greg Walker shows interested audience members various unmanned aircraft at the 2012 Science For Alaska Lecture Series, held at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

PHOTO: Amy Hartley

For the past two weeks, Poker Flat Research Range Manager Greg Walker has traveled Alaska with several of the University of Alaska's unmanned aircraft. Walker displayed the aircraft for community members, students and fellow researchers as part of the Geophysical Institute’s 2012 Science For Alaska Lecture Series.

In addition to giving a lecture on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus, Walker visited a science classroom at Highland Tech High School this week. Students engaged Walker in discussion about aircraft designs and power sources. Students were also eager to work with Walker on future research collaborations.

Highland Tech science teacher Lori Gillam wrote in a letter following Walker’s classroom visit:

“All day, kids were talking about the possibilities of working with the GI, learning to fly the planes to take data. With my team just returning from nationals for the real world design (robotics) competition, your classroom visit created a perfect storm effect. I even had a student approach me about starting an aviation science program here at HTC. And I've come to learn that when one speaks, there are others in silent agreement.

“Additionally, the real world design challenge organizers are looking for next year's challenge. I plan to contact them to suggest unmanned aircrafts and their usefulness to not just science, but to the world as a whole. Just last week was the first I had heard of the 'guiding unmanned aircraft' for the Nome fuel mission. This technology marries science, engineering, and humanity. There is real world application, and I am excited to see what they think and how the kids can wrap their brains around it.”

If interested in requesting a DVD copy of Walker’s lecture from the Fairbanks series, please email info@gi.alaska.edu. All Fairbanks lectures are available online at: http://www.uaf.edu/scienceforalaska/watch-fairbanks-lectures/.

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